Understanding New Zealand: Voting Patterns of European New Zealanders

Who do the honkies vote for? Most people could have guessed that there was a correlation between voting for the National Party in 2014 and being of European descent, but few would have guessed that it was quite as strong as 0.60. The correlation between voting Labour in 2014 and being of European descent is even stronger, but negative: -0.76.

These are strong correlations, and they ilustrate the degree to which the National Party upholds racial advantages as a consequence of upholding class advantages. Being of European descent has a correlation of 0.35 with median personal income, which conflates the effect of race and class in the National vote.

Voting for the Conservative Party in 2014 had a correlation of 0.46 with being of European descent, and the other party that had a significant positive correlation with being of European descent was the Greens – this was 0.24.

Some might find this latter point surprising considering that the Greens produce a lot of rhetoric about being left-wing and about supporting marginalised groups in society. But marginalised groups generally do not vote Green – they vote Labour. The correlation between voting Green in 2014 and median personal income is a significant 0.31.

This tells us that the Green Party is a curiosity in the paradoxical sense that it represents a class that does not often belong to the race it represents and a race that does not often belong to the class it represents.

Voting for any of the remaining four parties in 2014 has a negative correlation with being of European descent. Three of those four correlations can be explained simply by noting that they are parties which get a lot of Maori support: the ALCP (-0.15), the Maori Party (-0.35) and Internet MANA (-0.37).

The ACT Party stands apart from those three on that basis. The correlation between voting ACT in 2014 and being of European descent is a significantly negative -0.28. This suggests that there is a natural division on the right between the heavily European National and Conservative parties, and the heavily non-European ACT Party.

The natural division on the left, meanwhile, is between the also heavily European Green Party, and the moderately non-European Labour Party. Although this has more to do with education than class, it’s noteworthy that barring a token Maori in the leadership position, only Marama Davidson of the Green MPs has any non-European ancestry.

This is the basis for the observation that a National-Greens Government might be possible after 2017. Essentially this would be a European coup of the political system, knocking out the Maoris in NZF and Labour, the Pacific Islanders in Labour and the Asians in ACT.

Media commentators might talk about crucial demographics and the need to win them to capture the middle ground, but the fact is that the vast bulk of New Zealand voters are people of European descent and a small shift of the balancing point within this major demographic can have nationwide consequences.

European people love to vote, no doubt a reflection of their integration into the system and their confidence that their voices will be heard by the eventual representatives. The correlation between turnout rate in 2014 and being of European descent is a strong 0.71, which is enough to say that, as a general rule, white people vote.

Many might have been able to guess that; few could guess the extent that the flag referendum was a mission for people of European descent only. Turnout rate for the first flag referendum had a correlation of 0.85 with being of European descent, and turnout rate for the second flag referendum had a correlation of 0.88.

The correlation between being of European descent and voting to change the flag in the second flag referendum was 0.60 – exactly the same as the correlation between being of European descent and voting National in 2014. This further supports what we already know about the extent that the flag referendum was a National Party vehicle.

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This article is an excerpt from Understanding New Zealand, by Dan McGlashan, published by VJM Publishing in the winter of 2017.

Australia in New Zealand 2017 ODI Series Preview

Missing an explosively terrifying opening batsman and a first drop with the hand-eye co-ordination of a god, the Australian cricket team came to New Zealand and got beaten 3-0. Prediction for this week? No, that was what happened the last time we were in that situation, in February 2007.

Building up for a later triumphant Cricket World Cup campaign, Australia rested both Adam Gilchrist and Ricky Ponting for the 2007 Hadlee-Chappell series in New Zealand, and got beaten 3-0.

Absent the usual steel up top, Australia disintegrated in the first ODI to Shane Bond, who took 5-23 from 9.3 overs, and they lost by ten wickets. Chasing 337 in the second ODI, New Zealand won after a brilliant Ross Taylor century and some dogged lower-order batting. Again chasing in the third, only that time 347, the Black Caps won in the last over with the last wicket after a 165-run 6th wicket stand between Craig McMillan and Brendon McCullum.

The 2017 edition of the Hadlee-Chappell will be absent David Warner – who recently took AB de Villiers’s crown as No. 1 ranked ODI batsman, and Steve Smith, who averages 51.90 since the start of 2015.

In the 2016 edition in New Zealand, the Black Caps took the series 2-1: Australia won a close game and was thumped twice. Something similar might be on the cards for this week.

Like 2007, the Australia of 2017 will possess some fearsome bowling. Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins make up what must be close to the most dangerous trio ever seen in ODI history. Both Starc and Hazlewood are ranked in the top 5, and although Cummins is only ranked 27th that is a reflection of bad luck with injuries and not an absence of talent.

The Black Caps, for their part, have their own heavy artillery. Trent Boult is today the No. 1 ranked ODI bowler in the world, and Matt Henry is at No. 7. These two bowlers demolished the Australia top order in the first ODI of the 2016 series, leaving them at one stage 6/41.

Tim Southee might only be ranked 26th but he is dangerous with a bit of assistance, and Mitchell Santner is fast becoming like another Daniel Vettori in terms of miserly economy. This series will surely also feature more of Lockie Ferguson, who rocked the speed radar in Australia with a string of 150kph+ deliveries, but whose pace was often to the batsman’s advantage on the hard pitches.

The major difference between the two sides is in the batting. Australia’s best batsman in this series is arguably Glenn Maxwell, ranked 18th.

Because Australia is absent Warner at the top and Steve Smith ranked 8th, New Zealand have the top-ranked three batsmen in this match, with Kane Williamson at 5, Martin Guptill at 9 and Ross Taylor at 16. These three batsmen would all be in a Black Caps all-time ODI top 5.

Tom Latham may only average 33 in ODIs but appears to have now adjusted very well to the white ball game, and he is now averaging 40 in his last 25 ODI matches. As he is still only 24 and improving so rapidly in all forms of the game he is on a trajectory to become as good as the others.

Australia has brought in the reputable Aaron Finch to bolster the batting, but none of the names in the Australian top 5 – weak by historical standards even with Warner and Smith – will stand out to the Black Caps tacticians as a particular threat.

The obvious plan for the Black Caps to win the series, then, is to repeat how they won it in 2016, namely by bowling Australia out for substandard totals.

The market seems to think that this is very likely – the Black Caps are paying only $2.12 on BetFair to take the first ODI at Eden Park tomorrow. At the TAB a 3-0 Black Caps series win is paying only $6.50, which seems minuscule considering that Australia has won five Cricket World Cups.

Considering that the Hadlee-Chappell is fast becoming the ODI cricket equivalent of a marquee series like the Ashes or the Bledisloe Cup, probably the best strategy would be to save your betting money for chips and weed and just kick back to enjoy the degree of skill on display.

Understanding New Zealand: ACT Voters

Thought by most to be the big money party, ACT cuts an odd figure on the New Zealand political landscape. Although there is a fairly strong correlation between voting ACT in 2014 and net personal income (0.36), this is considerably less than the correlation between voting National in 2014 and net personal income (0.53).

This tells us that the average ACT voter is not as wealthy as the average National voter, despite the reputation of the ACT Party as the party of millionaires only. Where ACT manages to cleave off votes from National appears to be by targeting the specially ambitious, the specially driven, and those with a specially low level of solidarity with other Kiwis.

Voting ACT in 2014 had a correlation of 0.57 with having a Master’s degree, and one of -0.64 with having no academic qualifications. ACT voters were also much less likely to be on a benefit than average: voting ACT in 2014 had a correlation of -0.30 with being on the pension, of -0.38 with being on the unemployment benefit and of -0.59 with being on the invalid’s benefit.

The two occupations that correlated significantly with voting for ACT in 2014 were professionals (0.39) and sales workers (0.27). Perhaps surprisingly, there was no significant correlation between voting ACT in 2014 and being a manager (0.06). Managers tend overwhelmingly to vote National and are usually Kiwi-born.

All of the correlations with working-class occupations were significantly negative: technicians and trades workers (-0.39), community and personal service workers (-0.47), machinery operators and drivers (-0.52) and labourers (-0.61).

In terms of industry choice, ACT voters seem to gravitate to the sort of job where one is paid on commission. The strongest correlation between voting ACT in 2014 and the industry of the voter was with wholesale trade (0.66). Other strong correlations were with financial and insurance services (0.59) and professional, scientific and technical services (0.50).

Notably, there is a significant negative correlation with voting for ACT in 2014 and working in the healthcare industry (-0.29). So can guess that the wealthy foreigners voting ACT are not often doctors, psychiatrists or psychologists – this sort of person tends to vote Green.

Some might note with curiosity that the correlation between voting ACT in 2014 and being born overseas is a very strong 0.78. This is much higher than for any other party; in fact, it would almost be fair to say that ACT is a foreigner’s party.

Voting for ACT in 2014 has a significant negative correlation both with being of European descent (-0.28) and with being of Maori descent (-0.42). It is the only party of all of them for which this is true.

By contrast, the correlation between being of Asian descent and voting ACT is a very strong 0.85. Given that there are many more Asians in New Zealand than ACT voters, this correlation suggests that the majority of ACT voters are foreign-born Asians.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, then, the party with which voting for ACT has the strongest negative correlation is with New Zealand First: this is -0.55. It’s probably fair to say that very few ACT voters are particularly patriotic about New Zealand.

Other negative correlations exist between voting ACT in 2014 and voting ALCP (-0.45), voting Internet MANA (-0.25) and the Maori Party (-0.29). Given the strength of the negative correlation between voting ACT in 2014 and being Maori, none of these are really surprising.

The only party to have a significant positive correlation with voting ACT in 2014 was National, for which it was 0.35. None of the correlations with the other three were signficant: Labour -0.19, Greens -0.06 and Conservative 0.13.

ACT voters are often religious, but not Christian. Voting ACT in 2014 and being Christian is almost perfectly uncorrelated (-0.01). Given what we know about the tendency of ACT voters to be foreign-born we can predict that the religions with the strongest correlations with voting for the ACT Party are those with the weakest foothold here.

And so, the correlations between voting for the ACT party and belonging to a religion are significantly positive if that religion is Buddhism (0.85), Hinduism or Islam (both 0.50) or Judaism (0.42).

Of all the personal annual income brackets detailed in the Parliamentary Profiles, the top three have a significant positive correlation with voting for ACT in 2014, and the higher someone goes the stronger the correlation. For an income of $70-100K the correlation was 0.33, for an income of $100-150K the correlation was 0.43 and for an income above $150K it was 0.44.

The only other income bracket with a significant positive correlation with voting ACT is that of ‘Loss or No Income’ – here the correlation is 0.32. This can easily be explained by the number of entrepreneurs who are still losing money, and it might be a major reason why the correlation between median personal income and voting ACT is less than it is with the National Party.

A picture starts to emerge of the typical ACT voter as the sort of foreigner who found their home country too economically restrictive for their own ambitions, so they came to New Zealand to work long hours, usually on commission, and hopefully not have to contribute to a social safety net that neither them nor anyone they care about should ever have to rely on.

What makes the ACT Party different to a true libertarian party is their emphasis on economic freedom at the expense of social freedom. Their website is full of rhetoric calling for greater punishments for burglaries but does not mention cannabis law reform. This might lose them half of their votes, but if the intent was to be a National Party support partner it could make co-operation easier.

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This article is an excerpt from Understanding New Zealand, by Dan McGlashan, published by VJM Publishing in the winter of 2017.

Smokefree New Zealand is a Sadistic Idea Dreamed up by Morons

A recent Customs report suggests that the New Zealand Government may lose up to $10,000,000 in revenue per year from a black market in tobacco as a consequence of raising taxes on both cigarettes and loose tobacco. The predictable Government reaction will be more restrictions against home growing and even more taxes, but this essay will argue that if the Government had any sense they’d drop the whole hubris-fuelled idea.

An example of how the Kiwi political class has more shit for brains than it does grey or white matter was provided by Nicky Wagner’s response to the report. She said:

“We’re monitoring it very closely, we’re intercepting [tobacco] the border, you may be aware that the Customs and Excise Act is changing in the New Year. That cuts the amount of growth for personal use from 15 kilograms down to 5kg… We’re attacking it on several different levels.”

So rather than accept that they may have made an error, or that the 40-year failure of the War on Drugs may have taught us anything, or that the failure of alcohol prohibition in America may have taught us anything, our politicians are just going to double down on pissing our taxmoney up the wall.

Tobacco prohibition, however gradually it might be brought about, is a sadistic idea dreamed up by morons.

Some might ask, given the evident physical dangers of smoking tobacco, how this can be.

The answer: tobacco is a mental health medicine. This is not generally understood by either doctors severely brainwashed into taking a physicalist perspective towards everything or by politicians who are generally either ignorant or indifferent to mental health and the people suffering from a lack of it.

It has long been noted that people who are hard done by and the majority of severely mentally ill people smoke something, almost always either tobacco or cannabis.

An article from the Journal of the American Medical Association points out that “individuals with mental illness smoke at rates approximately twice that of adults without mental disorders… and comprise more than half of nicotine-dependent smokers.”

In other words, half of the haul of increased tax revenue from the Smokefree New Zealand policy comes out of the wallets of mentally ill people who are taxed for trying to obtain relief from psychological distress.

And the higher they pump the tax up, the more the mentally ill will just have to keep paying, because people with high levels of psychological distress have no other reliable way to control that distress when it gets out of control than to have a cigarette.

Why the Smokefree New Zealand policy is so cruel can be summarised with a line from a recent article in the Journal of Nicotine and Tobacco Research: “people with high levels of psychological distress do not benefit to the same extent as others from existing tobacco control measures.”

In fact, people with high levels of psychological distress lose out immensely from the Smokefree New Zealand policy, because they have to pay more for tobacco which leaves them in increased poverty, which increases the psychological distress (and thus the demand for tobacco).

Here’s a question that the gutless chickenshits in Parliament will never have the courage to ask themselves: Is there a connection between the tobacco prices and our world record teen suicide rate?

They won’t ask themselves that question, because they lack either the integrity or the courage. The rest of us, for our part, might like to consider this question: will the attempt to ban tobacco be any less of a futile waste of resources, achieving nothing but human misery, than the attempts to ban alcohol and cannabis have been?

This column contends that it will not. The crusade against tobacco has all the hallmarks of being another futile, self-destructive suicide mission foisted on an unwilling populace by the morons in Parliament.

Is David Seymour the Biggest Coward in the New Zealand Parliament?

On the face of it, it seems self-evident that a New Zealand libertarian party would be a staunch supporter of cannabis law reform. There’s nothing less libertarian than the government putting people in cages for using a medicine they don’t approve of, and there’s nowhere in the world with a greater appetite for a repeal of cannabis prohibition.

The New Zealand ACT Party claims to be a libertarian party. They have wrapped themselves in the libertarian yellow and their website boldly states “We believe the current role of government is far too large and should be limited on a principled basis.”

Sounds good, as probably 75% of New Zealand agrees that the New Zealand Government’s decades-long war on medicinal cannabis users has been a governmental overreach and should be limited.

The ACT Party Crime and Justice page even goes as far as to state, at the top: “We’re striving for a progressive, vibrant New Zealand that encourages individual choice, responsibility and excellence.”

From all this rhetoric you’d think a repeal of cannabis prohibition would be front and centre, but it’s not even mentioned. Instead the entire Crime and Justice section is just a lengthy diatribe about how burglary is the greatest evil facing our nation and ought to be punished severely.

David Seymour shares more than a gormless possum-in-the-headlights look with Andrew Little – he’s also a coward when it comes to our cannabis laws

The inability of the ACT Party to make good on their rhetoric about compassion and freedom by supporting a repeal of New Zealand’s cannabis laws – despite their unprecedented degree of leverage on the current Government – marks that party, and David Seymour, as a pack of weaklings.

What takes the ACT Party’s behaviour from disappointing to pathetic is the fact that it has already been well established that a repeal of our cannabis laws would save the taxpayer $400,000,000 per year.

So changing our cannabis laws, and making good on all the lofty rhetoric about compassion and freedom and fulfilling New Zealand’s destiny as a forward-thinking nation, would be a simple matter of negotiating with the current National Government $400,000,000 worth of tax cuts that would be paid for with the savings from cannabis prohibition.

It isn’t clear why Seymour has yet to kick the ball into this wide open goal.

Probably because he is a coward, but it’s unlikely that a man could possibly be so craven. Imagine being so gutless, so lily-livered, so chickenshit, that a 76-year old former leader of your party was saying what needed to be said six years ago, and you still can’t find the stomach to walk the same trail blazed by this geriatric.

A more charitable explanation though, going by his wittering about the need to do work on evaluating what’s happening overseas, is that Seymour is just in the same twenty-year time warp as most of the rest of the country.

It was pointed out in a previous Dan McGlashan column that supporting the ACT Party has a very strong negative correlation with being born in New Zealand (-0.74). Has the ACT Party sold its soul to corporate globalist interests so that Seymour could be a National party puppet?

Considering that there are significant correlations between voting ACT and both having a professional occupation, or with working in financial and insurance services, it’s unlikely that ACT voters or supporters have much in common with cannabis users at all, much less using cannabis themselves.

If those are the circles Seymour moves in, perhaps this is why Seymour has failed to observe the immense appetite for a change to our ridiculous laws.

So maybe he needs to climb down out of the ivory tower and get a clue.

Coming out in support of cannabis law reform would lend credence to the idea that ACT might really be a libertarian party, instead of what most Kiwis suspect them to be – paid whores of big corporate interests.

The question is whether Seymour has the courage to stand up to a Catholic prohibitionist National Party leader, or whether he’d rather scurry away and prepare himself for the aftermath of the likely National loss later this year.

The most sure thing of all is that if ACT does not make an appeal to libertarian New Zealanders by updating their cannabis policy, they have little hope of winning more than one seat in this year’s election.

Understanding New Zealand: Voting Patterns of the Religious I

Many people are aware of the long-standing alliance between conservative forces and religion. Indeed, the party with the strongest correlation between voting for them and being Christian was the Conservative Party, which was 0.37.

The Conservative Party of New Zealand appeals to much of the same sentiment as the Christian Heritage Party when it was run by now convicted child molester Graham Capill.

Christians are also significantly more likely to vote for the National Party – the correlation here is 0.29. This is significant but barely so, and perhaps even less so once one considers that this correlation can be well explained by the fact that both Christians and National voters tend to be older than average.

However, this is not an area where the Labour Party forms a natural counterweight. Voting Labour in 2014 has a correlation of 0.10 with being Christian. Neither does New Zealand First – voting for them and being Christian has a correlation of -0.11. Neither of these two are significant.

The significant one is between voting Green in 2014 and being Christian: this is a very strong -0.57. This suggests that the religious see very, very little merit in what the Greens have to offer.

Although this is true, the likely reason for it is that many Green voters are either young students – who are the group least likely to be Christian – and many who are older have postgraduate degrees in the sciences, the holding of which has a significant negative correlation with being Christian.

Many are already aware of the widespread cynicism of Maoris towards Christianity, which is often seen as a pack of lies that was told to confuse them while their land could be stolen. Not surprisingly, then, being Christian has a significant negative correlation with all of the parties that have heavy Maori support, apart from New Zealand First.

Being Christian has a correlation of -0.44 with voting Maori Party in 2014, -0.41 with voting ALCP and -0.40 with voting Internet MANA.

Because there are so many Christians – slightly fewer than 50% of the population – it’s worth taking a look at the next level down.

At this level, Anglicans seem to form the foundation of the national freemasonry. Being Anglican has a correlation of 0.41 with voting National in 2014, one of 0.34 with voting Conservative and one of -0.59 with voting Labour.

To all other parties Anglicans are mostly indifferent. The correlation between being Anglican and voting ALCP in 2014 was -0.01, with voting New Zealand First it was 0.17, with the Greens it was -0.06, with Internet MANA it was -0.07, with ACT it was -0.23 and with the Maori Party it was -0.06. None of these are significant.

Their eternal enemies, the Catholics, are predictably therefore more internationalist. There is a significant postive correlation between being Catholic and voting Labour in 2014 (0.28), and with voting ACT (0.24).

Also predictably for a religion that has a significant negative correlation with both being European and being Maori, being Catholic has a significant negative correlation with voting for New Zealand First in 2014 – this was -0.44. Other negative correlations existed between being Catholic and voting for the ALCP (-0.27) and voting Conservative (-0.26).

Presbytarians, for their part, seem like a kind of less Maori-friendly Anglican. The correlation between voting National in 2014 and being Presbytarian is almost identical with that of being Anglican – this is 0.40. The major difference is that the correlation betwen voting Labour and being Presbytarian is a mere -0.22, which is not significant.

The correlations between being Presbytarian and voting for any of the Maori-heavy parties were negative. With voting Internet MANA it was -0.40 and with voting Maori Party it was -0.37.

These correlations reflect the degree to which Presbytarianism is more common in the Southern South Island, which was settled much more heavily by Scots than by the English and where few Maoris live.

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This article is an excerpt from Understanding New Zealand, by Dan McGlashan, published by VJM Publishing in the winter of 2017.

Understanding New Zealand: Demographics of the New Zealand-Born

Predictably, the ethnic groups that correlate the strongest with being born in New Zealand were those whose waves came here first. With being born in New Zealand, being Maori has a correlation of 0.70, and being European has a correlation of 0.33. Being a Pacific Islander has a correlation of -0.39 with being born in New Zealand, and being Asian has one of -0.88.

It’s not really surprising that Maoris are most likely to be born in New Zealand when one considers that there are very few Maoris born overseas who could have opportunity to move here. It’s also predictable, given that the second great wave of settlement was European, that people born here are more likely than not to be European.

Some might be surprised at the absence of a strong negative correlation with being a Pacific Islander and being born in New Zealand, since Islanders are generally portrayed as immigrants in popular culture. However, the start of the Pacific Islander migration to New Zealand was in the early 1970s, and it has now been forty years since then. So many of the Pacific Islanders born in New Zealand will also have parents (or one parent) that are born here.

One correlation that might surprise many is the one of -0.24 between being born in New Zealand and being Christian. After all, we often hear rhetoric about how this is a Christian country. But it’s more Kiwi to be a post-Christian than an actual Christian.

However, there was a moderately strong correlation between being born in New Zealand and being Anglican – this was 0.42.

Being a Spiritualist or New Ager has a correlation of 0.44 with being born in New Zealand, and having no religion at all has a correlation of 0.49 with being born here. These are moderately strong correlations, and reflect the degree to which more mature cultures tend to reject the more juvenile religious traditions.

Being Christian had a correlation of 0.46 with being a Pacific Islander, which is moderately strong, and allows us to conclude that immigration from the Pacific Islands has left New Zealand a much more Christian country than it otherwise would have been.

Perhaps predictably, being born in New Zealand had a correlation of -0.38 with voting to change the flag in the second flag referendum. It’s understandable that those born in the country will have more loyalty to its traditions than those born outside of the country. For some of the voters in the referendum, who had recently moved to New Zealand, the current flag didn’t hold enough emotional investment to overweigh the National Party flag.

The New Zealand-born are also significantly poorer than immigrants as a whole. The correlation between being born in New Zealand and median personal income was -0.32. The major reason for this is that our immigration policy heavily discriminates against potential immigrants who are not able, or less able, to pay their way. Generally a person needs a high-paying profession or a fat wad of cash to be allowed to immigrate here.

The strongest correlation between being born in New Zealand and any income bracket was the $25-30K bracket – here there was a correlation of 0.79. With being born outside of New Zealand the strongest correlation was 0.40 with the $100-150K bracket.

Given that, it is entirely unsurprising that there is a strong correlation between being born here and having no academic qualifications – this is 0.74. The flip side of this is, predictably, that the correlation between being born in New Zealand and having a Master’s degree is -0.59.

It’s easy to believe, then, that the correlation between being born in New Zealand and being on the unemployment benefit is 0.53, hefty enough to be more than significant. Even more so, understandly, is the correlation between being born in New Zealand and being on the invalid’s benefit, which is 0.74. This strong correlation can be explained simply by considering how difficult it would be for anyone incapacitated enough to go on an invalid’s benefit to successfully immigrate.

Following the general trend that immigration is easier the higher one’s social class, it can be observed that being born in New Zealand correlates significantly with working-class occupations. With working in healthcare the correlation is 0.57, with agriculture, forestry and fishing it is 0.55, with manufacturing it is 0.46 and with healthcare and social assistance it is 0.45.

Correspondingly, the correlation between being born overseas and working in financial and insurance services is 0.61, with wholesale trade it is 0.53, with professional, scientific and technical services it is 0.51 and with information media and telecommunications it is 0.48.

Smoking patterns fall along the lines one might predict once it is understood that immigrants to New Zealand are generally more middle-class than the natives, and that usually only people who are a bit hard done by smoke tobacco. The correlation between being born in New Zealand and being a regular smoker was 0.75, and with having never smoked it was -0.81. Considering that smoking is highly correlated with being Maori this is not especially exciting.

New Zealand-born Kiwis, though, are significantly more likely to bike to work – the correlation between the two was 0.28.

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This article is an excerpt from Understanding New Zealand, by Dan McGlashan, published by VJM Publishing in the winter of 2017.

The Solution to Nelson Drunkenness is Cannabis Cafes on Bridge Street

Nelson does exceptionally well as a tourist town over the summer. We get thousands for the Abel Tasman alone and the Black Caps played here twice this season. It means big money for Sun City – but it won’t continue if we continue to get a reputation for mindless violence.

Retail group Uniquely Nelson is especially concerned by what they see as a spike in antisocial activity, in particular “drunkenness, violence, abuse, theft, rubbish and broken glass.” But as anyone who has lived in Nelson for any length of time knows, violence, abuse, theft rubbish and even broken glass are natural consequences of the first problem named – drunkenness.

Neither can we glibly blame everything on ‘North Islanders’ as if Nelsonians are not subject to the same loss of inhibition as everyone else on the planet who drinks booze. Drunk people in Nelson do the same things in Nelson that drunk people in any low-wage area get up to.

The problem with the drinking culture of Nelson is this – most of the intelligent people who have lived here for long enough have secured cannabis hookups and use that instead. Cannabis has driven out alcohol among the sort of consumer that is most sensitive to being turned away by dickheads, and this has left the drinking to the lowest common denominator.

Anyone new to Nelson looking for a good time will quickly encounter this lowest common denominator, and the results are usually as described in the examples given in the opening paragraph.

The sad thing is, there is plenty of opportunity for people to come here and have a good time. Being the oldest of Kiwis, we Nelsonians naturally represent what is the best of us, in particular a sunny nature, a social attitude and a genuine joy of life.

But we’d rather smoke weed at home than come into town to get our heads kicked in.

So the solution is obvious.

We ought to demolish the dive bars of Bridge Street and replace them with a handful of cannabis cafes, so that Nelsonians and our many visitors can relax in public without fear of being attacked by some drunken animal.

As it is, if I’m driving East on Bridge Street late on a weekend night and I see some young backpackers heading the other way for a night on the town, I feel sorry for them, knowing that they will not get to see the best of my city or of its people.

Cannabis cafes on Bridge Street would provide the revitalisation that Sun City needs. It would bring the young people back out of their homes and life back into the streets of the CBD. It would also create a festive atmosphere in the city centre to replace the fighting, vomiting and vandalism.

Not least, the local retailers of Nelson stand to make a packet from the idea. The wider Nelson region is already, along with Coromandel, the most popular destination in New Zealand for underground cannabis tourism owing to our widespread local embrace of the plant medicine. International visitors know that they can come to this region for some of the world’s best natural cannabis.

If Nelson could get it together to take advantage of the impending repeal of cannabis prohibition we could position ourselves first in the queue for the hordes of young tourists that would flock here to escape from the drunken shitheadery that plagues most other Kiwi towns and cities.

If we did it right, many of those tourists would be other Kiwis. These people should leave Nelson with a sense of being impressed by our forward-thinking, gregarious and positive attitude, not with relief at getting out before they were glassed by some pisshead.