Are the Black Caps Really a Better Test Side than the Baggy Greens?

“Just give me one that swings thanks Kane, and we’re going to No. 1.”

There’s something you can see right now that hasn’t been seen for thirty years. It’s not a rare comet: it’s an official Test cricket rankings that has New Zealand higher than Australia. It might come down to decimal points – both teams are on 97 overall ratings points – but the Black Caps are in fourth, the Baggy Greens in fifth. Do the Black Caps deserve to be considered a better Test side than Australia? This article has a look.

We will comparatively examine the relative strengths of either nation in the positions of established opener, junior opener, No. 3, No. 4, No. 5, allrounder, wicketkeeper, first seamer, second seamer, third seamer and spinner.

This article will compare them at all positions, championship boxing style, with an advantage in one of these positions worth a one point win and a knockdown advantage worth a two point win, to be judged along eleven rounds.

Established opener: Tom Latham vs. David Warner

On the briefest glance, this looks like a hands-down win for Warner. He boasts a Test batting average of 47.94, with 20 centuries, compared to Latham’s Test average of 38.84 with six centuries. Warner’s overall average, however, masks the stats of a home track bully.

Although Warner has a considerably higher average than Tom Latham, the two players have a similar average when batting away from home: Warner averages 36.81 away compared to Latham’s 38.46. This is the reason for Warner’s reputation as a home track bully – Latham averages about the same at home as away but Warner averages 59.12 at home.

In all, you’d probably have to give this one to Warner on the basis that he is more likely to play an innings of matchwinning destructiveness once in than Latham is, and that Latham is yet to play a definitively excellent innings against a top-flight team yet.

New Zealand 9, Australia 10

Junior opener: Jeet Raval vs. Matt Renshaw

Jeet Raval is a batsman in the style of Mark Richardson, and in a seven-Test career has functioned an average of 44, the same as Richardson. An average of 44 for a second-choice opener is incredible by recent Black Caps standards, and if Raval can keep his concentration and stick to his simple, AK-47esque simple brutality, he could be excellent in the future.

Matt Renshaw is even less established. He does have one Test century, which Raval has yet to manage, and it’s a big one: a 184 against a visiting Pakistani side this January. Apart from that, he’s not shown too much, maintaining a decent but unremarkable average of 36.64 from ten matches.

This one might be marginal, but it’s still New Zealand’s.

New Zealand 10, Australia 9

No. 3: Kane Williamson vs. Steve Smith

Steve Smith is currently at the top of the Test batting rankings, and there’s few who could really dispute that based on the numbers. He sits at 936 ranking points right now, befitting his stratospheric average of 59.66.

Unlike the days of Ricky Ponting, however, New Zealand boasts a No. 3 in the same league. Kane Williamson is not far behind Smith on the ICC rankings, at 880. Coming off a series in which he scored two hundreds in three matches against the excellent South African attack, Williamson can lay claim to being at least a pretender to Smith’s throne.

Smith is almost universally regarded as superior but here’s a curious statistic: since the start of 2015, Williamson averages 68.37 compared to Smith’s 67.79. Smith has certainly accomplished more in this time frame, but that’s primarily because he has played 15 more innings than Williamson has.

Smith has scored centuries at a marginally higher rate than Williamson during this time: 13 of them from 56 innings for a 23.2% chance per innings. Williamson has scored 9 centuries in 15 fewer opportunities than Smith, which works out to a 21.9% chance.

So in terms of who’s better right now or in the immediate future, on balance it goes to Smith but only by a whisker.

New Zealand 9, Australia 10

No. 4: Ross Taylor vs. Peter Handscomb

Over the last three years, Taylor has averaged 51.21 with the bat. That’s good enough to see him ranked 14th in the world, ahead of Tamim Iqbal, Dean Elgar and Faf du Plessis. He’s been a world-class presence at No. 4 for the Black Caps for many years, and is one behind Williamson and Martin Crowe on the all-time New Zealand Test century scorers table.

Handscomb has only played in 10 Tests, and cannot really be considered an established player. He has a 50+ average, which is very good for ten Tests, but his First Class average of 41 suggests that this will come down a fair bit.

If you consider that Ross Taylor scored the highest ever Test score by a visiting batsman to Australia – 290 in Perth – this is a knockdown win to the Black Caps.

New Zealand 10, Australia 8

No. 5: Henry Nicholls vs. Sean Marsh/Hilton Cartwright

Henry Nicholls could be considered semi-established at No. 5. He hasn’t been excellent so far in Tests – averaging 31.94 from 21 innings – but in his last series it looked like he had turned a corner. On a pitch and against a bowling attack that Kane Williamson could only manage three runs in two innings against – in the second Test against South Africa – Nicholls came in at 21/3 and played a rearguard 118 to take New Zealand from the brink of obliteration to a semi-competitive total. He’s got the goods, it’s just a question of consistency.

Australia’s choices for No. 5 are yet to show either the goods or consistency. Sean Marsh has been unable to make that spot his – despite averaging 50 there over ten innings, Marsh has scored almost everything at home, and Hilton Cartwright, heralded by many on account of his First Class average of over 50, is yet to establish himself here (or anywhere).

This one seems like New Zealand’s as well, thanks to Nicholls’s 2017 average of 48.66. This ultimately suggests that the Black Caps batting is better than the Baggy Greens batting overall. This may be the first time this has ever been true.

New Zealand 10, Australia 9

Allrounder: Colin de Grandhomme vs. Glenn Maxwell

Lord Colin de Grandhomme is now officially considered the Black Caps’ premier allrounder. In six Test matches he is yet to play a really good innings with the bat, but has on several occasions had an important impact with the ball. The most notable of these was a 6/41 against Pakistan that won New Zealand a low-scoring shootout.

Maxwell, in comparison, seems like a straight-out gamble that hasn’t paid off. Despite being one of the best pure hitters in any format of the game, he has only managed to pass 50 once in 14 Test innings. Although a batting average in the mid 20s compares favourably with what de Grandhomme has hitherto achieved, his bowling returns of 8 wickets @ 42 are much poorer than de Grandhomme’s 16 wickets @ 25.

This one goes to de Grandhomme on the basis of his bowling being considerably better.

New Zealand 10, Australia 9

Wicketkeeper: BJ Watling vs. Matthew Wade

Since the start of 2015, BJ Watling has not only given excellent service with the gloves but has scored over 1,200 runs at 42.56, with three centuries. In this regard he has been world-class for the Black Caps and probably the fourth name on the team sheet after Williamson, Taylor and Trent Boult.

Matthew Wade, by contrast, has struggled to dominate in the role and could be said to be picked by default. Over his last 10 matches he has averaged 20 with the bat and so this is fairly another knockdown victory to the Black Caps.

New Zealand 10, Australia 8

Right-arm seamer: Tim Southee vs. Josh Hazlewood

Since the start of 2015, Josh Hazlewood has taken 109 wickets @ 25, cementing him as one of the world’s premier Test bowlers. Only Jimmy Anderson is ahead of him of seamers on current rankings, and it’s easy to see how Hazlewood’s mean accuracy and unpredictable bounce has him at the top here.

By every measure, this is a long way ahead of what Tim Southee has achieved. Southee has 70 wickets @ 34 since the start of 2015, with the only truly matchwinning performance a six-wicket bag to destroy Pakistan’s first innings in Hamilton in 2016.

Southee, even with all his experience, is a much weaker bowler than Hazlewood and Hazlewood is still improving so this would have to go down as a knockdown victory to Australia.

New Zealand 8, Australia 10

Left-arm seamer: Trent Boult vs. Mitchell Starc

Mitchell Starc and Trent Boult have a similar career bowling average of about 28 runs per wicket. Starc has, however, been much stronger over the past 3 years. Since the start of 2015 he has taken 103 wickets at under 25 per wicket.

Boult has still been very good, with 84 wickets @ 30, wrecking England twice, Australia once and South Africa once during that time. One also gets the feeling that he has been unlucky recently, with long periods of sustained pressure inexplicably not ending with wickets.

In the end, though, Starc has a legitimate claim to world-class status whereas Boult is probably at the level below still.

New Zealand 9, Australia 10

Third seamer: Neil Wagner vs. Pat Cummins

Neil Wagner is the highest-ranked Black Caps Test bowler at 10th place. It’s easy to see why – since the start of 2015 he has taken 72 wickets at 24.41, with a sub-50 strike rate. Unlike his teammates Boult and Southee, Wagner doesn’t need as much assistance from the conditions to be effective, and he’s a genuine weapon anywhere.

Pat Cummins is an excellent bowler, but it’s not clear that we’ve seen enough of him to argue that he’s better than Wagner. He came back to the Test arena this year after six years of injury-enforced layoff, and he looked good in taking 14 wickets at just under 30.

Perhaps in five years Cummins will be decisively ahead on this count, but for now Wagner has much more proven effectiveness.

New Zealand 10, Australia 9

Spinner: Mitchell Santner vs. Nathan Lyon

This one is interesting because Santner is clearly the better batsman and Lyon clearly the more effective bowler, it’s just a matter of how to split the balance.

Lyon averages 28.73 with the ball since the start of 2015, with 135 wickets and a couple of Man of the Match efforts in there. This is only three runs per wicket more than Shane Warne averaged, but in a more batter-friendly era. Santner, by contrast, averages just under 40 with the ball and has only claimed 31 wickets so far.

Santner does however average 26 with the bat. Lyon, by contrast, is a genuine tail-ender, with a high score of 40 from 69 Tests and an average of 11.

In the end, you have to say that bowlers are there to bowl, not to bat, and so Lyon’s advantage here ought to be decisive in his favour.

New Zealand 9, Australia 10

Summary: New Zealand 104, Australia 102

Even if it’s agreed, on the basis of the above analysis, that the Black Caps are stronger at Tests than the Baggy Greens, the margin is extremely slim. The Black Caps might be genuinely stronger with the bat, for the first time in the history of Test cricket, but both of the Australian opening bowlers are stronger than their Kiwi counterparts and so is their spinner.

In the Australians’ favour it could be argued that good bowlers are more important than good batsmen and so the difference between Hazlewood and Southee ought to weigh heavier than the difference between Taylor and Handscomb.

If the two sides would play each other on neutral soil in a Test match now there might be a slight advantage to the Black Caps. That there might be a slight advantage is the most you can really say.

Where the Green Vote Collapsed From 2014

The Green Party has, by far, the best looking women, but that couldn’t prevent their party vote from collapsing at the 2017 General Election

The Green Party vote collapsed at the 2017 General Election compared to 2014. They got 10.7% of the total party vote in 2014, but could only manage 5.9% in 2017 (although this may rise slightly on specials). This article looks at who abandoned them over the three years from 2014.

The largest, most immediate clue is that the average Green voter was much poorer this year than they were in 2014. The correlation between median personal income and voting Green in 2017 was 0.03, compared to 0.31 in 2014. This means that, from being about as wealthy as the average ACT voter, the average Green voter is now about as wealthy as the average Kiwi.

If we look at educational achievement and voting Green, there is evidence that the Greens were completely abandoned by the university-educated crowd.

The correlation between voting Green in 2017 and having a Bachelor’s degree was -0.09, with having an Honours degree it was -0.08, with having a Master’s degree it was -0.09 and with having a doctorate it was -0.08. These figures represent a drastic reversal of the strong positive correlations between voting Green in 2014 and having a Bachelor’s degree (0.57), an Honours degree (0.75), a Master’s degree (0.64) or a doctorate (0.67).

A further strong clue comes from looking at the voting patterns of professionals. Working as a professional and voting Green in 2014 had a very strong correlation of 0.73, but by 2017 this had collapsed, to -0.10. There was a corresponding collapse in the correlations between working in professional, scientific or technical services and voting Green – from 0.63 in 2014 to -0.09 in 2017.

As referenced in a previous article, the vast majority of these voters went to The Opportunities Party in 2017.

The other interesting change was that the Greens won a lot more working class Pacific Islander support than previously.

The correlation between being Maori and voting Green was virtually the same in 2017 (-0.08) as what it had been in 2014 (-0.09). However, the correlation between being a Pacific Islander and voting Green went from a significantly negative -0.27 in 2014 to an almost uncorrelated -0.07 in 2017.

It’s possible that the Greens won a lot of sympathy from working-class brown voters in the wake of middle New Zealand ripping into Metiria Turei during her WINZ scandal, but that the Maori half of those voters preferred Labour in the final analysis.

Essentially what these numbers suggest is that the Greens hemorrhaged the support of the professional class to TOP, but won the support of a fair number of working class Pacific Islanders who probably felt sympathy with Metiria Turei during her trial and execution by the mainstream media machine.

This explains how the Greens suddenly became a much more Christian party than they used to be. When they still got the support of the mostly atheist professional class, in 2014, the correlation between being Christian and voting Green was -0.57. In 2017, after being abandoned by this professional class and welcomed by working-class Pacific Islanders, who are frequently religious, the correlation between being Christian and voting Green had actually become positive, at 0.21.

That many of these new Green voters were Pacific Islanders can also be seen from the fact that industries with a high Pacific Islander workforce component tended to switch to them. The correlation between working in the postal, transport and warehousing industry and voting Green became markedly less negative, from -0.29 in 2014 to -0.01 in 2017, and there was a complete flip in the correlation between working in manufacturing and voting Green, from -0.49 in 2014 to 0.23 in 2017.

It could be that the Greens lost much of their forward-thinking professional class to TOP but, in doing so, flattened out their bias towards the wealthy and the educated and became more of a mass socialist party that found a voice among those at the bottom.

This theory is supported by the voting patterns of age in the 2017 election. In 2014, the correlation between voting Green and being aged 20-29 was strong, at 0.56. By 2017 it had fallen to -0.05. This collapse was the most brutal suffered by the Greens from 2014, and represents their total abandonment by the most trendy and fashionable segment of society.

Tellingly, the correlation between being aged 5-14 and voting Green increased sharply, from -0.42 in 2014 to -0.08 in 2017. Obviously, children cannot vote but this tells us that young adults who were yet to have children (that aspiring professional class) were heavily represented among those who left the Greens after 2014.

Some might be interested to note that the correlation between working for a wage or salary and voting Green dropped from 0.41 in 2014 to 0.10 in 2017. This more than anything shows the extent to which the Greens of 2017 represent the working-class brown family more than they do the professional white childless urban couple.

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This article is an excerpt from the 2nd Edition of Understanding New Zealand, which Dan McGlashan and VJM Publishing will have ready for sale at the end of October 2017. This will contain statistics calculated according to the official final vote counts and will be freshly updated with data from the 2017 General Election.

Which of Labour or National Shares the Most With New Zealand First Demographically?

Is has been argued that Winston Peters ought to go with whichever side is most like New Zealand First demographically – but which is it?

There are many competing reasons for thinking that Winston Peters ought to go with one or the other of Labour or National in the post-election negotiations to form a Government. Some say that any arrangement with the Greens involved will not be stable enough, some say that the Opposition parties won a clear majority and therefore a mandate for change, some say that Winston will go with whoever he feels like going with. This article, by Understanding New Zealand author Dan McGlashan, looks at things another way.

We will follow here the argument that Peters ought to side with whichever out of Labour and National represents the people most similar to their own, and to that end this article will make a judgment using six major demographic categories, viz. age, ethnicity, education, income level, gender and homeownership rates.

Age

The correlation between voting National in 2017 and median age was a very strong 0.77, which represents the old people who own everything, and between voting Labour in 2017 and median age it was -0.66, which represents the people who are yet to become financially established and are living primarily on their wages.

The correlation between voting New Zealand First in 2014 and median age was negative, at -0.08, but by 2017 it had become significantly positive, at 0.24. This is primarily because of a large number of young, working-class Maoris shifting to Labour.

Young people drifted away from New Zealand First this election, and old people drifted in. The correlation between being aged 20-29 and voting New Zealand First was -0.38 in 2014 but had become -0.60 by 2017, whereas the correlation between being aged 65+ and voting New Zealand First was 0.10 in 2014 and had become 0.36 by 2017.

Young voters tend to not like either National or New Zealand First, whereas elderly voters like both, so that suggests a greater age overlap with the National Party. Decisively, the correlation of 0.24 between voting New Zealand First in 2017 and median age is 90 basis points away from the Labour figure, and only 53 basis points away from the National figure, so National win this one.

National 1, Labour 0

Ethnicity

The stereotype is of New Zealand First as an old, white, racist’s party, which is a very odd perception when it’s led by someone who played for the Auckland Maori rugby team. The truth is much more complex.

Voting New Zealand First in 2014 and being a Kiwi of European descent was perfectly uncorrelated, at 0.00. Between voting New Zealand First in 2014 and being Maori the correlation was a strongly positive 0.66. That means that at the time of the last election, the stereotype of New Zealand First voters was entirely false.

Some truth crept into it in 2017, however. By 2017 the correlation between being a Kiwi of European descent and voting New Zealand First had risen to 0.19, whereas the correlation between being Maori and voting New Zealand First had fallen to 0.40. This means that New Zealand First is still more of a Maori party than it is anything else, but that sentiments of white Kiwis are also well represented.

The correlation between being a Kiwi of European descent and voting National in 2017 was a strong 0.51, and for voting Labour it was correspondingly weak, at -0.56.

This means that New Zealand First is slightly more like National when it comes to whiteness, but far more like Labour when it comes to Maoriness. The correlation between being Maori and voting National in 2017 was a strongly negative -0.68, whereas the figure for voting Labour in 2017 was, at 0.57, very close to the New Zealand First figure.

New Zealand First was fairly to similar to National in that their party was mildly disfavoured by Pacific Islanders, in contrast to Labour. The correlations between being a Pacific Islander and voting National or New Zealand First in 2017 were -0.35 and -0.17 respectively, very different to the correlation between being a Pacific Islander and voting Labour, which was, at 0.57, as strong as the one with being Maori and voting Labour in 2017.

This is unlike the case of Asians, who were moderately more likely to prefer National to Labour, and who despise New Zealand First. The correlation between being Asian and voting National in 2017 was 0.10, only a smidgen stronger than what it was in 2014. Between being Asian and voting Labour in 2017 it was -0.09, but between being Asian and voting New Zealand First in 2017 it was -0.58.

All in all, if you weight each ethnicity by the number of Kiwis belonging to it, it’s more or less a draw.

National 1.5, Labour 0.5

Education

Labour shares with New Zealand First an affinity from those with few NZQA qualifications. New Zealand First was by far the most poorly educated voting bloc in 2014, and, although it’s true that they still are, the margins became smaller.

The correlations between having no NZQA qualifications and voting New Zealand First or Labour in 2017 were similar, at 0.69 and 0.45 respectively, and very different to that of having no NZQA qualifications and voting National in 2017, which was -0.32.

This isn’t really surprising because someone with no NZQA qualifications is not likely to have a large income or a number of rental houses, and so will not benefit from National’s refusal to institute a capital gains tax, and they are very likely to be living hand to mouth or close to it, which means they lost out from the rise in GST to 15%.

Some will be very surprised by the voting patterns of the highly educated, though. On the one hand, it might not be surprising that the university educated were mildly disinclined to vote Labour in 2017. The correlations with doing so were -0.32 for people with a Bachelor’s degree, -0.28 for people with an Honours degree, -0.27 for people with a Master’s degree, and -0.21 for people with a doctorate.

But neither were they particularly inclined to vote National. The correlations with voting National in 2017 were 0.15 for having a Bachelor’s degree, 0.10 for having an Honours degree, and 0.09 for having either of the two highest degrees. As it turns out, a large number of these people voted TOP, ACT or Green.

Compared to their sentiments towards Labour and National, university graduates are extremely disinclined to support New Zealand First. The correlations between voting New Zealand First in 2017 and having a university education was -0.73 in the case of having a Bachelor’s degree, -0.69 for an Honours degree, -0.74 for a Master’s degree and -0.60 for a doctorate.

This suggests that neither Labour or National have much in common with New Zealand First educationally, but Labour does share with New Zealand First a supporter base of very uneducated people. This is worth three-quarters of a point to Labour and one quarter to National.

National 1.75, Labour 1.25

Income

Leaving aside the truly broke, who know that their bread is buttered with Labour, not National, and who are indifferent to New Zealand First, voters in every income band are about equally likely to prefer Labour and New Zealand First to National.

The most wealthy Kiwis dislike New Zealand First even more than they dislike the Labour Party, which is perhaps a commentary on how the Labour Party supports the wealthy by way of supporting neoliberalism.

People with an income of $150K+ had a correlation of 0.24 with voting National in 2017, -0.43 with voting Labour in 2017 and -0.51 with voting New Zealand First in 2017, and those with an income of $100-150K had a correlation of 0.26 with voting National in 2017, -0.40 with voting Labour in 2017 and -0.54 with voting New Zealand First in 2017.

This suggests that the people who are creaming it the most look at Labour and New Zealand First with a similar level of disdain.

People in the $50-60K income band were almost perfectly indifferent to all three parties. The correlation between being in this income band and voting National in 2017 was 0.01, with voting Labour in 2017 it was -0.03 and with voting New Zealand First in 2017 it was 0.04.

This tells us that people in the middle – either the young, poor, ambitious and going up or the old, middle-class, satisfied and looking to hang on – wouldn’t really mind which way Peters went.

The people in the working-class income bands between $25 and $40K, in contrast to those in the $100K+ income bands, look at Labour and New Zealand First with a similar level of approval.

Kiwis earning $35-40K had a correlation of 0.49 with voting New Zealand First in 2017, which is much closer to the correlation between being in this income band and voting Labour in 2017 (0.38) than it is to the one between being in this income band and voting National in 2017 (-0.37).

In the income bands lower than this, people tended to support New Zealand First all the more. To the poorest New Zealanders, there is no apparent difference between National and Labour, and such a mindset seems to find a home in New Zealand First.

Ultimately, wealthy Kiwis like National and dislike Labour and New Zealand First, and poor Kiwis dislike National and like Labour and New Zealand First, so this one goes to Labour.

National 1.75, Labour 2.25

Gender

The correlation between voting National in 2017 and being male was 0.23, understandable as men earn more money than women and are therefore relatively likely to lose from the balance of taxation and welfare spending.

The correlation between voting Labour in 2017 and being female was 0.40, also understandable for the opposite reasons to why the men vote National – women earn less money and therefore benefit more from a party that raises taxes for the sake of social spending.

New Zealand First voters fell right in the middle. The correlation between voting New Zealand First in 2017 and being female was 0.10, which placed it almost exactly as far away from the National figure as from the Labour one.

In other words, New Zealand First voters were slightly more likely to be female, which fell in between National’s moderately more likely to be male and Labour’s strongly more likely to be female.

National 2.25, Labour 2.75

Homeownership

Curiously, the correlations between living in a mortgaged house and voting in 2017 for any of the three parties under discussion were basically identical. For National and Labour it was both 0.16, and for New Zealand First it was 0.14.

For living in a freehold house, things were a bit different. Predictably, people who lived in freehold houses were much more likely to vote National than Labour. The correlation between living in a freehold house and voting for National in 2017 was 0.65, and with voting for Labour in 2017 it was -0.51.

But people who voted New Zealand First fell almost right in the middle – the correlation between living in a freehold house and voting New Zealand First in 2017 was 0.22. This might be marginally closer to National but this was not the case in 2014. At that election, voting for New Zealand First had a correlation of -0.05 with living in a freehold house.

A similar pattern presented itself for those who were renters. The correlation between living in a rented house and voting for National in 2017 was a very strong -0.79, and with voting for Labour in 2017 it was also fairly strong, but in the other direction, at 0.56.

Again, New Zealand First voters fell in the middle. The correlation between living in a rented house and voting Nw Zealand First in 2017 was -0.26, which again falls right in between Labour and National. This one has to be another tie, at half a point each.

Final score: National 2.75, Labour 3.25

In the final analysis, it would be far from easy for Peters to choose between Labour and National on the basis of demographic similarities. Age would push him towards National, income towards Labour, and gender and homeownership rates would be even.

This makes for a very strong negotiating position in one sense. Unlike the Green Party – who cannot support National without committing suicide in the manner of the Maori Party and the British Liberal Democrats – New Zealand First could plausibly support either Labour or National, meaning that either side has an incentive to offer as much as it can to them.

However, Winston Peters has also been forked. He has to make one group of committed New Zealand First supporters unhappy. Either he makes the elderly European contingent unhappy by going with the Green Party, or he makes the working-class Maori contingent unhappy by going with National.

No doubt this calculus means that Peters will take his sweet time, and consider every possibility, before deciding on whose head he will place the crown.

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This article is an excerpt from the 2nd Edition of Understanding New Zealand, which Dan McGlashan and VJM Publishing will have ready for sale at the end of October 2017. This will contain statistics calculated according to the official final vote counts and will be freshly updated with data from the 2017 General Election.

Where Labour Won Their Extra Ten Percent

The Labour Party won about 10% more of the electorate in 2017 than they did in 2014 – but where did these new voters come from?

The Labour Party under Jacinda Ardern won an extra ten percent of voters compared to the previous election. In 2014, under David Cunliffe, they won a paltry 25.1% of the total vote, but in yesterday’s election they won 35.8% (specials are yet to be counted but shouldn’t affect Labour’s vote percentage much). This article, by Understanding New Zealand author Dan McGlashan, looks at where they won these new voters from.

In the broadest and crudest sense, the Labour Party won a lot of support back from middle-class, middle-aged to elderly white people who had previously voted National, and from Maoris who had previously voted New Zealand First.

The correlation between voting Labour in 2014 and being a Kiwi of European descent was -0.76, but by 2017 this correlation had weakened to -0.56. This shift from negative to positive was replicated by the correlation between being Maori and voting Labour, which was 0.42 in 2014 and which had strengthened to 0.57 by 2017.

Taken together, these statistics suggest that Labour strengthened their position among the New Zealand-born. Indeed, we can see that the correlation between being born in New Zealand and voting Labour in 2014 was not significant at 0.01, but it had grown sharply to a mildly significant 0.30 by 2017.

This was met by corresponding drops in support from demographics who have a high proportion of immigrants. The correlation between being born in the Pacific Islands and voting Labour was 0.68 in 2014, and this fell to 0.43 in 2017, and also the correlation between born in North East Asia became more strongly negative, from -0.17 in 2014 to -0.35 in 2017.

These can be explained by the fact that some Pacific Islanders have been here long enough now to become part of the middle class. Conservative religious sentiments might have pushed some to National as well. Likewise, many of the Asian immigrants who have arrived recently are the moneyed classes looking to shift capital from Asia, and are different to the younger, educated Asian immigrant that Labour tended to let in.

There was already a notable gender gap when it came to supporting one of the two major parties. The correlation between being female and voting Labour in 2014 was already 0.31, but by 2017 this had strengthened to 0.40. There was also a very large reduction in the strength of the correlation between working part time and voting Labour. This was -0.65 in 2014 and -0.40 in 2017.

The Labour vote was also a fair bit older in 2017.

The correlation between being in the 20-29 age bracket and voting Labour in 2014 was 0.32, and this had fallen to 0.13 by 2017. Many of these people would have been young students who were persuaded to vote for The Opportunities Party.

The correlations for older age groups, on the other hand, became less strongly negative. The 50-64 age bracket had a correlation of -0.68 with voting Labour in 2014, but this had fallen to -0.59 by 2017. Likewise, the 65+ age bracket had a correlation of -0.58 with voting Labour in 2014, and this fell to -0.51 by 2017.

An interesting point here is that the correlation with being born in Britain in 2014 (-0.73) remained equally as strongly negative in 2017. So this tells us that a much greater proportion of this middle-aged to elderly group that switched from National to Labour were people with family in New Zealand, probably therefore grandchildren.

It might be that these people, having observed the sharper effects of neoliberalism on their wider family, no longer felt motivated to support it in the same way they did in 2014. After all, it was mostly this same group of people who made the most cash out of National’s immigration policies.

Further clues come from the patterns of voters based on their industry. Some industries shifted sharply towards Labour in 2017. Most notable were healthcare and social assistance (which had a correlation of -0.00 with voting Labour in 2014 compared to 0.20 in 2017) and education and training (which had a correlation of -0.01 with voting Labour in 2014 compared to 0.17 in 2017). Also notable is that the occupation of community and personal services workers had a correlation of 0.20 with voting Labour in 2014, increasing to one of 0.36 in 2017.

What this might suggest is that Kiwis whose jobs put them into contact with other people were the most likely to switch from National to Labour.

It could be that the type of Kiwi who is an everyday grandparent, and who has taken on a social conscience in their semi-retirement, has switched some of their sentiments away from National because of a lack of confidence in the belief that they would leave a good New Zealand to their grandchildren.

Looking at the statistics of the income bands, we can see that Labour’s surge won it back much of the middle ground. Although Kiwis with an annual income of less than $15K continued to overwhelmingly favour Labour, there was a swing towards them in the income bands of those groups in the centre.

The correlation between having a personal income of $15-20K and voting Labour rose to 0.13 in 2017 from -0.05 in 2014, and the correlation between having a personal income of $20-25K and voting Labour rose to 0.10 in 2017 from -0.09 in 2014. Even though these income bands are the common student ones, it was not there that the gains were made – the correlation between being on the student allowance and voting Labour in 2017 was, at 0.32, weaker than it had been in 2014 (0.34).

Taking into account the big Labour gains among part-time workers, what all this suggests is that a middle-class, elderly group of voters, probably with wider community ties and a stronger historical sense of what the country used to be like, have come to feel that Kiwi values are no longer represented by the direction the country is taking.

It’s important not to overplay this – the bulk of wealthy, older, white voters still went with National – but there is a clear trend evident. The electorate is simply not as convinced that the country is going in the right direction anymore, and the centre is starting to shift towards Labour.

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This article is an excerpt from the 2nd Edition of Understanding New Zealand, which Dan McGlashan and VJM Publishing will have ready for sale at the end of October 2017. This will contain statistics calculated according to the official final vote counts and will be freshly updated with data from the 2017 General Election.

Who Voted for The Opportunities Party?

The Opportunities Party found the best reception among the young professional class that had previously supported the Greens

Gareth Morgan’s project The Opportunities Party (TOP) ultimately fell short of the Parliamentary threshold, but there is already enough data for us to know who voted for them in last night’s election. Dan McGlashan, author of Understanding New Zealand, has a look at the demographics of TOP voters in this article.

The most striking statistics are that TOP took a small number of votes off both the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party and the Maori Party, and a huge number of votes off the Greens.

The correlation between voting TOP in 2017 and voting Greens in 2014 was an extremely strong 0.81, which tells us that the vast bulk of TOP voters came from there. Most correlations between voting TOP in 2017 and voting for other parties in 2014 were not significant: 0.16 for the ALCP, 0.15 for the Maori Party, -0.13 for Labour, -0.14 for National and -0.17 for New Zealand First.

Only two significantly negative correlations existed here. These were -0.28 between voting TOP in 2017 and voting ACT in 2014, and -0.36 between voting TOP in 2017 and voting Conservative in 2014. The reason for this is probably because these are the two parties who most conspicuously lack the social conscience that TOP campaigned on.

Crudely speaking, that suggests that TOP voters came from two main groups of roughly equal size. The first were disaffected Green voters, and the second were disaffected voters from all over the rest of the political spectrum.

In what is perhaps a function of the degree of social media saturation they achieved, TOP did the best among the technophilic segment of society. The correlation between voting TOP in 2017 and working as a professional was 0.64. The correlation between working as a professional and voting Greens in 2014 was 0.73, and this had collapsed to -0.10 by 2017, so it seems that the professional class almost wholesale shifted their loyalties from the Greens to TOP.

This is further underlined by the fact that there were moderately strong positive correlations between voting TOP in 2017 and having any university degree: 0.40 for having a Bachelor’s, 0.63 for having an Honours, 0.45 for having a Master’s and 0.58 for having a doctorate. These were all much more positive for TOP than for the Greens.

It was mostly white people who supported TOP. The correlation between voting TOP in 2017 and being of European descent was 0.37, compared to 0.05 for being Maori, -0.25 for being Asian and -0.40 for being a Pacific Islander. Although Asians usually have better educations than Kiwis of European descent, professional Asians tend towards ACT and, increasingly, National.

Perhaps the most striking correlation was the 0.60 between having no religion and voting TOP in 2014. This may the natural result of appealing to people on the basis of evidence, which is another way of saying that they want people who can think for themselves, and people like this are the group that rejects religious dogma the most strenuously.

It follows from these numbers that the average TOP voter would be fairly young, and indeed they are. The correlation between median age and voting TOP in 2017 was -0.14, compared to 0.11 with voting Greens in 2017. Considering that the correlation between median age and voting Greens in 2014 was -0.17, this suggests that TOP took much of the student/university vote from the Greens.

Indeed, we can see that the correlation between voting TOP in 2017 and being on the student allowance was a moderately strong 0.45. Considering that the correlations between being on the student allowance and voting Green collapsed from 0.55 in 2014 to -0.10 in 2017, we can guess that this shift was largely due to the influence of TOP.

Related to this is the fact that the strongest correlation between voting TOP and being in any age bracket is 0.36 with being aged between 20 and 29. The next strongest were the two neighbouring brackets of 15-19 and 30-49, all of which reflects that young people tend to have more active online social lives, where TOP did most of its advertising.

There were also very strong positive correlations between voting TOP in 2017 and working in arts and recreation (0.70), public administration and safety (0.66), education and training (0.52) and professional, scientific and technical services (0.50). These are the same industries that are most likely to employ the forward-thinking, educated young professional that used to call the Greens home.

The negative correlations with voting TOP in 2017 and working in a specific industry came with those whose workers do not tend to spend a lot of time online: manufacturing (-0.38), wholesale trade (-0.35), transport, postal and warehousing (-0.19) and agriculture, forestry and fishing (-0.11).

TOP voters were also significantly more likely to be born in New Zealand. The correlation between voting TOP in 2017 and being born in New Zealand was 0.26. Following naturally from the absence of sharp gender-based roles among the young professional class, the correlation between voting TOP and being male was only -0.02.

Going against the easy trend of a young elite is the correlation between voting TOP in 2014 and being a regular smoker, which was -0.05. One would expect it to be much more strongly negative considering the educational achievements of the average TOP voter (educated people smoke significantly less), but this weak correlation can be explained by the sizable number of cannabis law reform supporters who voted TOP, something also suggested by the collapse of the ALCP vote in the presence of another party who offered full legalisation.

Voting for TOP in 2017 had the same correlation with family income as voting National in 2017 did – 0.39 – which tells us that the average TOP voter is doing quite well. A picture starts to emerge of the average TOP voter as a person of either gender in their mid 20s to late 30s, university educated, probably with foreign experience and ambition, who is very rejecting of dogma and hierarchical thought and wants to make a clean break with the past, but who is also well-to-do in measures of social and mental health.

Some might say that this was the best sort of person that New Zealand has to offer, which is something for Gareth Morgan to consider if he wants to run again in 2020.

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This article is an excerpt from the 2nd Edition of Understanding New Zealand, which Dan McGlashan and VJM Publishing will have ready for sale at the end of October 2017. This will contain statistics calculated according to the official final vote counts and will be freshly updated with data from the 2017 General Election.

Where Did the National Party Lose Their Majority?

Elections are won and lost by slim margins nowadays and subtle shifts have weakened National’s position compared to 2014

The drama may not be over, but we can eliminate one outcome even before negotiations begin: it is now clear that the National Party failed to get enough seats to govern alone or with support partners as suppliant as ACT, United Future and the Maori Party (the last two of whom were eliminated last night). If they are to govern, it must be with New Zealand First, which is a significant weakening of their position compared to the previous election. This article looks at where National lost support from 2014.

First of all, it’s apparent that the people who voted National last night were basically the same sort of person who always votes National. The correlation between voting National in 2017 and voting National in 2014 was 0.989. So the differences between the people who voted for them last night and who voted for them in 2014 are subtle.

The National Party did worse with white people this time around, although white people were still the overwhelming bulk of National voters. The correlation between being of European descent and voting National in 2017 was 0.51, down from 0.60 in 2014, balanced by an increase in the correlation between being Asian and voting National in 2017 (up to 0.17 from 0.09 in 2014) and between being a Pacific Islander and voting National in 2017 (up to -0.38 from -0.46 in 2014).

This is suggestive of a fairly large segment of both Asian and Pacific Islander people who have managed to rise above their previous economic situation. It also reflects the increase in correlation between working in wholesale trade and voting National in 2014 (0.19) compared to voting National in 2017 (0.26), because wholesale trade is itself an industry with a large proportion of Asian workers.

Because Asians and Pacific Islanders are more likely to be born overseas than Maoris and white people, this has led to a strengthening of the correlation between being born overseas and voting National, which was already moderately significant at 0.33 in 2014 but has since then increased to 0.39 in 2017.

South Islanders still support the National Party more than North Islanders, but the correlation between living on the South Island and voting National went down from 0.13 in 2014 to 0.07 in 2017. This is probably a reflection of the fact that National increased their support among recent immigrants at the expense of Kiwi-born voters, because a relatively higher proportion of recent immigrants live on the North Island.

The correlation between working in a particular industry and voting National in 2017 increased from 2014 in the case of manufacturing (up to -0.19 from -0.23), wholesale trade (up to 0.26 from 0.19) and transport, postal and warehousing (up to -0.47 from -0.51), and decreased from 2014 in the case of mining (down to -0.05 from 0.00), hospitality (down to -0.23 from -0.18), professional, scientific and technical services (down to 0.15 from 0.18), public administration and safety (down to -0.30 from -0.26), education and training (down to -0.31 from -0.27), healthcare and social assistance (down to -0.23 from -0.18) and recreation and arts services (down to -0.22 from -0.17).

This is perhaps interesting because it suggests that people are more likely to go from voting National to voting Labour if they have a social job, compared to being even more likely to vote National if they have a relatively unsocial job.

Related to this is that social occupations tended to leak support for National compared to unsocial ones. Although managers continued to strongly support National in 2017, as the correlation between working as a manager and voting National in 2017 was 0.52, this was weaker than with voting National in 2014, which was 0.56. A similar drop was seen in community and personal services workers, whose correlation with voting National in 2017 dropped to -0.58 from -0.53 in 2014.

Taken together, these correlations show that people whose jobs bring them into contact with the most people are the most likely to feel that the country needs a change in direction, perhaps suggesting that they have observed an increase in human misery to intolerable levels.

Some won’t be surprised to note that the correlation between living in a mortgaged house and voting National in 2017 increased to 0.05 from 0.01 in 2014 – perhaps an indication that people in this group are afraid of the market crashing and leaving them with negative equity. Tellingly, this group became much less willing to vote New Zealand First – the correlation between living in a mortgaged house and voting New Zealand First in 2017 dropped to 0.06 from 0.12 in 2014.

Taken together, those numbers suggest that a lot of people want the game of hot potato being played with house prices and immigrants to continue for a while yet.

Where the election seemed to be lost for National, at least in terms of their hopes of governing alone or with ACT only, is when the real elite class, despite still mostly supporting National, did so less overwhelmingly than in 2014.

The correlations between being in any of the four highest income brackets and voting National all weakened from 2014 to 2017. These were those earning $60-70K (down to 0.21 from 0.24), those earning $70-100K (down to 0.32 from 0.36), those earning $100-150K (down to 0.31 from 0.34) and those earning $150K+ (down to 0.31 from 0.35).

They also weakened noticeably among holders of postgraduate degrees. Voters with an Honours degree had a correlation of 0.22 with voting National in 2014 but only one of 0.17 with voting National in 2017. Holders of Master’s degrees (down from 0.20 in 2014 to 0.17 in 2017) and doctorates (down from 0.20 to 2014 to 0.14 in 2017) followed the same pattern.

The cohort of National voters is also younger this year compared to 2014. The correlation between median age and voting National decreased to 0.77 in 2017 from 0.81 in 2014.

What all this tells us is that there were three major trends in play last night.

The first one is that Labour won votes off the Greens, New Zealand First and National. Labour won a huge number of Maori voters from New Zealand First and the Greens – the correlation between being Maori and voting Labour in 2014 was only 0.42, but in 2017 it was 0.58.

The second is that National won a lot of votes from people who were educated and young and Green-voting in 2014, but who grew up to be wealthy, middle-class and incentivised to vote with their wealth interests in 2017. The Greens dominated this segment of the population in 2014 and lost most of them by 2017, chiefly to TOP and to National.

The third is that National lost a lot of votes from the sort of person who is the real power elite of the country. Although the rich, the employers, the owners of freehold land, Anglicans and educated people all still preferred National to Labour, they were markedly less keen in 2017 than 2014. Many of these people switched to TOP, which is ironic because they now won’t be represented at all (at least not directly).

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This article is an excerpt from the 2nd Edition of Understanding New Zealand, which Dan McGlashan and VJM Publishing will have ready for sale at the end of October 2017. This will contain statistics calculated according to the official final vote counts and will be freshly updated with data from the 2017 General Election.

The Limits of Inclusiveness

Gay people are categorically unwelcome here

With news that Queensland Islamic authorities are urging their followers to vote “No” to same sex marriage, the levels of cognitive dissonance among many on the left are starting to become painful. It’s now undeniable that a grand coalition of everyone who isn’t a rich, straight white male is an untenable concept. This essay examines why.

For the past couple of decades, leftist groups across the world have looked for solidarity on the basis of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” This logic has inspired the “tolerant left” to make a show of solidarity towards any and all groups that had a grudge against the people running the world – commonly agreed to be rich, straight, white men.

This has led to the left adopting the idea of inclusiveness as a moral virtue. Any and all alliances with people who hated the Establishment had to be entertained. It didn’t matter if they were women, gay, black, Muslim or anything else, just as long as they wanted to overturn the status quo.

However, this grand political dream to remake the world in one’s image fell apart, as such schemes inevitably do, because it ran into inexorable silver laws of psychology.

It can be stated as a psychological rule that, the larger and more diverse any given group, the weaker the bonds of solidarity that hold it together will be, and the smaller and more pure any given group, the stronger those bonds of solidarity will be.

This is obviously true if we look at the extremes. At one far extreme we could consider the nuclear family to be the smallest group with the strongest solidarity. Parents are often ready to kill if that is necessary to protect their offspring, and “brother” is used as a gesture of common bonds in all kinds of ideological movements, so it’s easy to see how this small, extremely exclusive group has the highest solidarity.

The reason why you can’t just let a random person into your family and have them considered one of you is because this would increase the degree of diversity of the group to the point where such extremely strong bonds of solidarity are no longer tenable because the necessary level of trust isn’t there.

The obvious reason for this is because the already existing members of the family have next to nothing in common with a random person, so there’s no special reason to trust them.

At the the other far extreme we could consider the human species to be the largest group with the weakest solidarity. Indeed, we can see here that people generally don’t care at all if they hear that someone on the other side of the world died, unless that person had something in common with them, such as a native language or racial origin.

Further evidence for this can be observed if we place the nation states along a line with a familial level of solidarity (highly discriminating and strong) at one end and a universal level of solidarity (undiscriminating and weak) at the other.

Here it can be seen that the nations that cast the net of citizenship over an extremely broad set of different people (USA, Brazil, South Africa, Russia) have the lowest levels of solidarity, measured by the unwillingness of the wealthy to contribute to the communal welfare in the form of taxes, and by the willingness with which the poor use lethal violence on other citizens.

It can also be seen that the nations that cast this net more exclusively, such as only over a small, homogenous ethnic group (Scandinavia, Japan, Germany, South Korea, Canada), have the highest levels of solidarity, measured by an egalitarian culture and low levels of interpersonal violence.

Fitting this trend, countries with moderate levels of diversity (Argentina, Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Chile) are in the middle.

There’s no escaping this silver law: the more inclusive the group, the weaker the bonds of solidarity, and the less inclusive the group, the stronger the bonds of solidarity.

The idea of trying to include as many people in the wider group as possible is essentially a feminine idea, and this is why it is generally associated with the left. It’s a form of horizontalisation that seeks to remove all distinctions from people in order to homogenise us into an easily malleable ball of putty.

However, we can now see the limitations of it. The motivation behind this idea is ostensibly to avoid making people feel bad on account of being excluded, but the flipside of it is that no-one ever feels good on account of being included.

This has led to a situation where Muslim immigrants, considered by the trend-setters among the left to be allies on account of a mutual Christian enemy, will vote against the rights of other leftist allies if those allies are homosexuals. It is a tremendous irony that these religious fundamentalists, allowed into the country because of a desire to display the virtue of tolerance, do not share the belief in the value of that tolerance, and so are now acting to maintain intolerance towards groups they consider outsiders.

With the recent wave of immigration having made our societies much more diverse, we have correspondingly lost much of the solidarity that used to provide us with a sense of society and community. The net has been cast so wide, thanks to a fanatical ideology that believes it can erase all human uniqueness, that it cannot keep hold of what it covers.

In other words, the inevitable consequence of trying to treat everyone like your brother is that your brother can no longer count on a brotherly level of exclusive solidarity from you, and will have to settle for much less. People who believe that inclusiveness is necessarily a virtue might therefore want to be careful what they wish for.

Should We Lower Women’s Pensions to Bridge The “Gender Death Gap”?

The average Kiwi female enjoys 26% more life post-retirement than the average Kiwi male – this is dubbed the “gender death gap”

The national consciousness is currently in a state of hysteria over an Auckland electrician’s decision to offer a 12% discount to female customers on account of New Zealand’s “gender wage gap”. For those of you not in the matrix, the gender wage gap refers to the fact that the average weekly income of a woman is lower than the average weekly income of a man.

Although Dan McGlashan proved in Understanding New Zealand that the wage gap is entirely due to the fact that men work full-time jobs more often and the women work part-time jobs more often, and that there is no difference in wages for those men and women who are part of the professional class, the perception persists that women are deliberately ripped off in remuneration for their labour by some nefarious conspiracy of people with Y chromosomes.

Some, like the Auckland electrician mentioned above, seem to believe that this perception of a malevolent bias against women justifies giving women discounts when it comes to trade, in an effort to redress the imbalance in wages.

The real injustice when it comes to differential treatment of the genders is that women live much longer than men do. Females born today are expected to live 3.7 years longer than men do, an injustice many times more cruel than a piddling difference in wages.

The average female can expect to live 83.2 years from birth, whereas the average male can not even count on getting to 80. His average life expectancy is only 79.5.

Another way of looking at it is that the average female gets another 18.2 years of life after hitting retirement age at 65, compared to the paltry 14.5 years of the average male.

Measured in percentages, this means that the average female gets to enjoy 26% more life in their golden years than the average male. This is a disparity that weighs much heavier than that of mere money. Here we are talking about life itself.

We can call this disparity the “gender death gap”. Knowing about this gap in life expectancy, and knowing that there are tireless calls for restitution from working age men on account of the gender wage gap, one question immediately arises: should we call for restitution from pension age women?

It could be argued that, if tradesmen like the electrician mentioned earlier give discounts to working age women on account of the gender wage gap, they also should give discounts to pension age men. After all, the clock is ticking for those men in a way that does not compare to the experience of the female.

Perhaps the fairest solution would be to immediately cut female pensions by 26%, which would equalise the amount of post-retirement money that the different genders got out of the Government.

How Well Did The Economy Do Under John Key?

John Key: made New Zealand wealthier compared to other nations, but not by as much as Helen Clark did

This article starts with a very straightforward proposition: that the prosperity of an economy and of the people in that economy is primarily a question of GDP per capita. Given that, we can measure the increase in New Zealand prosperity (if any) under John Key’s tenure by looking at the change in GDP per capita during that time.

The figures that this article uses are taken from the International Monetary Database. Here we calculate GDP on a price purchasing parity basis because we are ultimately trying to measure the change in standard of living.

In 2009, the GDP per capita of New Zealand was USD30,572. This placed us 37th in the world, just behind Italy, Japan and Spain, and just ahead of Greece, South Korea and Israel.

In 2016, the GDP per capita of New Zealand was USD37,294. This placed us 35th in the world, just behind South Korea (who leapfrogged us), Japan and Finland, and just ahead of Italy and Spain (who we leapfrogged) and Israel.

This makes for an increase of 22% over 7 years, which is about 2.9% per year if calculated on a compounding basis.

2.9% over a seven-year period can rightly be considered a decent effort of national economic stewardship from Mr. Key. That level of growth is far from remarkable, but it was enough to move us past a Southern European level of wealth and close to a Far East Asian level.

By way of comparison, the GDP per capita of New Zealand in 2000 was USD21,807, which makes for a 40% increase over the nine years of Helen Clark and Michael Cullen. This works out to just over 3.7% per annum.

Measured that way, the performance of the John Key economy was markedly poorer than the Clark/Cullen economy. However, one has to take into account that Key inherited a global financial crisis, and so it’s worthwhile comparing New Zealand to other nations instead of looking at absolute growth.

In the year 2000, New Zealand was considerably less wealthy than Italy (which had a GDP per capita of USD28,602), Japan (USD26,850) and Spain (USD24,053). It was also less wealthy than Australia (USD28,801), Britain (USD26,425) and America (USD36,433).

By 2009, the GDP per capita of New Zealand had increased from 76% of that of Italy to 89%; from 81% of that of Japan to 92%; and from 91% of that of Spain to 96%. Against other Anglo nations, the GDP per capita of New Zealand had decreased from 76% of that of Australia to 75%; had increased from 83% to 87% of that of Britain; and increased from 60% to 65% of that of America.

This means that under the Fifth Labour Government, New Zealand improved its position strongly against comparable countries, with the exception of the booming Australia.

By 2016, the GDP per capita of New Zealand had increased from 89% to 101% of that of Italy; had decreased from 92% to 90% of that of Japan; and had increased from 96% to 102% of that of Spain. Against other Anglo nations, the GDP per capita of New Zealand had increased from 75% of that of Australia back up to 76%; had increased from 87% to 88% of that of Britain; and remained at 65% of that of America.

This tells us that under the Fifth National Government, New Zealand improved its position against the Southern European countries but stayed the same compared to other Anglo ones.

Ultimately, therefore, we can see that New Zealand’s economic standing in the world is marginally better, in relative terms, after the Key Administration. Apart from the decline of Italy, New Zealand didn’t really improve in relative wealth. This contrasts sharply with the years under Helen Clark, during which time New Zealand improved strongly.

The Ten Strongest Positive Correlations in New Zealand Society

In 1847 most Kiwis smoked all the time, but by 2017 the correlation between being Maori and being a regular tobacco smoker had become 0.922

Dan McGlashan’s Understanding New Zealand is currently undergoing final preparations for publication and release. This means that the most comprehensive demographic survey of New Zealand ever conducted is about to be available to Kiwi readers in paperback form!

As a sample of what is in the full version of Understanding New Zealand, this article looks at the ten strongest positive correlations in this study, out of all 9,870 of them.

10. Working in professional, scientific and technical services and having an income between $100 and $150K had a correlation of 0.918. This is not very surprising at all, because it is well known that working in any of those occupations requires a very high level of knowledge and skill and that is usually well compensated.

9. Working in financial and insurance services and working in professional, scientific and technical services had a correlation of 0.920. Obviously a person can’t work in both, but the reason for this strong correlation is that both industries are almost exclusively confined to the central city electorates of Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington.

8. Being Maori and being a regular tobacco smoker had a correlation of 0.922. This is an astonishingly strong correlation if one considers that there is no known racial inclination to smoke tobacco.

The reason for it is probably because people generally need to be doing it quite hard to smoke tobacco, because its medicinal effects are outweighed by the physical damage unless a person is under severe emotional distress.

For these reasons, because the majority of the people who are doing it the hardest are Maoris, it’s also the case the majority of Kiwis who are currently regular tobacco smokers are Maoris.

7. Being a Hindu and being a Muslim had a correlation of 0.929. Like point 9 of this list, the two categories are mutually exclusive, and therefore the correlation represents the high physical proximity that the two groups live in.

The explanation for it is that both Hindus and Muslims are part of the most recent waves of immigrants, and so the vast majority of both groups live in the same neighbourhoods, in particular poor ones in Auckland.

6. The correlation between voting ACT in 2014 and being born in North East Asia was 0.937. This might seem like a very strange statistic until one considers that much of a person’s voting preference is a function of two factors – their degree of solidarity with other Kiwis and how much that solidarity will personally cost them.

Anyone not born in New Zealand will necessarily have the least amount of solidarity with other Kiwis on account of having the least in common in terms of heritage and culture, and those born in North East Asia are usually earning an income at or above the Kiwi average – and so pay more taxes.

Thus it can be seen that the ACT Party, in that it most unashamedly considers money more valuable than people, attracts the bulk of these voters.

5. The correlation between being Congregational or Reformed and being born in the Pacific Islands was 0.943. This is because this group reflects a religious tradition that is extremely popular in all of the Pacific Islands apart from New Zealand.

4. The correlation between being Buddhist and being Asian was 0.950. Some might find this surprising because they know a lot of non-Asian Kiwis who are “really into Buddhism”.

Few of these people, however, would go as far as identifying with Buddhism when they fill out the census forms – unlike Asians born in Thailand and in other countries where Buddhism is mainstream, of whom there are tens of thousands in New Zealand.

2=. The second strongest positive correlation was between voting National in 2014 and voting to change the flag – this was 0.954. As Section 56 of Understanding New Zealand discusses in detail, the entire flag referendum project was essentially a National Party vehicle.

2=. Equal with this was the correlation between being a Pacific Islander and being born in the Pacific Islands. A correlation of 0.954 here tells us that, not only are the bulk of Pacific Islanders in New Zealand not born here, but that they tend to choose to live in geographical areas full of other Pacific Islanders (in particular South Auckland).

Although many Kiwis of Pacific Island descent are born in New Zealand, many of these have moved out of Auckland and therefore away from the bulk of those born in the Pacific Islands. These two factors explain this extremely strong correlation.

1. The strongest positive correlation in all of New Zealand was that between voters in the first flag referendum and voters in the second flag referendum – this was a whopping 0.985.

This combines the fact that the entire project was a National Party vehicle with the fact that those who like to vote tend to take every opportunity they can to do so.

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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.