Understanding New Zealand: Voting Patterns of Employment Status

With regard to employment status this analysis divides New Zealanders into those who work for a wage or salary, those who are self-employed, those who are self-employed with employees (i.e. employers) and those who do unpaid work in the family business. This does not consider the unemployed because this is discussed in the article about Labour Force Status.

The strongest correlations in this section are those that reflect the basic economic division of society, between owners and owned.

In particular, the correlation between being self-employed with employees and voting National in 2014 was an extremely strong 0.75. The converse – with voting Labour in 2014 – was even stronger at -0.83.

This is hardly surprising if one takes into account that the entire purpose of the National Party’s existence – at least theoretically – is to shift the balance of power towards the employer (and the bigger the employer the better) whereas the precise opposite is true for the Labour Party.

There were similar correlations for those who are self-employed without employees, only not quite as strong. People in this category had a correlation of 0.68 with voting National in 2014 and a correlation of -0.78 with voting Labour in 2014. These are no doubt strong for the same reason the ones above were strong.

As could be predicted from the general enfranchisement rule, people in the employer group have an extremely high turnout rate. For the self-employed with employees the correlation with turnout rate in 2014 was 0.57, and for the self-employed without employees it was 0.63.

This group was more or less indifferent to the two medium-sized parties. Those who were self-employed without employees had a small, not significant positive correlation with voting for the Greens in 2014 (0.14), and a small, not significant negative correlation with voting for New Zealand First (-0.23). This probably reflects the influence of the professional class, and the number of doctors, lawyers, psychologists etc. with their own practices.

One statistic that will surprise some is that the correlation with working for a wage or salary is much stronger for people who voted Green in 2014 (0.41) than it is for those who voted Labour in 2014 (0.11). The reason for this is the large proportion of beneficiaries among Labour voters.

This correlation between working for a wage or salary and voting Green in 2014 is the strongest of its kind. The next strongest correlations between working for a wage or salary and voting for a particular political party were 0.23 for the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party, 0.18 for the Maori Party and 0.11 for Internet MANA.

There were two significantly negative correlations. Between working for a wage or salary and voting for New Zealand First in 2014 the correlation was -0.32, and with voting Conservative in 2014 it was -0.43. This probably reflects the fact that these two parties get a significant number of votes from people who are too old to be working for a wage or salary.

There was also a negative correlation between working for a wage or salary and turnout rate in 2014 (-0.08), but this was not significant.

A curiosity is that the correlation between working unpaid in the family business and voting New Zealand First in 2014 (0.34) is about the same as the correlation between working in this manner and voting National in 2014 (0.32). This is because most people in this group are the elderly who have left the running of the family business or farm to their offspring, and who contribute but do not need to take money out.

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This article is an excerpt from Understanding New Zealand, by Dan McGlashan, due to be published by VJM Publishing this winter.

Understanding New Zealand: Voting Patterns of Medium-Skill Occupations

The demographic of medium-skill occupations breaks down into technicians and trade workers, community and personal service workers, and clerical and administrative workers.

The medium-skill occupations are characterised by a relative indifference to the two major parties. This makes sense if National and Labour are considered to represent opposite poles of the capital-labour spectrum, because the medium-skill occupations, falling in the middle, could be expected to be indifferent.

Working as a technician or trades worker had a correlation of -0.09 with voting National in 2014, and a correlation of -0.02 with voting Labour in 2014. This is not too surprising as neither of those parties aim to represent people in this occupation.

Technicians and trade workers had a significant positive correlation with voting New Zealand First in 2014 – this was 0.44. This can only partially be explained by the fact that this occupation has a significant positive correlation with being Maori, and Maoris love New Zealand First.

For all the other parties, besides ACT, they were indifferent. The correlation between working as a technician or trades worker and voting ACT in 2014 was -0.37.

The reason for these correlations might be that people who work as technicians and trade workers have a strong working-class sentiment but cannot find expression for it in the Labour Party, which more and more has come to represent middle class special interests.

The voting patterns of community and personal service workers reflected the fact that there was a correlation of 0.72 between working in this occupation and being Maori. In particular, there were strong correlations with all of the Maori-heavy parties.

The correlation between working as a community or personal service worker and voting New Zealand First in 2014 was 0.48; with Internet MANA it was 0.56; with voting Maori Party it was 0.64 and with voting Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party it was 0.76.

Consequently, the correlations between working in these profesions and voting for the parties that Maoris don’t like were all significantly negative. With voting Conservative in 2014 it was -0.41; with voting ACT it was -0.47 and with voting National it was -0.51.

These correlations also reflect the degree of compassion evidenced in the policies of the various parties. Because the sort of person who works as a community or personal service worker can be expected to have a higher than usual amount of compassion, it’s clear that their voting patterns reflect this.

The last group of medium-skill occupations is clerical and administrative workers. This class is perhaps better considered as somewhere on the high-skill end of the medium-skill occupations.

Their voting patterns are consequently much like that of the professional class (with whom they share a high income). The strongest positive correlation between working as a clerical and administrative worker and voting for a political party in 2014 was 0.22, with the Greens. The strongest negative one was -0.24, with the Conservative Party.

It’s not possible from that, however, to conclude that people in this group are particularly left-wing. The correlations with voting for Internet MANA in 2014 (0.14) and for the Maori Party in 2014 (0.12) were about as strong as the correlation with voting for ACT in 2014 (0.17). Likewise, the correlations with the three most established parties were all negative, if insignificant.

These patterns reflect the fact that most people working in this group are young adults with ambition, just not quite enough ambition to get a professional degree.

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This article is an excerpt from Understanding New Zealand, by Dan McGlashan, due to be published by VJM Publishing this winter.

Understanding New Zealand: Voting Patterns of High-Skill Occupations

The demographic of high-skill occupations breaks down into managers and professionals. The general rule, put crudely, is that managers like to vote National whereas professionals like to vote Green.

Working as a manager had a correlation of 0.56 with voting National in 2014, which was moderately strong and in line with what most people probably could have guessed.

The National Party exists to bring in laws that weaken the position of workers and make them easier to control, and this directly benefits the sort of person who works as a manager.

Predictably, then, there was a very strong negative correlation with being a manager and voting for the Labour Party – this was -0.75. After all, the Labour Party exists to oppose the National Party.

The only party apart from National to have a positive correlation with being a manager was the Conservatives. The correlation between voting Conservative in 2014 and being a manager was 0.31.

Even though it is also a right-wing party, the correlation betwen voting ACT in 2014 and being a manager was not significant, at 0.06. This may be because their love of neoliberalism is too radical for the average manager – who is fairly elderly – to handle.

Some might be surprised that the correlations between being a manager and voting for the Maori-heavy parties are not negatively significant. The correlation between being a manager and voting New Zealand First in 2014 was -0.06; with voting Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party it was -0.05; with voting Internet MANA it was -0.17 and with voting Maori Party it was -0.14.

The reason for this surprising set of correlations is that Maoris who live to be in the age bracket from which most managers come are not significantly less likely to become one than a European New Zealander who lives to the same age. But because the bulk of Maoris are much younger than non-Maoris, proportionately fewer of them are in that age bracket, and the young ones like to vote Labour.

Working in a professional occupation had a correlation of 0.73 with voting Green in 2014. This fits with the fact that highly educated people in general like to vote Green.

The party that the professional class was most opposed to was not Labour but New Zealand First. The correlation between working as a professional and voting New Zealand First was -0.58.

This was in striking contrast to the other Maori-heavy parties. The correlation between working as a professional and voting for the Maori Party was -0.12; with voting for Internet MANA it was -0.07; and even with voting for the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party – hardly a favoured cause of the sort of person driven enough to become a professional – it was only -0.25.

There exists a genuine antipathy between Green and New Zealand First voters, and this is exposed most evidently when the voting patterns of professionals are examined.

For the sort of person who becomes a professional, things like freedom of movement are paramount (as they often are for people with higher levels of human capital than financial capital). This means that their values naturally align with the Green Party.

The average New Zealand First voter is characterised by their low level of education, and consequently their low level of human capital. For a person with a low level of human capital, who usually ends up a member of the low-skilled occupations, freedom of movement is a danger because it exposes their low-skilled niche in the market to greater competition.

Green voters have this problem less often because people with professional educations do not have to compete for employment opportunities as a general rule. In fact, professional occupations are almost permanently on the New Zealand skilled shortages list and consequently people with professional educations can go straight into the immigration fast lane.

Freedom of movement is an opportunity for these people because it broadens the potential employer pool.

Both managers and professionals had a significantly higher turnout rate. For managers the correlation with turnout rate in the 2014 General Election was 0.38 and for professionals it was 0.28. These correlations reflect that fact that people in highly skilled occupations tend to be strongly enfranchised and engaged with the system.

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This article is an excerpt from Understanding New Zealand, by Dan McGlashan, due to be published by VJM Publishing this winter.

Understanding New Zealand: Voting Patterns of Maoris

One of the least surprising statistics in this entire study is that there is an extremely strong positive correlation between being Maori and voting for the Maori Party – this was 0.91. What might surprise some people, though, is the strength of the correlation with other parties.

The correlation between being Maori and voting for the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party was 0.89, almost as strong as for voting for the Maori Party. This is because Maoris are greatly adversely affected by the cannabis laws, which are a major contributor to their disadvantaged position.

Because Maoris are more likely than non-Maoris to be arrested for cannabis offences, less likely to be offered diversion for those offences, more likely to stand trial for them, more likely to be given a custodial sentence for them and because they get longer average custodial sentences upon conviction for cannabis offences, there are plenty of reasons for Maoris to vote for the ALCP.

The correlation between being Maori and voting Internet MANA was 0.84, also very strong, but not quite as strong as the above two, perhaps because Internet MANA, despite mostly targeting its rhetoric to disadvantaged Maoris and Pacific Islanders, also appealed to a high-tech young Pakeha and Asian demographic.

Between being Maori and voting New Zealand First the correlation was 0.66, which is a reflection mostly of how well this party does in the Maori electorates, where they regularly score more than 10% of the party vote. It also reflects the degree – surprising to many – that nationalist sentiments exist among Maoris.

Another unsurprising statistic is the strength of the relationship between being Maori and voting for the National Party in 2014 – this was -0.75. Curiously, this figure of -0.75 was also the degree of correlation between being Maori and turnout rate in 2014. Perhaps it reflects the degree of Maori disenfranchisement from the political system.

Neither it is surprising that Maoris do not like to vote for far-right parties. The correlation between being Maori and voting Conservative in 2014 was -0.53, and with voting ACT in 2014 it was -0.42. This is probably a function of culture, in that Maoris are very unlikely to vote for parties that put money above people.

Interestingly, the correlation between being Maori and voting for the Green Party in 2014 was not significant (-0.09), despite the fact that Green voters are significantly wealthier than average and Maoris considerably poorer. This was the only party to have no significant correlation in either direction between voting for them in 2014 and being Maori.

This reflects the fact that Maoris with middle class pretensions vote Green well before they vote National, and that many Maoris are young and so in the student demographic that heavily votes Green.

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This article is an excerpt from Understanding New Zealand, by Dan McGlashan, due to be published by VJM Publishing this winter.

Understanding New Zealand: Voting Patterns of Labour Force Status

This is a very interesting category because here it is the Greens and ACT that represent the centre, and Labour and National that represent the extremes.

At the employed end, there is the National Party. Being unemployed (i.e. not in the labour force) had a correlation of -0.86 with voting for the National Party in 2014. This is not at all surprising to anyone who can remember the attitude of the Bolger-Richardson-Shipley Government towards beneficiaries in the 1990s.

At first glance it might seem odd that the correlation between working part-time and voting National in 2014 (0.39) is stronger than the correlation between working full-time and voting National in 2014 (0.25). But this can be easily explained by the third factor of age.

New Zealanders don’t tend to work full-time until they completely retire. The usual patterns appears to be working full-time until about age 50 or 55, and then working part-time for a number of years, and only then retiring.

So although Kiwis working part-time have less of an income than those working full-time, this doesn’t make them vote National less because most part-time workers are elderly, and thereby more conservative.

This is reflected in mirror form with the Labour votes. The correlation between working full-time and voting Labour in 2014 (-0.31) was also much weaker than the correlation between working part-time and voting for that party in 2014 (-0.65). And predictably, the correlation between being unemployed and voting Labour in 2014 was a very strong 0.72.

This is mostly a function of the fact that Labour voters are considerably younger on average and – as discussed above – consequently more likely to be working full-time than part-time (although still less likely to be working full-time than National voters).

The patterns of labour force status for New Zealand First voters reflected the somewhat bifurcated nature of this party’s constituency. Not only was there a moderately strong negative correlation between working full-time and voting New Zealand First (-0.43), but there was also a moderately strong positive correlation between being unemployed and voting New Zealand First (0.44).

This reflects that New Zealand First support comes chiefly from people too old to be employed and from Maoris who are generally young enough to be in the most likely age brackets for full-time employment.

These same patterns express themselves in the patterns of labour force status for Green Party voters. Because the average Green voter is middle aged and middle class, they are in some ways like National voters. The correlation between working full-time and voting Green in 2014 was 0.32, and the correlation between working part-time and voting Green in 2014 was 0.26.

In that regard, Green voters are very similar to National voters. The major way in which they differ is the proportion of voters who are unemployed. The correlation between not being in the labour force and voting Green in 2014 was -0.07, which is not significant. The main reason for this is the number of young trendy people who vote Green but do not have jobs – almost none of this sort of person votes National.

This meant that the Green Party was, unusually, closer to the New Zealand centre than either Labour or National, assuming the centre to be defined by labour force status. This was also true, even more unusually, of the ACT Party, for which none of the correlations between voting for them in 2014 and any of the three categories of labour force participation were more than marginally significant.

The voting patterns for the other three Maori-heavy parties generally reflected the fact that Maoris are much more likely to not be in the labour force compared to other Kiwis. The correlations between being unemployed and voting for a given party in 2014 were 0.76 for the Maori Party, 0.75 for Internet MANA and 0.62 for the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party.

None of those three parties, however, had a significant negative correlation with being in the labour force, not for either full-time or for part-time work. This reflects the fact that, although the average Maori is more likely to be on the unemployment benefit, they are much less likely to be on the pension, and so their overall rate of absence from the labour force is not much different to the rate of non-Maori absence.

The correlations between voting for the Conservatives in 2014 and a given labour force status were -0.12 for working full-time, 0.29 for working part-time and -0.69 for being unemployed. These are all similar, but weaker, than the correlations for the National Party, which reflects the general fact that the Conservative Party appeals to the least educated segment of National voters.

Finally – and predictably – the turnout rate strongly reflected the degree to which labour force status reflected general disenfranchisement from society. There was a very strong negative correlation between turnout rate in the 2014 General Election and being unemployed – this was -0.82.

The correlation between turnout rate in 2014 and working full-time (0.24) was not as strong as that for working part-time (0.45), which probably reflects the fact that many full-time workers are actually doing worse than the semi-retired elderly who often work part-time and who often have investment income.

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This article is an excerpt from Understanding New Zealand, by Dan McGlashan, due to be published by VJM Publishing this winter.

Understanding New Zealand: Voting Patterns of Tenure of Dwelling

There was only only party that had a significant correlation with living in a mortgaged house. This was the negative correlation of -0.25 between this and voting Green in 2014.

None of the correlations between living in a mortgaged house and voting for any of the other parties were significant. These ranged from the ACT Party’s -0.09 to the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party’s 0.14.

Living in a mortgaged house also had a perfect lack of correlation with turnout rate in 2014 – a nice, even 0.00.

The reason for this was the very strong positive correlation being living in a freehold house and turnout rate in 2014, which was 0.72, and the corresponding very strong negative correlation between living in a rented house and turnout rate in 2014, which was -0.66.

Probably the single most fundamental pattern described in this book is the simple and obvious one that disenfranchisement from society – by any measure – closely correlates with disenfranchisement from the voting booth.

Because someone living in a house rent-free is almost always doing better than someone who must pay that house’s owner about a third of their income or get thrown out into the street, it’s not surprising that the tenure of a person’s dwelling is a strong predictor of their voting patterns.

Living in a freehold house had a correlation of 0.67 with voting National in 2014, as opposed to living in a rented house, which had a correlation of -0.76.

This was the mirror opposite to Labour, for whom living in a freehold house had a correlation of -0.64 with voting for them in 2014, and for whom living in a rented house had a correlation of 0.67 with voting for them in 2014.

Probably more than any other single section in this book, the correlations here describe how New Zealand society essentially works: anyone capable of enforcing a claim to land ownership lives for free and does not want to change this arrangement, while anyone not capable of enforcing a claim to land ownership must pay money in the form of rent to those who can, and these people generally do want to change the arrangement.

This is essentially how politics started, and the description of it above is true of almost all times and of almost all places.

The correlations between voting for the other parties in 2014 and tenure of dwelling generally reflects the pattern of disenfranchisement described above. Living in a freehold house was also positively correlated with voting for the Conservatives (0.63), but not for any other party besides National.

The correlation between living in a freehold house and voting Green was a not significant -0.05, which probably reflects that many Green voters, even if highly educated and making a good income, are not old enough to have saved the money for a house just yet.

This age factor would also explain why there was a positive correlation between voting Green in 2014 and living in a rented house – this was 0.28. Many Green voters are wealthy enough to get a mortgage but are too young to have settled down yet and so still live in flats.

Predictably, given the general degree of Maori disenfranchisement, voting for most of the parties with high levels of Maori support had significant positive correlations with living in a rented house. Living in a rented house had a correlation of 0.40 with voting for the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party, one of 0.53 with voting Maori Party and 0.54 with voting Internet MANA.

The exception to the rule was New Zealand First. Voting for them in 2014 had a correlation of 0.06 with living in a rented house. Neither were there significant correlations between voting New Zealand First in 2014 and living in a freehold house (-0.05) or living in a mortgaged house (0.12).

This probably reflects the degree to which New Zealand First, like nationalist socialist parties everywhere, represents a very broad spectrum of society when it comes to class.

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This article is an excerpt from Understanding New Zealand by Dan McGlashan, due to be published by VJM Publishing this winter.

Understanding New Zealand: Demographics of European New Zealanders

Possibly the single most striking characteristic of the demographic bloc of Kiwis of European descent is that they are considerably older than average. The correlation between being of European descent and median age was 0.72.

Predictably, then, there is a very strong positive correlation with being of European descent and being on the pension – this was 0.65.

This raises the interesting point that, for all the rhetoric about lazy Maoris sucking unemployment benefits out of the country, there are legions of wealthy white Kiwis getting paid much more than an unemployment benefit in the form of a pension, which is not means tested.

Aside from this, the trends show the general pattern of industriousness among Kiwis of European descent. The sorts of industry that demands a committed and sustained physical effort tends to be stacked with them. The correlation between being of European descent and working in construction was 0.38; with working in agriculture, forestry and fishing it was 0.37; and with mining it was 0.25.

Like the average Maori, the average European New Zealander is born in New Zealand. The correlation between being of European descent and being born in New Zealand is 0.33.

European New Zealanders are also markedly likely to delay reproduction. The correlation between being of European descent and being in a couple without children is a very strong 0.81. This reflects the degree to which Kiwis of European descent have a tendency to live for a number of years together as a couple before committing to having children.

Some might predict, based on that, that the correlation between being of European descent and being a solo parent would be significantly negative. It turns out to be a strongly negative -0.68.

Kiwis of European descent were much more likely than average to be former tobacco smokers. The correlation between the two was a very strong 0.74. This is strong enough to suggest that it is a common cultural experience among Kiwis of European descent to have struggled with tobacco addiction and to have successfully overcome it.

European New Zealanders were the only racial group that had a significant positive correlation with biking to work – this was 0.38. This correlation may not reflect so much the culture of European New Zealanders as the fact that Christchurch is an extremely bicycle-friendly city and is also very European, whereas the opposite is true of Auckland.

They also had a moderately strong positive correlation with working from home, which was 0.58. All of the other races had negative correlations with working from home, which probably reflects the fact that the vast majority of Kiwi farmers and people living in isolated areas are of European descent.

Perhaps fitting the stereotype that white people are never desperately poor, there is an extremely strong negative correlation between being of European descent and being in the income band of Loss or Nil Income, which was -0.84.

There were two separate income bands which had a significant positive correlation with being of European descent.

The first was the $15-25K income band. The correlation between being of European descent and having an income between $15-20K was 0.29, and with having an income between $20-25K it was 0.34.

Probably the reason for this is the large number of young Kiwis of European descent who become students, because a person on a student allowance or loan and maybe working part time will be in this income range.

The second was the $60-100K income band. This is about where people expect the average Kiwi of European descent to end up. The correlation between being of European descent and having an income between $60-70K was 0.32, and with having an income between $70-100K it was 0.29.

Being strongly represented in these high income bands reflects that the average Kiwi of European descent is a bit older and a bit better educated than the average and will therefore have significant career advantages in both seniority and expertise.

Given that, it is not surprising that there is a strong positive correlation between being a manager and being of European descent – this was 0.54. The other occupation that had the strongest positive correlation with being of European descent was technicians and trade workers, which was 0.33.

The strongest negative correlation between being of European descent and working as a particular occupation was with the Maori-dominated machinery operators and drivers, which was -0.31.

There was also a moderately strong correlation of 0.51 with being of European descent and living on the South Island.

Kiwis of European descent are very likely to either own their own homes or to live with their parents still. There was a negative correlation with being of European descent and every band of rent paid, apart from the $150-199 per week student niche, which was 0.01.

Perhaps interestingly, there were no significant correlations between being of European descent and having any of the higher degrees. The closest was with having a doctorate, which was 0.22.

This reflects how the bulk of the population in New Zealand is Kiwis of European descent and subsequently they comprise most of the middle between the high-achieving Asians and the low-achieving Maoris and Pacific Islanders.

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This article is an excerpt from Understanding New Zealand by Dan McGlashan, due to be published by VJM Publishing this winter.

Understanding New Zealand: Voting Patterns of the Non-Religious


Interestingly, the Electoral Profiles do not distinguish between atheist, agnostic and non-religious, lumping all such positions under the appellation of ‘non-religious’. This might not have a major impact here, and it is likely that future versions do make such a distinction.

The non-religious especially didn’t seem to think much of the Labour Party. The correlation between being non-religious and voting Labour in 2014 was -0.50. The major reason for this is the large numbers of Pacific Islanders that vote Labour, because the vast majority of them are religious.

The sort of young person who has grown up after New Zealand made forced religious instruction illegal tends to be a Green voter. The correlation between being non-religious and voting Green in 2014 was 0.56.

Taken with other statistics, that suggests that the bulk of Generation X – the first really post-religious generation in New Zealand – are Green voters.

These two statistics, taken together, suggest a clear fault line between the shared territories of the Labour and Green parties. The former is very religious whereas the latter abhors it. Grimly, the way that this is likely to be resolved is by a further marginalisation of the highly religious working-class Pacific Islanders.

The parties that get heavy support from Maoris did not have significant correlations with being non-religious, but they were positive. The correlation between being non-religious and voting New Zealand First in 2014 was 0.12, with voting Internet MANA it was 0.14, and with voting Maori Party it was 0.20.

This reflects how Maoris have generally grown out of religious belief but not to the same extent that young Kiwis of European descent have.

People with no religion don’t seem to think much of the far-right parties either. The correlation between having no religion and voting Conservative in 2014 was -0.04, and with voting ACT in 2014 was -0.23.

Probably the reason for this latter correlation is that the non-religious young middle-class people tend to vote Green, and these heavily outweigh those who vote ACT. Moreover, a very large proportion of ACT voters are from North East Asia and consequently are (at least nominally) Buddhists.

Perhaps demonstrative of a shared interest in free-thinking, there was a significant positive correlation between being non-religious and voting Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party in 2014 – this was 0.34.

After all, it’s plausible that if a person rejects the propaganda of one pack of aggressive liars in the form of the priesthood, they might do the some with the propaganda of another pack of aggressive liars in the form of the politicians who have prohibited cannabis.

There was also a significant positive correlation between having no religion and turnout rate in 2014 – this was 0.24. This was probably because of the large degree of disenfranchisment among highly religious Pacific Islander immigrants, as well as the large number of Maoris, in particular solo mothers who are doing it hard and have become religious primarily for the sake of social support.

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This article is an excerpt from Understanding New Zealand, by Dan McGlashan, due to be published by VJM Publishing this winter.

r/K Selection Theory and Political Orientation

r/K selection theory is an ecological concept that applies to the attitudes that a breeding creature will have towards its offspring. Simply put, all sexually reproducing creatures fall along a spectrum that has zero parental input into the survival of the offspring at one end (the r end) and extremely high parental input at the other end (the K end).

The classic r-strategy is one that has a very high rate of breeding, and a correspondingly very low rate of parental investment, like that of a reptile or a mouse. The classic K-strategy, by contrast, is one that has a low rate of breeding and a correspondingly high rate of parental investment, like that of an elephant or a human being.

As above, so below: the thinking of people can be understood along this exact same parallel. Although biologists don’t look at it like this, it’s possible to view this r/K arrangement as representing the degree of solidarity that exists between human generations.

The r-strategy could be compared to the kind of male that gets a woman pregnant and then disappears from the scene before he is called upon to provide any resources for the offspring. It is even described as “opportunistic”, in much the same way that that kind of male behaviour is.

The K-strategy would then be compared to the kind of male that forms a monogamous pair bond for life, with no intention of finding future female partners to inseminate, and who makes a large investment in terms of time and/or energy in making sure that the offspring of the bond grow up to be fit to deal with the selective pressures of life.

Practically speaking, a male running the r-strategy would have to inseminate more females than a male running the K-strategy, because fewer of the former male’s offspring could be expected to survive to adulthood, on account of the lower degree of parental investment they received.

Moreover, a smaller proportion of those who did survive to adulthood would reproduce, because those who did survive would more frequently be socially or emotionally defective in comparison to those who had a more natural level of paternal investment.

The r/K selection strategy parallels closely the objective of the various political wings. What’s odd, though, is that both wings of the left-right spectrum see themselves as representatives of the K-strategy and their opponents as the representatives of the r-strategy.

Conservatives would consider that the optimal K-strategy would be a monogamous marriage, and preferably a Christian one, and this is the kind of family that appears to be held up in our culture as some kind of ideal. In such a marriage the father would stick around and provide a large amount of investment in a relatively small number of offspring.

They would consider that paying out money in welfare is a mistake because it incentivises r-strategy men to impregnate women and then disappear. In many cases the fear is that welfare incentivises women to get inseminated by dead-beat males and that the rest of us therefore have to carry the burden for children who would not otherwise have existed.

Liberals would consider that the K-strategy involved paying an amount of tax that was sufficient to cover all the requirements every citizen has to grow into a healthy, productive adult. This would mean a high level of investment in every child – schooling, healthcare, freedom from abuse and neglect etc.

They would consider the r-strategy to be what religious conservatives do when they have large numbers of children in adherence to a religious admonition to populate the Earth, and then raise them to be fearful, prejudiced and superstitious.

It appears somehow natural, when reading about the difference, to associate humans and mammals with the K-strategy and reptiles and insects with the r-strategy. Probably this is why both sides of the politico-retard spectrum consider themselves to represent the K-strategy.

Oddly, this gives us a potential way forward for the political system. If both left and right can agree that a K-strategy is morally superior to an r-strategy, then why not forget left and right entirely and run the system along the lines of a K-strategy?

Understanding New Zealand: Demographics of the Non-Religious

One statistic that many will find suprising is that there is a positive (if insignificant) correlation between having no religion and median age – this was 0.16. In other words, the average non-religious Kiwi is older than the average religious one.

There are some easy ways to misinterpret this trend so one has to be careful. One common way to misread it is that religion is growing in power again, by somehow having increased its appeal to the youth of today.

The reality is that the most strongly non-religious demographic is the group of Kiwis of European descent, and this group is also significantly older and larger than the other racial demographics.

The correlation between being of European descent and having no religion was 0.69, and because the correlation between being of European descent and median age was 0.72, we can already happily explain the correlation between no religion and median age.

With being Maori there was a positive but not significant correlation with having no religion – this was 0.13. Some might be surprised that this is not higher, as Maoris are not particularly religious compared to most other demographics.

At least part of the reason is that there are many Maori families with high numbers of children, or headed by solo mothers, in the lower sociodemographic groups that affiliate with Mormonism or the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the children in these families will be counted as religious when they may well grow up not to be.

This can be seen if we look at the correlations between having no religion and being in certain age bands. With being aged between 0-4 and having no religion the correlation was -0.22, and with being aged between 5-14 and having no religion the correlation was -0.13. Obviously, children this young have not made the decision to adopt a religion but are simply counted as that of their parents or mother.

Predictably from this, there is a moderately strong correlation between being born in New Zealand and having no religion – this was 0.49.

So it is not surprising, then, that the correlation between being a Pacific Islander and having no religion is a very strong -0.81. This is not quite as strong as the correlation between being born in the Pacific Islands and having no religion: this was -0.86.

This tells us what many already know: that Pacific Island societies are almost entirely religious and that immigrating to New Zealand has the effect – if gradual – of eroding religious conditioning.

The correlation between being Asian and having no religion perfectly mirrored that of being born in New Zealand. Here it was -0.49. Because we can see that the correlation between having no religion and being born in North East Asia is only -0.15, we can guess that the bulk of these religious Asians are Hindus and Muslims from South Asia.

People with no religion were significantly more likely to be born in Britain. The correlation between having no religion and being born in Britain was 0.28.

As has been established in other countries, there is a positive correlation between having no religion and having educational aspirations. The correlation betwen having no religion and having a doctorate was 0.26, and with having an Honours degree it was 0.27. At the other end of the scale, the correlation between having no religion and having no qualification was -0.08.

Working in arts and recreation services was the industry where people are the most likely to not have a religion – the correlation between the two was a strong 0.60. This is probably because this is the industry that requires the most free and unique thought, and that has a negative correlation with religious sentiments.

Other industries working in which had high correlations with being non-religious were construction (0.46), retail trade (0.45), hospitality (0.42) and education and training (0.41).

The simplest way to explain all of these correlations is that they also overlap with being young adults, and the youth (leaving aside the reproduction rates of young solo mothers) are less likely to be religious.

This is not as evident in the numbers as it could be, of course, as has alraedy been explained by immigration patterns. The correlation between having no religion and being in the 15-19 age bracket is 0.02, and with being in the 20-29 age bracket it is 0.01.

These two age brackets correlate positively with being a Pacific Islander, so it’s possible to say that the general Western pattern of people becoming less religious with each passing generation holds true if one looks at Kiwis of European or Maori descent seperately from the confounding factor of recent immigration from a religious culture.

The religious hold true to another stereotype in that they breed at a significantly higher rate than the non-religious. The correlation between having no religion and being in a couple without a child was 0.49, compared to the correlation between having no religion and being in a couple with a child, which was -0.37, or being a solo parent (-0.33).

Perhaps also fitting with the general correlation with youth, the non-religious are significantly less likely to take a private car to work, and like to walk and bike. The correlation with having no religion and taking a private car to work was -0.50, and with walking to work it was 0.37 and with biking to work it was 0.32.

There is a significant correlation between having no religion and belonging to any of the income bands above $40K. The only income band to have a significant negative correlation with having no religion was the loss or no income band: here the correlation was -0.34.

Some might be surprised by the fact that there was a stronger correlation between having no religion and working as a manager (0.49) than there is between having no religion and working as a professional (0.33). The explanation for this might be that relatively more professionals than managers are immigrants and therefore have a nominal adherence to the religion of their ethnic origin.

Finally, the South Island is the godless island: the correlation between living on the South Island and having no religion was a significant 0.29. For the most part this simply reflects the fact that a much higher propertion of South Islanders are New Zealand-born compared to North Islanders.