Demographer Dan McGlashan Explains This Week’s Horizon Research Cannabis Poll

My name is Dan McGlashan, and I am the author of Understanding New Zealand, a demographic study of the Kiwi people. In this article, I will explain the results of the recent cannabis law reform poll by Horizon Research, which broke down support for the upcoming cannabis referendum by party affiliation and age.

60% of New Zealand adults would vote to legalise the recreational use of cannabis on the upcoming referendum, according to the poll, with only 24% against. 16% had no opinion. Broken down by party support, 84% of Green voters would vote yes, with 63% of Labour, 56% of New Zealand First, 49% of ACT and 33% of National voters doing likewise.

The Green, Labour and National votes don’t need much explaining. The Greens have always been the strongest supporters of cannabis, apart from the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party. Likewise, National has always opposed any effort to reform the laws. Many readers were surprised, however, to learn that support among New Zealand First voters is stronger than support among ACT voters.

In Understanding New Zealand, I showed which demographics were the strongest supporters of cannabis law reform, by correlating those demographics with support for the ALCP.

The average cannabis law reform supporter is – on average – young, poor, Maori, uneducated and with an especially high chance of suffering from a debilitating physical or mental illness. These demographics are all disenfranchised ones, which is why there is a strong association between being a cannabis user and having a difficult life. They are also the ones most heavily impacted by cannabis prohibition.

Some were surprised to see that support for cannabis law reform is very high among New Zealand First voters. 56% of New Zealand First voters would vote yes in the referendum, almost as many as Labour voters. New Zealand First voters are often stereotyped as old, bitter, out of touch racists, which makes it hard to explain their heavy support for cannabis law reform.

In reality, there is a moderately strong correlation between being a New Zealand First supporter and being Maori: one of 0.38. This also helps to explain why there was a moderately strong correlation of 0.40 between voting for New Zealand First in 2017 and voting ALCP in 2017. Many will also be surprised to read that there is no significant correlation between median age and voting for New Zealand First.

In other words, the New Zealand First demographic is much younger and browner than the lazy stereotype would have it. This can be established simply from observing the extremely high levels of support gained by New Zealand First in the Maori electorates. These young, brown and poor people are reliably fans of cannabis use, despite the general social conservatism of the New Zealand First movement.

Many others were surprised to see that only 49% of ACT supporters expected to vote yes in the referendum. ACT markets itself as the party of liberty from government overreach, and one might think that this would be reflected in support for cannabis law reform, but they have traditionally been very weak on the issue, perhaps even cowardly.

The simple truth is that ACT voters are not from the demographics that care about cannabis law reform. The correlation between voting ACT in 2017 and being Asian was 0.46, but the correlation between voting ACT in 2017 and being Maori was -0.51, which suggests that very few actual cannabis smokers are ACT supporters.

Moreover, ACT voters are wealthy: the correlation between voting ACT in 2017 and personal wealth was 0.61, making their supporters their wealthiest of all. ACT voters tend to come from two major groups: rich, old, white people with all the money, and young professional Asians who don’t want to pay taxes. Neither group has any major interest in recreational cannabis.

The cannabis referendum is very likely to end up with a yes vote, because most of the opponents of cannabis law reform are old and dying off. Conservative National voters are being replaced by less conservative ACT voters, and young people mostly support it anyway. It’s enough to compare Chloe Swarbrick with the decrepit Bob McCoskrie to guess that the repeal of cannabis prohibition is inevitable.

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Understanding New Zealand, by Dan McGlashan and published by VJM Publishing, is the comprehensive guide to the demographics and voting patterns of the New Zealand people. It is available on TradeMe (for Kiwis) and on Amazon (for international readers).

The Case For Cannabis: Drugs Are Not Categorically Bad

“Drugs are bad, mmmmmkay?” goes the South Park joke. Mr. Garrison’s catchphrase satirises the near-total absence of thought that the Establishment has put into their anti-cannabis rhetoric. The idea is that drugs are bad, and cannabis is a drug, therefore cannabis is bad, and therefore cannabis prohibition is justified. As this article will examine, it’s not that simple.

The popular conception of what the word “Drugs” means is highly variable. Some people consider any foreign substance taken into the body to be drugs. Other people say that anything not prescribed by a doctor is drugs; once it is prescribed it magically becomes medicine. Still others contend that drugs are anything that are bad, and anything not drugs is good.

The kind of person who makes the argument that drugs are categorically bad is usually the sort of person who is obsessed with purity. Inevitably they are a wowser of some kind, and they fit into two categories: the first some kind of physical health freak, the second some kind of religious freak. Their belief is that cannabis disrupts physical and spiritual health, respectively.

The physical truth about many drugs, like most substances that one could put into the body, is that healthy and unhealthy use is a primarily a matter of dosage. The most obvious example is salt, where too much or too little will leave a person in poor health. Some might counter here that a lack of cannabis will not make someone sick, but that’s not true in many medicinal cases.

Another example is amphetamines. There are many amphetamines that are basically the same substance as what one finds in ADHD medicines – in other words. The major difference is that the crackhead takes it in much, much heavier doses than what a doctor would recommend.

A small amount of cannabis will not hurt a person, unless they are extremely sensitive to smoke or similar. In fact, a small amount might greatly help a person, especially if they suffer from one of the hundreds of different conditions that cannabis is known to treat. By the same token, smoking a hundred joints a day will be bad for you almost without a doubt.

In any case, the fundamental point is that this argument is misdirected. If a particular dose of a particular substance is bad, then don’t use it. It’s a simple as that!

It’s possible that a blanket admonition against drugs along the lines of “drugs are bad” is a good idea if you are a parent speaking to a ten-year old child. Someone without the mental sophistication to make good decisions might need it. But it’s no basis for a national law that governs young and old alike.

Adult citizens are not like children, and need to be spoken to honestly. The positive and negative effects of all drugs need to be spoken about honestly, and the citizens need to be informed with reference to reality and science. If this does not happen, then the risk arises that those citizens lose trust in doctors and Government officials, and then movements like the anti-vaxx one start to crop up.

Cannabis should not be illegal because “drugs are categorically bad”. This is a child’s logic, and it should not be informing the national cannabis policy. We need to move on from these simplistic thought patterns, because they do not describe the reality of the situation, and absent that people cannot make correct decisions.

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This article is an excerpt from The Case For Cannabis Law Reform, compiled by Vince McLeod and due for release by VJM Publishing in the summer of 2018/19.

The Case For Cannabis: Prohibition is a Waste of Money

People often talk about cannabis prohibition as if it was just a law and that was that. The reality is that enforcing cannabis prohibition not only costs a large amount of money, but it also prevents a large amount of money from being made. As this article will argue, cannabis prohibition is a colossal waste of money, so much so that it’s worth repealing it on that basis alone.

The cost of cannabis prohibition is close to half a billion dollars a year. This is comprised of two groups of costs: the direct cost of enforcing prohibition, and the opportunity cost of prohibition.

The direct cost of enforcing prohibition chiefly includes prison costs, court costs and Police costs.

The British Liberal Democrats found that over a million hours of British Police time were wasted every year on the enforcement of cannabis prohibition. This came at the cost of £31,000,000 annually. Assuming similar rates of Police enforcement intensity, we can adjust these figures to account for the smaller New Zealand population. This works out to about 80,000 hours of New Zealand Police time (about 50 full-time staff) at the annual cost of about $6,000,000.

A study by Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron estimated that the American federal government spends USD8,700,000,000 annually on enforcing cannabis prohibition. Adjusted for population size and currency, this suggests that something in the range of $200,000,000 is spent annually in New Zealand to enforce cannabis prohibition (this includes court and prison costs as well as Police costs).

Potentially much greater than this is the opportunity cost of prohibition.

The Miron report linked above suggested that America loses a similar amount from taxation opportunities to what it loses from having to pay to enforce prohibition. Converted to the scale of New Zealand, that suggests that around $200,000,000 in potential tax revenue from legal cannabis sales are instead funnelled into the pockets of criminal gangs.

Other studies suggest similar figures. According to Shamubeel Equab, who wrote a report commissioned by the New Zealand Drug Foundation, up to $240,000,000 could be claimed in tax annually from a regulated drug market.

This is supported by other calculations. The state of Colorado, with a similar population to New Zealand, sells $2,000,000,000 worth of cannabis a year. If a similar amount was sold in New Zealand, that would mean that $300,000,000 of GST would be collected on it.

So, as mentioned earlier, the combined cost of all of the aspects of cannabis prohibition is about half a billion dollars per year.

This is a lot of money for something that arguably has no benefit at all. Even if one charitably conceded that a majority of people wanted cannabis prohibition (they don’t), or that cannabis prohibition prevented a significant amount of cannabis getting into the hands of young people (it doesn’t), $400,000,000 is a great deal of money, especially when considered on an annual basis. It’s about $150 a year for every taxpayer.

Had the Fifth National Government legalised cannabis at the start of their term in 2008, New Zealand would have already saved at least $4,000,000,000. The asset sales campaign run by the National Party raised barely more than this, and that was at the draconian cost of losing ownership of these assets forever.

It sounds incredible, but it’s hard to deny the maths. If the Fifth National Government had legalised cannabis instead of selling state assets, they would have raised almost the same amount of money – without losing ownership of the assets. They sold the country out from under us for effectively nothing.

Worst of all is that New Zealand is borrowing money from overseas sources to pay for the deficits that we’re running in order to finance this prohibition. So not only did we not save $4,000,000,000, but we’re paying interest on those billions – just to imprison our own young people for growing medicinal plants.

Cannabis prohibition should be repealed because it simply isn’t worth the money. The total losses to the New Zealand economy from cannabis prohibition cannot be justified – even if it was charitably conceded that there was some benefit to prohibition. It would be much better to make cannabis legal, which would save hundreds of millions currently wasted on enforcement, as well as gathering hundreds of millions in tax revenue.

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This article is an excerpt from The Case For Cannabis Law Reform, compiled by Vince McLeod and due for release by VJM Publishing in the summer of 2018/19.

Why the New Zealand Working Class is Destined to Turn to Fascism

With the signing of the UN Compact on Migration, the Sixth Labour Government all but assured that the New Zealand working class will turn to fascism. They won’t do so straight away, and many will claim that they won’t do so at all, but the snowball has been set in motion. This essay will explain why.

From the turn of the century in Europe, a new pattern started to emerge: the resurgence of anti-globalist sentiments. Globalism had dominated the world for the previous half-century. Nationalism was comprehensively defeated in World War II, and the next fifty years were characterised by anti-protectionist trade agreements that liberalised commerce and trade all over the world.

Western workers were promised that this liberalisation would lead to better living conditions, as their wages would be able to buy goods and services more cheaply and efficiently. The reality turned out to be the opposite. Western workers turned out to be the product, and trade liberalisation simply meant that international companies could play workers in different countries off against each other, bidding their wages down to the floor.

Eventually the globalist propaganda stopped being effective, as people started to see through it. They realised that they had been cheated – not only were they not richer, but they now had to live with the effects of the mass importation of cheap labour into their communities. This meant increased violence, increased property crimes and increased sex crimes, all of which the elite were safely inured from by virtue of living in wealthy neighbourhoods.

The European working class were brutalised by globalism. Their wages went down, their neighbourhoods became less safe, and on top of it all, they were regularly humiliated by the same political class who claimed to represent them. Leftists habitually dismissed working-class concerns as “bigoted” or “motivated by racism”, as if it were unreasonable to complain about the destruction of one’s community or of the possibility of raising a family on one wage.

This sentiment has found increasing expression in fascism. At the last Swedish General Election, the Sweden Democrats won 17.6% of the vote. The globalist parties refuse to co-operate with them, and as a consequence the country has been ungovernable for the last 100 days. In Germany, opinion polls are suggesting that the Alternative Fuer Deutschland now has as much support as the major social democratic party, which suggests that the government of Europe’s largest economy risks falling into a similar state of paralysis.

New Zealand is merely a few decades behind on this same miserable path of social decay.

You’d have to be insane to vote National as a working-class person. Not only do they want to cut all of your social assistance, but they also want to import the same hordes of cheap labour that has destroyed Europe over the last 40 years.

But you’d also have to be insane to vote for Labour. The New Zealand Labour Party has long ago replaced all of its working-class sentiments with bourgeois ones. As a result, they’re right behind the UN’s Global Compact on Migration. This follows in the same vein as the recent increase in the refugee quota, and is commensurate with Jacinda Ardern’s ambition to become a highly-ranked UN official.

As a working-class person, an increase in the refugee quota, and an liberalisation of the ability of cheap labour to move here, have a number of terrible consequences.

The first and most obvious is the destruction of the economic position of the working class. The economic position of those who sell their labour for a living is entirely dependent on the supply of that labour. Basic economics tells us that if the supply of cheap labour goes up, the wages go down. So the more people who are let into the country to compete with the working class, the lower the standard of living becomes.

Even worse is the destruction of the social position of the working class. Instead of being seen as economically disadvantaged individuals who might need extra social assistance, the working class (especially the white working class) are now seen as enjoying privilege that refugees don’t have. They now find themselves facing verbal abuse for defending their own class interests by opposing globalisation.

These consequences come on top of the changes brought by the last 30 years of neoliberalism, which has changed the position of the working class from an essential part of the nation to a disposable commodity to be bargained down to the cheapest possible price. The net result of it all is a deep sense of humiliation, rage and betrayal.

If the working class feels like the left has abandoned them (perhaps because the left has become captured by bourgeois interests), they will find an alternative from outside the right-left liberal democratic dichotomy. There is ample historical precedent for this – indeed, it was a deep sense of anger among the working class that led to Mussolini and Hitler taking power in their respective countries.

The Maori working class will be the most receptive to the fascist message. This is apparent from their existing high level of support for the (supposedly) nationalist New Zealand First party. This particular group has already lost their social position from colonisation, and are not at all keen to lose it again to what is effectively more colonisation. They will be among the strongest supporters of fascism in New Zealand.

If the left react to this intensifying sense of abandonment by lecturing the working class about how they are racist, and how they are selfish, and how they need to sacrifice more to do their share of helping out, then a fascist resurgence is all but guaranteed. As Emmanuel Macron recently proved in France, nothing will amplify the fury of the working class more than to inflict moral lecturing on top of their economic and social suffering.

The New Zealand working class will turn to fascism because the two mainstream parties are co-operating – and will continue to co-operate – to take measures that will destroy the economic and social position of that class. The inability of the working class to find expression within the liberal democratic system will lead to them destroying it by supporting a fascist alternative as soon as one arises. The New Zealand Establishment will not heed the lessons of history.

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If you enjoyed reading this essay, you can get a compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2017 from Amazon for Kindle or Amazon for CreateSpace (for international readers), or TradeMe (for Kiwis).

The Case For Four Specialist Seamers in the Black Caps

A recent article argued that this is the best ever Black Caps Test side. Even so, there’s scope for the Black Caps to get even better. There is plenty of talent on the sideline as well, and finding a way to find some of it in the run-on XI might make the team stronger – as this article will examine.

The Black Caps have never had a batting foursome as good as Williamson-Taylor-Nicholls-Watling. The first two stand alongside Martin Crowe as the best the country has ever produced. Watling has been world-class as a wicketkeeper-bat and Nicholls has already broken into the top 10 Test batting rankings. Moreover, our two openers in Latham and Raval are as good as any since John Wright and Bruce Edgar.

The Black Caps aren’t lacking the ability to build big innings, and they already have Nicholls and Watling as batsmen capable enough to rebuild after a top order failure. There is therefore no need for an insurance batsman at 7, especially if this means that a good chunk of overs have to be bowled by a non-specialist.

With batting that good, we can afford to lose a bit of extra batting at 7 for the sake of strengthening the bowling. In other words, we could consider not playing an all-rounder in that role, but rather a bowling all-rounder like Mitchell Santner or Matt Henry.

The Black Caps could field a team of:

1. Raval
2. Latham
3. Williamson
4. Taylor
5. Nicholls
6. Watling
7. Santner
8. Henry
9. Southee
10. Wagner
11. Boult

This would allow us to field an outstanding pace battery without having a weak batting unit. Probably we would open with Boult and Henry in such a situation, with Wagner playing his usual role as third seamer. Southee’s bowling would be much more dangerous than the alternatives for fourth seamer.

Such a composition would make for an exceptionally pure Black Caps side. There would be five specialist batsmen, one wicketkeeper, and five specialist bowlers.

A critic might argue that choosing such a side will increase the chances of being bowled out cheaply. The counter argument to that is to say that a pace battery of Boult, Henry, Wagner and Southee would wreck opposition teams so regularly that we would get away with a tiny extra chance of a batting collapse if it meant more overs from a truly dangerous bowler.

In any case, all four of them can bat a bit. Henry (19), Southee (17), Boult (14) and Wagner (12) all average in the double figures. A tail with Mitchell Santner at 7, who averages 25 and has the promise to average 30, would be just as good batting-wise as one with an all-rounder at 7, Santner at 8 and one fewer specialist seamer. Bowling-wise, four seamers would be superpowered.

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Dan McGlashan is the man with his finger on the statistical pulse of New Zealand. His magnum opus, Understanding New Zealand, is the complete demographic analysis of the Kiwi people.

The Case For Cannabis: The Criminal Justice System is Not A Treatment Pathway

Of all the terrible arguments made in favour of cannabis prohibition – and there are many – one of the worst is the argument that contends that cannabis prohibition is a good thing because some of the people that get involved in the criminal justice system are incentivised to stop using cannabis. This article will examine the flaws in this logic.

One of the saddest peasant attitudes remaining in our society is the idea that certain people just need a “good kick up the arse” to encourage them to function properly again. The idea seems to be that a “short, sharp shock” of physical abuse can be beneficial to drive dullness from a person’s mind. It’s an abusive attitude that is a remnant of a less enlightened time and, fortunately for the rest of us, it’s dying off.

This attitude finds expression in the idea that getting arrested on account of a cannabis offence could be a good thing, if that led to a person suddenly appreciating the consequences of cannabis use and changing their habits for the better.

There is an element of logic to this line of reasoning. After all, it’s common for young petty criminals to become afraid the first time they encounter some genuine heat from the Police, or the first time they do a custodial sentence and realise that prison isn’t a great deal of fun after all. This fear can, indeed, change behaviour.

But what this approach leaves out is two things.

The first is that many people simply don’t want to stop smoking cannabis, any more than they want to stop playing rugby or buying magazines with Harry and Meghan on the cover. You could instruct the Police to arrest people for playing rugby in the park, on the grounds that their behaviour was recklessly dangerous, but it wouldn’t make it the right thing to do or a good idea. Neither would it stop people from doing it.

Psychologically speaking, it’s hard to declare that you know how another adult should live their lives, and so much better than them, that you can fairly justify setting the Police on them if they don’t do what you say they should do. In another time and place, that degree of coercion would be recognised as slavery, and it’s no wonder that people naturally disobey the cannabis laws today.

So this means that deploying the Police to force people into getting medical treatment for using cannabis (as if that even made sense) will not be effective in the long term. People feel like they have the right to use cannabis, and they will continue to feel as if they have the right, because it’s natural to think it ridiculous that a medicinal plant could be illegal.

It’s possible that Police involvement in a person’s life might reduce their level of cannabis use, but so what? Punching someone in the face for eating a Big Mac might also inspire them to make healthier lifestyle decisions, but that doesn’t mean that the overall benefit of the action outweighs the overall harm.

The second is that there are cases of legitimate medicinal need, and encounters with the criminal justice system are not helpful in cases of medicinal need. Police officers are not qualified doctors and neither can they be. Having them as the first line of dealing with cannabis users makes as much sense as making the Army responsible for it.

The argument refuted in this article is usually made by people who are entirely unaware of the medicinal properties of cannabis. When they become aware of the medicinal properties of cannabis they tend to stop making it. Of course, if a substance really is medicinal then it ought to be something supplied by doctors and pharmacies; the Police should not be needed at any stage.

There may, indeed, be cases where there is a cannabis user who needs psychiatric intervention. After all, there are many instances in which certain strains of cannabis will not be helpful. A person who is acutely psychotic from sleep deprivation doesn’t need a honking high-THC strain that will wire them even tighter.

But even in cases like this, it’s not Police intervention that would be helpful, unless it comes as part of the Mental Health Act or similar and not as part of enforcing the law against the “crime” of cannabis. A person who has mentally disintegrated so far that they need psychiatric intervention is already in a kind of hell. The last thing they need is to encounter law enforcement.

The argument that cannabis users can be persuaded to get treatment for “cannabis abuse” by getting arrested, and then threatened with further attacks from the Justice system, is neither fair for rational. It would be better for cannabis to be made legal and destigmatised, so that people who did need treatment would be more likely to get it. Police involvement is unnecessary.

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This article is an excerpt from The Case For Cannabis Law Reform, compiled by Vince McLeod and due for release by VJM Publishing in the summer of 2018/19.

Is This New Zealand’s Best Ever Test Cricket Side?

If the Black Caps win the upcoming Test series against Sri Lanka 2-0 – and they should – they will go to No. 2 on the ICC team rankings. The rankings go back to 2003 and New Zealand has never been higher than 3rd before. This article asks the obvious question: is this the best Test cricket side that New Zealand has ever produced?

It seems sure that this is the best Black Caps Test side since Sir Richard Hadlee was in his prime. So this article will compare the current first choice Test team (in New Zealand conditions and assuming no injuries) to the team that beat Australia 2-1 in Australia way back in 1985. The way we will do this is by comparing all 11 players as if it was a boxing scorecard.

The prime difficulty with making a comparison is that the careers of the 1985 team are completed, and so their legends are established. Some of the 2018 team are yet to play many games. This means that their total level of greatness has to be extrapolated out from what they have achieved thus far. By the same token, the 1985 players are rated according to how good they were at the time, not according to how good they may have been earlier or later.

First opener: John Wright vs. Tom Latham

The dour John Wright was the first New Zealand batsman to 4,000 runs. At the time of the 1985 Tour of Australia he had played 41 Test matches and averaged 30.91. Wright had 2,000 runs after 39 matches, whereas Latham has already scored 2,503 runs in that time, so it seems like Latham will go past him.

Tom Latham has already scored six centuries in only 39 matches, at an average of 36.27. This is similar to Wright’s career average, despite that Latham has still been learning the game. Wright was 32 years old by the time he scored his sixth Test ton, whereas Latham did so by age 26. This suggests that Latham will have a better career than Wright.

1985 Black Caps 9; 2018 Black Caps 10

Second opener: Bruce Edgar vs. Jeet Raval

Bruce Edgar had a first-class average of 40, but was in and out of the Black Caps over the course of his 39-Test career. He averaged 30.59, with three hundreds, and a highest-ever batting ranking of 8th, achieved in August 1983. He was ranked around 30th at the time of the 1985 Tour to Australia, making him a solid backup to John Wright.

Jeet Raval is new on the scene, having received a chance at opener only after several others had been tried, but has been dependable in his limited opportunities. He is yet to score a century in his 14 Tests, but has six half-centuries already, at an average of 33.86. His first-class average is slightly lower than Edgar’s. A world ranking of 8th seems unlikely, so this one will have to go to Edgar.

1985 Black Caps 10; 2018 Black Caps 9

First drop: John F Reid vs. Kane Williamson

John Fulton Reid was an excellent player whose finest moment was a not out 158 in Auckland in 1985, leading the Black Caps to an innings victory against a Pakistani side containing Wasim Akram and Abdul Qadir. He averaged 46 from 19 Tests, and was ranked 10th at the time of the tour of Australia, having been as high as 3rd earlier that year.

Captain Kane Williamson is currently ranked 2nd in the ICC Test batting rankings, on 913 points, behind only Virat Kohli. It is the first time any Kiwi batsman has passed 900 on that scale, and reflects the fact that Williamson averages 65 over the past five years. At age 28, and with Williamson still refining his game, it seems like the best is still to come.

1985 Black Caps 9; 2018 Black Caps 10

No. 4: Martin Crowe vs. Ross Taylor

Martin Crowe was widely regarded as New Zealand’s greatest ever batsman, until this was challenged in recent years by not only Williamson but also Taylor. Like Reid, Crowe achieved a highest world ranking of 3rd, but Crowe was only ranked 32nd in the world at the time of the 1985 Tour to Australia – although he was good, he was yet to peak for another two years.

Ross Taylor also achieved a highest world ranking of 3rd, at least so far. He is currently ranked 16th and established as the Black Caps’ senior pro, holding several records, one of which is the highest Test score by a visiting batsman to Australia: 290. Much like their careers as a whole, comparing Crowe and Taylor at these particular points in time is too close to call.

1985 Black Caps 10; 2018 Black Caps 10

No. 5: Jeff Crowe vs. Henry Nicholls

Jeff Crowe was ranked 31st with the bat at the time of the 1985 tour, one higher than his younger brother Martin. Unlike Martin, this was as high as Jeff ever got. Henry Nicholls has climbed up to No. 9 in the world Test batting rankings, averaging 50+ over the past two calendar years, which means that he’s currently ranked higher than Ross Taylor.

Jeff Crowe managed three centuries and six half-centuries from his 39 Tests; Nicholls has three centuries and seven half-centuries from 21 Tests. At best it could be said that Crowe was a serviceable No. 5, whereas Nicholls shows every sign of becoming a genuine force there. This one handily goes to Nicholls.

1985 Black Caps 9; 2018 Black Caps 10

All-rounder: Jeremy Coney vs. Colin de Grandhomme

The stylish Jeremy Coney was a redoubtable batsman and a tidy medium pacer. He was ranked 13th in the world with the bat at the time of the 1985 Tour of Australia, which made him the second-highest ranked batsman in the side after Reid. He only scored three hundreds in his 52 Tests but he also scored 16 fifties, averaging 37.57.

Colin de Grandhomme is more of a 21st-century player, with incisive bowling and big hitting. It’s hard to see him averaging 37 with the bat, but he does average 35 at first-class level. Both players took 29 Test wickets, although de Grandhomme got his in a quarter of the matches. In the end, Coney’s batting is better than de Grandhomme’s batting by more than de Grandhome’s bowling is better than Coney’s bowling.

1985 Black Caps 10; 2018 Black Caps 9

Wicketkeeper: Ian Smith vs. BJ Watling

Ian Smith was a solid performer for the Black Caps for a long time. He played some great innings, most notably a 173 off 136 against India, but his Test average was only 25.56. At the time of the 1985 Tour of Australia, Smith was ranked 48th in the world with the bat, playing in a time when wicketkeepers were not expected to bat as much as they are now.

BJ Watling, however, has been world-class with both bat and gloves. He is currently ranked 22nd in the world with the bat, averaging 38.11 from 57 Tests. Although their glovework has been of a similar high standard, Watling is able to play proper innings: he has six hundreds to Smith’s two, and 16 fifties to Smith’s six, which puts him clearly ahead.

1985 Black Caps 9; 2018 Black Caps 10

First seamer: Sir Richard Hadlee vs. Trent Boult

Sir Richard Hadlee is comfortably ensconced as the greatest cricketer New Zealand has ever produced. Not only would he be the first name chosen for an All-Time Black Caps XI for his 431 wickets at 22.29, but he would be the only real chance of a Kiwi getting included in an All-Time World XI. He was ranked 2nd only behind Malcolm Marshall at the time of the Australian Tour, and would be around there for the remainder of his career.

Trent Boult is the current leader of the Black Caps attack, and has taken 222 wickets from 57 matches at an average of 28.14. Hadlee averaged 23.83 after 57 matches, which means that the gap between him and Boult was not tremendous. Boult’s highest Test bowling ranking is No. 2, which suggests that he could yet achieve greater things.

1985 Black Caps 10; 2018 Black Caps 9

Second seamer: Ewen Chatfield vs. Tim Southee

Ewen Chatfield was the dependable foil to Hadlee for about a decade. Ranked 13th in the world at the time of the Australia Tour, he had a career high of 4th in the world a few years later. Tim Southee is currently ranked 15th in the world with the ball, and has been ranked as high as 5th.

Those are similar rankings, and their career numbers are very similar as well. Chatfield took his career wickets at 32.17, Southee has taken his (so far) at 30.70. Curiously, Jimmy Anderson had an almost identical average to Southee after 61 Tests (Anderson was at 30.65), so Southee could become great yet, but if he gets to that level or not is anyone’s guess.

1985 Black Caps 10; 2018 Black Caps 10

Third seamer: Lance Cairns vs. Neil Wagner

Lance Cairns took 130 wickets at an average of 32.92, mostly at first change. He was ranked 10th in the world at the time of the 1985 tour, which was about as high as he ever got. A first-class average of 26.52 makes one suspect that he could have been a little better than his Test average suggests.

Neil Wagner has only played 38 Tests, but he has fashioned a world-class record at third seamer. He has taken 152 wickets at 28.49, which is a fair bit lower than what Cairns was striking at. He also averages 24.79 since the start of 2015, which was when he really nailed down a spot in the side. His highest ranking of 6th was achieved earlier this year, so he might soon do even better.

1985 Black Caps 9; 2018 Black Caps 10

Spinner: John Bracewell vs. Mitchell Santner

John Bracewell was an offspin bowler with the mentality of a fast bowler. He wasn’t greatly effective, taking 102 wickets in his Test career at an average of 35.81, however he did have over 500 first-class wickets at an average of under 27. He was ranked 40th in the world at the time of the Australia tour.

Left-arm orthodox Mitchell Santner is unproven at Test level, but has already shown a lot of promise. He has a slightly better strike rate with the ball than Bracewell, but a slightly higher average at this stage (17 Tests). Although they are similar with the ball, Santner is a step above Bracewell with the bat, and is likely still to improve sharply in all facets.

1985 Black Caps 9; 2018 Black Caps 10

Final verdict: 1985 Black Caps 104; 2018 Black Caps 107

The 2018 Black Caps are easily better when it comes to batting from 1-7. In Williamson, Taylor, Nicholls and Watling they have four players at the peak of their powers; the best batsman on the 1985 team was a Martin Crowe still a couple of years away from his best. Although the 1985 team also had John Wright and Jeremy Coney, they were significantly weaker with the bat overall.

It’s true that the 2018 team doesn’t have a bowler of the same class as the 1985 Sir Richard Hadlee, but their supporting bowlers are better than the team of 1985. Hadlee was a one-man show, as exhibited by the fact that he took 15 of the 20 Australian wickets to fall in the Brisbane Test of the 1985 tour. Boult, Southee and Wagner, by contrast, hunt as a pack, with able support from de Grandhomme.

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Dan McGlashan is the man with his finger on the statistical pulse of New Zealand. His magnum opus, Understanding New Zealand, is the complete demographic analysis of the Kiwi people.

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If you enjoyed reading this essay, you can get a compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2017 from Amazon for Kindle or Amazon for CreateSpace (for international readers), or TradeMe (for Kiwis).

Could Fuel Tax Riots Come to New Zealand?

Europe is caught in its heaviest protests since 1968. Ostensibly as a result of fuel taxes, they have become so large that in France some are concerned they may lead to a nationalist revolution, and French President Emmanuel Macron is rumoured to have given orders to send in tanks to quell any unrest this coming weekend. However, there’s more to the story than this – and the reality suggests that these protests might come to New Zealand.

France is a heavily taxed nation – government spending is 56.6% of GDP, compared to 37.4% in America and 48% in New Zealand. This has long been accepted by the French people, because of their high levels of social trust and solidarity, but the whole system is dependent on the will of the average Frenchman to pay into it. The Frenchmen paying taxes were happy to do so because they believed that this tax money was going to help people like them, but this is no longer the case.

Fuel taxes are something that particularly affect working-class white French people, to the benefit of the middle class and the underclass who live in the big cities. People who live in big cities can take public transport or taxis, and in any case don’t have to drive far. Working-class people who have to commute to work often have to drive from small villages or towns to a city somewhere else, sometimes twice every day, and so become heavily affected by any rise in the fuel price.

A large proportion of the New Zealand population still lives rurally or semi-rurally. There is a commonly-cited statistic that suggests that New Zealand is one of the most urbanised countries in the world, but what this statistic ignores is that our cities are exceptionally sprawling by world standards. So even people who live in cities have to drive a lot as part of everyday life.

Dan McGlashan showed in Understanding New Zealand that this rural population is much more likely to own cars and to drive to work than to walk or to take public transport. Buses are not an option for the majority of New Zealand’s rural dwellers. There’s more to it than just this, however. These fuel taxes would come as another burden to what is an already heavily discontented working-class rural population, who already feel that the cities are benefitting from the current order at their expense.

If Jacinda Ardern and the Labour Party go through with their plans to raise the refugee quota at the same time as raising petrol taxes for the sake of fighting global climate change (or whatever the excuse is), they run the risk of fostering the same kind of discontent that has now erupted in Europe. Although they will deny the connection, the perception will rise among the rural working class that they are being taxed through fuel to pay for the importation of refugees that they didn’t want.

For a working-class white person who already has to see middle-class brown people promoted ahead of him on account of their skin colour, or winning scholarships that he cannot apply for on account of his skin colour, things like fuel taxes are an extra kick in the guts. Despite the attempts of the mainstream media to spin the French protesters as insane anarchists, hooligans and neo-Nazis, the fact is that they belong to the same group of normal, everyday people who have lost out from neoliberalism all over the West.

We already saw some small protests in New Zealand two months ago when the petrol price crept up to $2.40 per litre. As the article linked to in the previous sentence suggests, the Government plans to raise the excise tax on petrol by another 7c over the next two years, primarily to pay for infrastructure projects in Auckland.

This means that the neoliberal Government of Jacinda Ardern is potentially making the same mistakes as the neoliberal Government of Emmanuel Macron.

The Sixth Labour Government certainly seems like it’s willing to raise petrol taxes on the New Zealand rural poor to pay for things like doubling the refugee quota, and for Auckland infrastructure projects that most New Zealanders will see no benefit from. Should this cause the petrol price to get up to $2.40 again – or even higher – then the stage is set for fuel price riots to come to New Zealand as well.

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If you enjoyed reading this essay, you can get a compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2017 from Amazon for Kindle or Amazon for CreateSpace (for international readers), or TradeMe (for Kiwis).

One Year of Rule by the Left Wing of the Capitalist Party: A Retrospective

The Labour faction of the Capitalist Party came to power at the end of 2017, taking over from the National faction of the Capitalist Party after that year’s general election. Even though everyone knew that the Capitalist Party would still be in charge, many believed that the ascendancy of the Labour faction would mean a new deal for the beleaguered Kiwi population. As this essay will recount, they proceeded to piss in the faces of the New Zealand working class in at least four major ways.

Despite a promise to not sign the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement, the Labour Government did so to much fanfare on the 9th March. Thousands of people marched against the TPPA in 2016, in New Zealand’s largest protests in recent years. Then Labour Leader Andrew Little was quoted at the time as saying that “Labour was opposed to the TPPA because compromises to New Zealand’s sovereignty were not justified by the ‘meagre economic gains’.”

Most people in the New Zealand working class oppose such trade agreements because neoliberalism makes it easier for capital to bid down their wages. The Capitalist Party, on the other hand, represents major moneyed interests, and they welcome such trade agreements because they shift the power equation even further away from labour and even further towards capital. Therefore, the Labour wing of the Capitalist Party is happy to see the wages of New Zealand workers fall, and they happily pissed in the faces of Kiwi workers by signing the TPPA.

Related to this betrayal was a second face-pissing, when the Labour Government raised the refugee quota to 1,500. It’s well known that these people won’t be dumped in neighbourhoods where the rich live. The sex, violence and property crimes that they bring in their wake will not affect the wealthy, who live far away from the ghettos. It is the working-class suburbs that will be forced to absorb these human crime waves, not the rich suburbs in which Labour and Green Party MPs live.

Those wealthy will, however, benefit from the downward pressure that refugees have on wages. The greater the national pool of cheap labour, the lower wages will fall, therefore the more profitable local capitalist enterprises become. If the Labour Party represented the working class, they would not have raised the refugee quota – this would have had the effect of restricting the inflow of cheap labour and thereby creating upward pressure on wages.

The lying about legalising medicinal cannabis comprises the third major display of disrespect on the part of the Labour Party towards the New Zealand working class over the past year. Poor people in New Zealand are desperate for a substance that can help ease the pain of living in this failed society, but which doesn’t have the terrible side-effects of alcohol or opiates. The Labour Party have refused to budge so much as an inch on this issue, acceding only to allowing people who are dying an extra defence in court against a cannabis possession charge.

Although a clear majority of New Zealanders want some kind of cannabis law reform, and although outlets like VJM Publishing have been arguing in favour of cannabis law reform for years (most seriously from 2012, with the publication of our Cannabis Activist’s Handbook), the Labour Party had eight MPs that voted against Chloe Swarbrick’s medicinal cannabis bill, which would have allowed sick Kiwis to grow a medicine at home.

A fourth face-pissing, delivered today, was Labour’s plan to ban vaping. Predictably, the person pushing it – Manukau East MP Jenny Salesa – was one of the eight backstabbing scum in the Labour caucus who voted against Swarbrick’s bill. It seems that authoritarianism against working class practices are entirely acceptable for the Labour Party.

The reason for the vaping ban is not because of health reasons – vaping has led to many people, particularly working-class people, quitting tobacco smoking. The reason for it is that there is no national vape juice producers’ or vape manufacturers’ association to bribe the Capitalist Party, therefore the interests of the tobacco manufacturers come foremost. Unless you are in control of a large amount of money, the New Zealand Capitalist Party will not pass laws in your favour, and will be more than happy to pass laws to your disfavour if a large moneyed interest tells them to.

All this amounts to a lot of disrespect shown by the Labour Party towards New Zealand’s working class. The way that one can tell that the Labour Party is nothing more than the major left-wing faction of the Capitalist Party is because they have not acted in the favour of the New Zealand working class over their one year in charge. New Zealand’s capitalist class, on the other hand, have benefit greatly from the TPPA, from the cheap labour of “refugees”, and from retarding cannabis law reform and prohibiting vaping for the sake of of their investments in alcohol producers and pharmaceutical companies.

In summary, the past year of rule by the left wing of the Capitalist Party has gone much like the preceding nine years of rule by the right wing of the Capitalist Party. The Labour Party has, in the vast bulk of instances, taken measures that benefit wealthy capitalist interests at the expense of the New Zealand population, in particular the local working class.

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If you enjoyed reading this essay, you can get a compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2017 from Amazon for Kindle or Amazon for CreateSpace (for international readers), or TradeMe (for Kiwis).

Bob McCoskrie Is An Absolute Fuckwit

Giving Bob McCoskrie a national platform to rant about “dope” and “Big Marijuana” is like giving your granddad a national platform to rant about Islanders after he’s had a few sherries on Boxing Day. Stuff did it anyway. This column will have a look at McCoskrie’s screed of fuckwittery, with the intent of responding to his shamelessly dishonest rhetoric with some facts.

One can guess from the title of the article (“Legalised dope is a licence for Big Marijuana to exploit young people”) that it is going to be crudely dismissive of the wishes of the New Zealand cannabis community. To have an article with the word “dope” in the headline is like publishing an anti-immigration opinion piece that had the word “niggers” in the headline. He has blatantly chosen the most inflammatory possible term to describe cannabis, one that associates cannabis use with brain damage.

In this piece, McCoskrie recounts his observations from a recent trip to Colorado, one that he undertook to “see first-hand the effects of legalising marijuana”.

His second paragraph mentions “a money-making industry of lobbyists and special interest groups putting profits over evidence-based policy protecting public health and safety, and ready to flout and challenge any regulations,” with the implication that this describes the industrial cannabis lobby, but this description more aptly fits the alcohol and timber industry lobbyists who agitated to make cannabis illegal in the first place.

McCoskrie gets hysterical about the high THC content of the cannabis products he spies in the Colorado “dope shops”, but the facts are that a high THC product actually makes the product safer. Like the fuckwit he is, McCoskrie is thinking about THC as if it was alcohol, so that a high-THC cannabis edible is somehow functionally equivalent to an absinthe or similar.

No-one has ever died of a THC overdose, so comparing it to high-proof alcohol is nonsense. Unlike alcohol, which kills people in New Zealand every weekend, cannabis doesn’t kill anyone. The most dangerous thing about cannabis is probably the long-term effects of regularly smoking it – and these are completely avoided by the edibles and vaporises that McCoskrie rants about. In other words, what he is railing against are the signs of people using cannabis more safely and responsibly to minimise harm.

Some of the paragraphs in this article are “Old man yells at cloud” level, and the reader can’t help but to wonder if McCoskrie has some kind of senile dementia that has caused him to see things that aren’t there. He decries people in Colorado “popping a handful of Gummi Bears containing 10 times the legal limit of THC per serving,” but there is no legal limit of THC per serving, any more than there is a legal limit of caffeine per serving. The sentence is simply nonsense.

McCoskrie is so hysterical that at some points in his screed he becomes completely detached from reality. The worst example is when he cites the existence of cannabis suppositories as proof that cannabis producers are deliberately targeting their product at the young. In fact, the vast majority of people who use cannabis suppositories are elderly ones who cannot use other route of administration because of the complications of old age. Perhaps McCoskrie should have tried a few while he was over there?

It’s noteworthy that at no point in his travels through Colorado did McCoskrie see anything untoward happen on account of cannabis legalisation. He talks about the terrible panoply of cannabis-related products as if it were Weimar Republic pimps selling children on a Berlin street, but can’t recall seeing any notable level of crime in Colorado or any homelessness in the streets, or any sign of social decay. This is striking, considering that the state legalised cannabis four years ago, which is easily enough time for anything of that nature to have occurred. McCoskrie is just a wowser.

No anti-cannabis rant would be complete without employing the slippery slope fallacy, and McCoskrie duly gives us the line “they will want legalisation not just of this drug but all drugs – cocaine, heroin, P”. By this he somehow draws a connection between people who want access to medicinal cannabis and people who go on methamphetamine benders, when the two people could hardly be more different.

It’s exactly this kind of rhetoric conflating people who need medicinal cannabis with reckless criminals that fuels the War on Drugs, which means that McCoskrie must share some blame for the suffering caused by cannabis prohibition. It’s because of people like him that people like Helen Kelly have to suffer needlessly as they die.

Predictably, McCoskrie gets savaged in the comments below the article. What he is writing might have been considered mainstream conservatism 40 years ago, but now it goes down about as well as other conservative ideas from 40 years ago, like whipping up hysteria about white people and Maoris sleeping with each other. It’s apparent from reading this article that McCoskrie doesn’t have the faintest idea what he’s talking about, and is panicking for no good reason.

The only thing this piece can be compared to is a sermon by a Third World religious fundamentalist, who has travelled to the West and seen dancing and intermingling between unmarried youths and shit their pants. McCoskrie is a religious fundamentalist – his Family First lobby group want to recriminalise prostitution and further restrict alcohol. Essentially, they are theocrats, and McCoskrie wants to prohibit cannabis for the same reason that the rulers of places like Iran and Saudi Arabia do.

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If you enjoyed reading this essay, you can get a compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2017 from Amazon for Kindle or Amazon for CreateSpace (for international readers), or TradeMe (for Kiwis).