Understanding New Zealand: Men and Women

The statistics we have examined so far have gone down into some fine details, but a correlation matrix is also useful for giving us information about high-level categories, such as men and women. What can the elementary gender division tell us about Kiwis?

Some points that stand out are ones that were already fairly well known. Men are slightly wealthier than women – the correlation between being a man and net personal income was 0.23. Also, to continue the general theme of minor social advantage, the correlation between being a man and voting in the 2014 General Election was 0.29.

Perhaps less well known is that men really like the National Party. The correlation between voting National in 2014 and being male was 0.35, which was significant. This was mirrored on the centre-left: the correlation between voting Labour in 2014 and being female was 0.31.

Neither of those statistics is surprising if the reader is aware of the many parallels between masculinity and conservatism, in particular the desire for the maintenance of a relatively high degree of order.

Likewise, there are clear parallels between femininity and social democracy, in particular the desire for a relatively egalitarian distribution of wealth and social status.

There are small, not significant correlations between voting Green and being male (0.10) and between voting New Zealand First and being female (0.21).

Of some interest, women smoke slightly more than men – being female has a correlation of 0.19 with being a regular smoker, although this is not significant. Possibly this reflects the value of nicotine as a treatment for certain anxiety and depression-related mental disorders, which women tend to suffer from at a greater rate than men.

Looking at gender differences in personal income and choice of employment, several interesting patterns reveal themselves.

One is that women are significantly more likely to be on any of the four benefits this study looks at. Although the correlation between being female and being on the pension was not significant (0.03), the others were much greater. Between being female and being on the student allowance the correlation was 0.21, with being on the unemployment benefit it was 0.39, and with being on the invalid’s benefit it was 0.26.

Being male was not significantly correlated with net personal income – the strength of this was 0.23, which was on the boundary of significance. However, looking at the next level down reveals a few patterns.

The personal income band most strongly correlated with being male was the $50-60K band. Here there was a correlation of 0.22. The female equivalent was the $5-10K band. There was a correlation of 0.21 between being female and being in this band.

Despite that males are generally slightly wealthier than females, this is not reflected in either of the $100K+ income bands. In both of these bands there is no correlation with gender.

This suggests a complicated pattern, but the general trend is that the higher the social status of any given line of work, the closer to gender parity the pay will be. This could reflect a lot of things.

Perhaps the most notable clue to answering this question comes from the fact that more men are managers – the correlation between being male and working as a manager was 0.49 – but more women are professionals.

This is an interesting division because it suggests that there is a difference in how men and women get to the highly compensated jobs.

Men are more likely to rise up to the top jobs from a lower starting point, a path not as easy for women because of the demands of childrearing. However, women are more likely to get a good education, valuable skills and therefore a high starting point, from where further advancement is not necessary or desired, or as heavily impacted by taking time off for children (many family GPs are women who fall into this category).

This might explain why there is no gender gap for the top income brackets, but explaining why there is a gender gap for the lower income brackets is a different matter.

Most of the reason is that men, whether by will or fortune, tend to choose industries that pay better than the ones women choose. Being male is significantly correlated with working in agriculture, construction, accommodation, and rental, hiring and real estate services, and these jobs tend to pay better than jobs in education and training and healthcare and social assistance, which correlate significantly with being female.

Perhaps the statistic that all gender warriors will find the least objectionable is that the people in the truly plum industries of professional, scientific and technical services, information media and telecommunications and financial and insurance services have the weakest correlation with being either male or female.

Generally there were no strong correlations between men and women in New Zealand, which one might expect from a generally free and liberal post-industrial secular democracy. The strongest correlation of all in this study was the completely unsurprising one between being female and being a single parent, which was 0.52.

*

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

Understanding New Zealand: Wealth and Poverty II

If we wish to go deeper than simply calculating correlations between median personal income and various demographic categories, we can take a look at the next level down of the Great Fractal, and examine correlations between income bands and specific industries.

It’s apparent from the numbers that winning working class loyalty is a battle between Labour and New Zealand First.

Labour does the best out of people who have next to nothing at all. The correlation between voting Labour in 2014 and having a net personal income of $5-10K was 0.45, and with having lost money in the year or having nil income the correlation was 0.54.

New Zealand First, by contrast, tended to dominate the lower working class vote. The correlation between voting New Zealand First in 2014 and income was above 0.70 for all of the income bands between $10K and $30K. For both Labour and New Zealand First, however, the correlation between voting for them in 2014 and any income band above $70K was -0.40 or even more strongly negative.

Although Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party voters were generally doing worse than average, they were closer to the middle than either Labour or New Zealand First voters. The correlation between voting for them in 2014 and being in the $50-60K income bracket was a significant 0.32, and even for the $150K+ bracket it was -0.31, significantly lower than average but barely so.

The National Party was predictably more oriented towards the middle classes, especially the wealthier ones, although this correlation was not as strong as one might have expected. For all of the income brackets above $70K the correlation with voting National in 2014 was between 0.34 and 0.36, which was significant but not particularly.

National did better than Labour in the $50-60K bracket, which is possibly where the winning of the election was more than anywhere else. After all, this bracket contains the sort of voters who don’t particularly win or lose from higher or lower taxes and so they tend to vote on apparent competence over ideology.

Voting for the National Party in 2014 had a negative correlation with every income band underneath $50K, although the correlations were not significant for the $15-25K income brackets, which were dominated by New Zealand First.

This creates an interesting contrast with the most established other right of centre party, ACT. The ACT party has no extra pull among the young in the $15-25K bracket – all of the income brackets between $10-40K have a correlation of -0.50 or stronger with voting ACT in 2014.

In the $15-25K income bracket there is little difference in the strength of correlation with either the National or the Labour parties. This is probably the result of one or more contradictory trends. Probably there are large numbers of people in this income bracket who, despite being poor, can count on being reasonably wealthy in a few decades, and so vote National in anticipation.

This phenomenon, of a small number of young people voting National because they expect to be wealthy in the future, is evidence of a burgeoning class system in New Zealand.

Winning the loyalty of the middle classes is essentially a battle between National and the Greens.

Voting Green in 2014 has a negative correlation with all income brackets between $10-50K, which will surprise anyone who might have thought the Greens stood for the poor and for those struggling. They have a significant positive correlation with the income band that is full of young students – between voting Green in 2014 and being in the $5-10K bracket is 0.30.

By contrast, voting Green in 2014 has a positive correlation with all income brackets above $50K, which confirms the picture that they represent the liberal urban elite rather than either the rural elite (National), the urban poor (Labour) or the rural poor (New Zealand First).

Perhaps the most interesting division of the middle class is its divide into managers and professionals.

The managers tend to be more right wing – voting National in 2014 has a correlation of 0.56 with being a manager, whereas for being a professional it is a not significant 0.10. The professionals tend to be more liberal – voting Greens in 2014 has a correlation of 0.73 with being a professional, whereas for being a manager it is a not significant 0.08.

*

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

‘I Like Smoking Weed’ Is a Perfectly Legitimate Argument

There is a faulty premise in the national consciousness – the premise that the pro-cannabis lobby has the responsibility to make the case for legalising cannabis before prohibition can be repealed. All kinds of politicians, from Andrew Little to Peter Dunne, have trotted out this lazy deception.

This line of rhetoric is false because it relies on a more fundamental premise, which is that the manner cannabis was made illegal was legitimate in the first place.

The usual apologia is that the politicians are our lawful representatives and so the laws they pass are done so with our consent, and so the politicians have the consent of the governed, and so all the laws they have passed are legitimate, including the ones pertaining to cannabis prohibition.

Basic logic that even a child can understand will tell you that, in the case of cannabis, the lack of a victim makes the law against it categorically different to other laws.

Punching people in the face is bad because it causes suffering.

Stealing someone’s food is bad because it will make them suffer from hunger.

Killing people is bad because it causes suffering to the remaining friends and family (not to mention the person while they’re being killed).

Murdering, shooting, stabbing, raping, kidnapping, defrauding, robbing, stealing, assaulting and battering – all of these are crimes because they have victims.

Outside of the delusional fantasy role-playing world that judges, lawyers and politicians have invented, crimes are distinguished from non-crimes on the basis that crimes cause suffering, not on the basis that a bunch of paedophiles in Wellington have decreed them thus.

This might sound really obvious to any Buddhist readers out there, but to many Kiwis, conditioned from childhood to obey authority without ever questioning its legitimacy, it appears revelatory.

It also puts the moral responsibility back on us to consider if the laws being passed by our supposed representatives actually have the effect of reducing suffering in New Zealand or not. The responsibility is not on our political representatives to make moral decisions on our behalf, because politicians are men of silver and philosophy is the preserve of everyone.

One argument is that cannabis, even if not directly harmful, may be indirectly harmful because of long-term health considerations of the user that the general taxpayer has to pay to treat. This argument contends that we ought to wait for science to prove that cannabis is relatively harmless.

The truth is this – we don’t need to prove that science says cannabis should be legal because science was never used to make it illegal. We also don’t need to prove that cannabis is harmless because harmless is not the standard things have to reach in order to be legal.

It’s legal to consume any of alcohol, caffeine, sugar, fat or tobacco to whatever extent one likes and to have the taxpayer cover any medical costs that may arise.

It’s legal to fill the tank of your car up with petrol, a vital and ever-diminishing resource, and to drive around and around in circles for no reason.

It’s legal to join a rugby team and to hit another person in a tackle with the intent of injuring them and to break a bone oneself and to go on ACC.

It’s legal to go into a forest with a rifle and shoot dead a whole bunch of large mammals.

All of these activities arguably cause more harm than smoking cannabis does, even under the broadest interpretation of health issues.

The standard to make cannabis illegal – which has never been met and which never will be met – is that there is more suffering under a regime of cannabis freedom than under a regime of cannabis prohibition.

Until this standard is met, no further reason for using cannabis need be given than ‘I like smoking weed.’

Bangladesh in New Zealand Test Series 2017, First Test Preview

Facing Trent Boult on a green wicket in Wellington promises to be daunting challenge for the Bangladeshi top order

Bangladesh are currently paying $24 on BetFair to win the First Test of their 2017 tour to New Zealand, beginning tomorrow in Wellington. New Zealand are so heavily favoured that if Bangladesh can manage so much as a draw it pays $6.60.

On the surface of things, there are few areas in which Bangladesh have an advantage over New Zealand.

The Black Caps top order is looking as composed as it ever has done. Jeet Raval may have only played two Tests but across those two he averages 49.33, with two fifties and a not out. By the standards of Black Caps openers since Richardson, that’s as promising as anyone apart from Tom Latham.

Latham, Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor comprise the rest of the top order, and one would have to go back as far as John Wright, Andrew Jones and Martin Crowe to find an equivalent solidity.

In the middle order things are not as certain. If Henry Nicholls cannot impress at No. 5 soon, he might have to return to domestic cricket for a spell while one of the next generation has a turn at trying to fill the Brendon McCullum-sized hole.

Colin de Grandhomme has, like Raval, only played two Tests but he has also looked solid, averaging 32, and also has a strong first-class record. Even though Watling at 7 is a solid pick, the overall feel of the Black Caps middle order is far from settled.

The pitch at the Basin Reserve is expected to be unusually green, which means that Trent Boult and Tim Southee can be expected to pose a considerable danger. In an odd quirk, Boult (12) and Southee (13) are, with Neil Wagner at 11th, grouped together on the ICC Test bowling rankings.

The Bangladeshi batting will depend heavily on certain key players, and if the Black Caps can get a couple of them early they will back themselves to roll the visitors, on a green wicket, for very little.

Although the spine of the Bangladeshi side is much stronger than it has been in recent years, few would expect it to stand strong against the Black Caps’ heavy artillery on a green track.

Opener Tamim Iqbal is the highest ranked of the Bangladeshi bastmen, at 22nd. An opener averaging 40 is an impressive asset for a side of Bangladesh’s reputation, and perhaps the foremost way that the Tigers could claim to have an advantage over their opposite numbers.

With a probable 4-5-6-7 of Mahmudullah, Shakib al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim and Sabbir Rahman, the Bangladeshi middle order is a fairly battle-hardened unit. All four of these batsmen are, if not intimidating, skilled enough to make the Black Caps pay for any errors.

The major disadvantage that the Tigers will have is a bowling attack highly unsuited to the conditions they will face in Wellington. Shakib al Hasan may be ranked 2nd of all the allrounders in Tests, but his gentle left-arm spin will pose far less of a threat at the Basin Reserve than in Bangladesh.

If Bangladesh are to win, it will almost certainly take a handful of good spells from Taskin Ahmed, who with an ODI strike rate of 29 is growing into a strike weapon in the shorter form of the game, or from his expected new ball partner Subashis Roy, about who very little is known apart from a respectable first class average of 28.

The best hope for an interesting match might be for Bangladesh to win the toss and put the Black Caps in on a green wicket tomorrow morning, then to ambush the top order with their debutant new ball pair and get into the soft middle order before lunch.

Understanding New Zealand: Tobacco Users

Interestingly, the Electoral Profiles detail the number of people within each electorate who are regular smokers, who are ex-smokers, and who have never smoked. These stats, when added to the correlation matrix, tell us about the tobacco smoking habits of New Zealanders.

This article will assume that the statistics for tobacco use correlate highly with the statistics for cannabis use. The primary reason for assuming this is the size of the correlation between being a regular tobacco user and voting for the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party in 2014, which was 0.88.

This was the strongest of all the correlations between being a regular smoker and voting for a particular party in 2014. For voting Maori Party the correlation was 0.81, for Internet MANA 0.73, for New Zealand First 0.72 and for Labour 0.53. On the not-currently-smoking side were the Greens at -0.19, Conservative at -0.47, ACT at -0.58, and National at -0.75.

Already from this, some clear trends suggest themselves – in particular, that a Kiwi is more likely to be a regular smoker the harder their life is.

There was a correlation of -0.61 with net personal income and being a regular smoker, which is even stronger than the correlation with net personal income and being Maori (-0.48).

On that point, the correlation between being a regular smoker and being Maori is a whopping 0.92. This is even stronger than the correlation between voting Maori Party and being Maori (0.91), which tells us that the smoking-Maori connection is one of the strongest observations that we can make.

Kiwis of European descent are moderately unlikely to be regular smokers – the correlation between the two is only -0.32 – but the correlation between being of European descent and being an ex-smoker is 0.74. Asians are more likely to never have smoked – the correlation between the two was 0.77.

Although there was no significant correlation between median age and never smoking, the correlation between median age and being a regular smoker was -0.53, and with being an ex-smoker it was 0.53. This tells us that regular smokers tend to be much younger than ex-smokers, which fits the observation that regular smokers are usually in their teens, twenties or thirties.

Returning to the idea that people tend to smoke more the worse they are doing, we can observe that the correlation between being a regular smoker and being on the invalid’s benefit is 0.85, and with being on the unemployment benefit it was a whopping 0.87. This is probably because there is little else to do on a long-term benefit other than to smoke!

Also related to this idea, we can see that people doing well are less likely to smoke. Even merely being a student, which is to say, still young and poor but at least hopeful, is not significantly correlated with being a regular smoker. It is, however, correlated with never smoking, even if it was a very mild 0.25.

Perhaps the final word on this line of thinking comes from contrasting the correlation between having no qualifications and being a regular smoker, which is 0.84, with that of having a Master’s degree and being a regular smoker, which is -0.66.

Predictably, given the stats detailed thus far, the working class professions tend to be the ones that correlate positively with being a regular smoker. Agriculture, fishing and forestry (0.35), Construction (0.37), Electricity, gas, water and waste services (0.42), Transport, postal and warehousing (0.52) and Manufacturing (0.58).

And so, the middle and professional classes are inversely correlated with being a regular smoker. These were Information media and telecommunications (-0.34), Rental, hiring and real estate services (-0.38), Financial and insurance services (-0.48) and Professional, scientific and technical services (-0.56).

Finally, there is no significant correlation between any of being a regular smoker, being an ex-smoker and never having smoked on the one hand, and being either male or female on the other. Despite this, the numbers suggest that more females than males are regular smokers.

*

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

Cannabis and Alcohol Users Must Unite Against the Wowsers and Control Freaks

Some Kiwis might have woken up from a New Year’s-induced stupor long enough to ask: “What happened to the Wellington Sevens?” Well, sit down, folks – I’ve got a bitter and tragic tale to tell.

The short of it, though, is this – New Zealand is full of wowsers, and those wowsers saw Kiwis having a good time and decided that this had to be stomped down as soon as possible, lest anyone get carried away.

The linked article notes that the occasion was essentially “a two day party with a bit of sevens rugby on the side” and it died because “the organisers have slowly strangled the event with tighter and tighter regulations as the years went by.”

Amazingly, putting several tens of thousands of drunks in a confined space in the middle of summer didn’t end without problems.

But, as this essay will argue, so what?

14 years of what had grown to become the single greatest annual festival in the Kiwi cultural calendar, was destroyed by the Fun Police in a couple of years: “the wowsers have killed off the atmosphere that made the Wellington Sevens so popular.”

This year, an event that used to sell out a 30,000+ seat stadium in minutes has struggled to sell so much as 1,300 tickets. The general attitude towards the event from once-loyal partygoers is that “they can’t have fun at the event in case they upset someone.

The question is: why do we let them do this to us?

So what if a few drunks caused trouble and created a sub-optimally family-friendly atmosphere. So what? Do we live in a McDonald’s playground?

It’s time to stop the rout! Everyone who enjoys drinking alcohol has to face up to this fact – cannabis is already illegal and tobacco is being made illegal. What’s going to stop the control freaks from cracking down on alcohol once they’ve banned tobacco?

And will Kiwis do anything it when it happens, or just take it up the arse as we have done thus far?

Is it acceptable that it is gradually becoming illegal to have fun? Are we doomed to end up like the Soviet Union, streets full of dour, grey-faced citizens conditioned to be afraid to crack a joke or a smile, lest they fall foul of some bureaucratic juggernaut that comes after them like a pitbull?

New Zealand has to face the very real possibility that, as our population continues to age, we will eventually ban every possible avenue of enjoyment and turn the whole country into a giant old folks’ home.

Pissheads and potheads, its time to acknowledge that we have a mutual enemy that is only growing in power as the population ages and our politicians become ever more out of touch with reality.

This enemy has existed all throughout history, and it waxes and wanes in strength according to the fashions of the age. It’s an enemy that resents all fun, resents all happiness, and which resents life itself.

The New Zealand Wowser is the single greatest threat to our quality of life. If we do not begin to oppose them, we will wake up one morning to find that everything is illegal except for a curated, Health and Safety-approved set of behaviours on a short list.

Understanding New Zealand: Voting by Industry and Employment Status I

This article looks at what we can tell about the preferred industries of certain voting blocs based on their voting patterns. For the most part, the statistics in this area are fairly predictable, because industry types tend to be class defined and we already know which social classes vote for which parties.

There were few occupations that correlated with a significantly lower vote for the National Party in 2014, which is not surprising considering that National won the election. The most prominent was the transport, postal and warehousing industry, who had a correlation of -0.51 with voting National in 2014. As mentioned above, this can likely be best explained by the fact this is generally a working class industry.

It was a different story with rental, hiring and real estate services, which had a correlation of 0.49 with voting National. This is also not particularly surprising as it is an industry that essentially tries to generate money without performing any labour, i.e. by rent-seeking. Real estate agents and property managers are known for being the types that will do anything for a buck.

For the Labour Party these roles were, unsurprisingly, reversed – the transport, postal and warehousing industry had a correlation of 0.55 with voting for the Labour Party, probably reflecting the fact that if a Kiwi drives for a living they are very likely to be some kind of bogan and therefore a natural Labour voter.

One statistic that will surprise many is the voting pattern of people in the agriculture, forestry and fishing industries. Many would expect people in these primary industries to vote Labour or Green, but it is not the case. These people are more likely than anyone to vote New Zealand First – there is a correlation of 0.40 between being in agriculture, forestry or fishing and voting New Zealand First, compared to -0.31 for Labour and -0.24 for the Greens.

This can be explained to some extent by the fact that people working in agriculture, forestry and fishing are more likely than average to be Maori (the correlation between the two is 0.22), and Maoris are significantly more like to vote New Zealand First.

The interesting thing about that is it shows the people who vote Green seldom actually have anything to do with the environment, because they usually live in wealthy neighbourhoods in big cities.

Green voters are more likely than any others to be students – being on the student allowance has a correlation of 0.55 with voting Green in 2014, compared to 0.34 for Labour, -0.18 for New Zealand First and -0.46 for National. They are also more likely than any other to work in hospitality – voting Green in 2014 had a correlation of 0.52 with working in accommodation.

Green voters are the ones most likely to be involved in the new technological occupations. Even though Green voters are older than Labour ones, voting for them correlates more strongly with high-tech occupations than voting for Labour does. Voting Green in 2014 has a correlation of 0.63 with working in professional, scientific and technical services, and a correlation of 0.70 with working in information media and telecommunications.

The Greens also overwhelmingly dominate the arts and recreational services industry. People working in this industry have a correlation of 0.69 with voting Green in 2014, compared to -0.17 for National voters, -0.13 for Labour voters and -0.18 for New Zealand First voters.

Oddly, there’s a pattern based on benefit type. Pensioners vote National (correlation: 0.50), unemployment beneficiaries vote Labour (0.62), students vote Green (0.55) and invalid’s beneficiaries vote for the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party (0.76).

This latter correlation is both very strong and will be very surprising to many, until one considers that it is precisely invalid’s beneficiaries who suffer the worst from the Government’s refusal to reform our cannabis laws.

*

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

Is Ross Taylor the Most Underrated Kiwi Sportsman of All Time?

rosstaylor

Last month, the Black Caps cruised to a 2-0 series win against Pakistan in New Zealand, the first series win against the side in over 30 years. The Second Test was notable for involving yet another Ross Taylor century, this one an unbeaten 102 which was also the only century of the series.

Let’s get one thing out of the way first – it’s obvious that the most underrated sportsman in New Zealand could not possibly be a rugby player, and the other sports apart from cricket are either not popular enough for dominance in them to be meaningful (union, league, hockey, netball) or they are sports in which no Kiwis are any good (soccer, volleyball, tennis, golf). So cricket it is.

Taylor, who has been mentored by none other than Martin Crowe, has also taken after Crowe in terms of statistical dependency. Taylor has now played 78 Tests to Crowe’s 77, and the rest of their statistics are also strikingly similar.

Crowe ended his career with a test average of 45.36; Taylor is currently on 46.70. Crowe managed 17 tons in his Test career; Taylor has played one more match for one ton fewer. And both players favoured the No. 4 position – in 106 innings there Crowe averaged 49.39; Taylor has batted 4 on 123 occasions for an average of 49.99.

Their Test strike rates are very different: Taylor has 59.17 compared to Crowe’s 44.65. Taylor has also been part of a generally stronger side – he has enjoyed 23 Test wins compared to Crowe’s 16.

Considering that Martin Crowe has a place in the popular consciousness as New Zealand’s second-best cricketer ever, the fact that Taylor can match him on the numbers is enough to suggest that he belongs, like Crowe, Sir Richard Hadlee, Chris Cairns, Shane Bond and Kane Williamson, in any conversation about the very best.

Moreover, Taylor isn’t finished yet. He has been much more fortunate with injuries than Crowe, and could well end up playing 100 Tests. Since he keeps getting better with age – under Williamson’s captaincy Taylor averages 52.27 in 16 ODIs and 70.75 in 8 Tests – and is not yet 33, Taylor could cement his spot in the pantheon.

Some of what Taylor has already achieved goes well beyond what one might expect of a merely excellent batsman. A handful of selected career highlights:

1. 290 in Australia, the highest ever score by a visiting batsman in Australia in Test history. The craziest thing about this innings is that it didn’t end with a feather to the keeper or to swing, seam, drift, tweak or rip, but with a slog to square leg because that was the match situation. Selfless.

2. 154 not out in Manchester, in a match where England, who scored only 202 in the second innings, still won the match. Coming eight years before the 290 in Perth, this innings helps demonstrate that New Zealand has definitely got their money’s worth out of picking Taylor.

3. Taylor has an ODI average of 43.15, which is higher than all of Ricky Ponting (42.03), Kumar Sangakkara (41.98), Brian Lara (40.48) and Martin Crowe (38.55). What’s more, this is increasing – in Taylor’s last 100 ODI matches, dating back to 2010, he averages an astonishing 49.28.

4. A sequence of three consecutive ODI tons, one of only six batsmen in history to have achieved this.

5. Taylor easily has more international tons than any other Kiwi batsman – 31 (16 in 78 Tests and 15 in 176 ODIs). His closest rivals are Nathan Astle with 27, Kane Williamson with 22 and Martin Crowe with 21. Even Stephen Fleming, for so long New Zealand’s best batsman, managed a comparatively feeble 9 Test tons in 111 Tests and 8 ODI tons in 279 matches, about a third of Taylor’s century rate.

On top of all this, Taylor was a great batsman for several years when we had no-one else who was much good. Back in 2006, when Taylor made his ODI debut, McCullum was a floater, Astle and Fleming were past their best and we had no-one else.

Instead of coming in after Martin Guptill (averaging 42) and Kane Williamson (47), Taylor shared the top order with Lou Vincent (27), Hamish Marshall (27), James Marshall (25) and Craig McMillan (28). The statesmanlike Stephen Fleming was the best batsman in this side, and he averaged 32.

And Taylor has achieved all of these things while – and in this he is almost unheralded – playing in a sport that Samoans (Taylor’s mother is Samoan) generally don’t play. Taylor is himself aware of this, noting that most Polynesians choose to play a rugby code.

In this sense – straddling the European and the Polynesian worlds – Ross Taylor is the best possible kind of New Zealander. When he scores a ton and gives his pukana for the crowd and those watching on television, it’s symbolic of everything excellent about New Zealand. No-one who wasn’t a Kiwi could do what Taylor has done in the way that he has done it.

Given all of those accolades, it seems almost a formality to declare Taylor the most underrated Kiwi sportsman of all time.

Understanding New Zealand: Voting Labour

The Labour Party formed in opposition to the sort of capitalist interests that would later form the National Party. Predictably, then, voting for Labour in 2014 has a very strong negative correlation with voting for National in 2014 (-0.85), and a moderately strong negative correlation with median personal income (-0.51).

With no other party apart from the Conservatives (-0.63) do supporters of Labour differ from near as intensely. Voting for Labour in 2014 was not significantly correlated with any of voting Green (-0.03), voting New Zealand First (0.11) or ACT (-0.19). The only parties that had a significant correlation with voting Labour in 2014 were the ALCP (0.38), Internet MANA (0.41) and the Maori Party (0.41).

This latter point is mostly a function of the powerful racial divide between the two major parties. The correlation between voting Labour in 2014 and being of European descent is a whopping -0.76. With being of Pacific Islander descent it is even higher, but in the other direction: 0.78. This latter statistic, coupled with the fact that voting Labour in 2014 has a correlation of 0.42 with being Maori, suggests that Labour is actually a Polynesian party to a considerable degree.

The statistic that Labour Party leaders will rue more than any other is the correlation between voting Labour in 2014 and turnout rate in 2014, which was -0.67. This tells us immediately that any given Labour supporter is significantly less likely to actually cast a vote for their party, which brings to mind the saying “Left-wingers fall in love; right-wingers fall in line.”

A statistic that might surprise many is that the correlation betwen voting Labour in 2014 and having no religion is -0.50. Although this can mostly be explained by the fact that being of Pacific Island descent has a correlation of 0.46 with being a Christian, it also brings up a surprising difference between New Zealand and the United States, where poor religious people have been driven apart from their natural economic classmates by wedge issues such as abortion, a phenomenon which is yet to be replicated in New Zealand, despite the best efforts of Brian Tamaki.

There was a correlation of 0.47 with voting Labour in 2014 and being a Hindu, which probably is a reflection of heavy Fijian Indian immigration over recent decades.

Although voting for Labour in 2014 had a significant correlation with having no qualifications, this was a barely significant 0.34. Some might be surprised that voting for Labour in 2014 had less of a correlation with not having a Master’s degree (-0.18) than voting Conservative did (-0.20). Considering that the average Labour voter is much younger, this suggests that the average Conservative is much more plebian.

The fact that the flag referendum was a National Party vehicle is demonstrated by the massive indifference of the working class to it. Voting for Labour in 2014 had a correlation of -0.84 with turnout rate in both the first and the second flag referendum, and a correlation of -0.80 with wanting to change the flag to the National Party design.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about the Labour Party vote is the size of the negative correlation with median age, which is -0.70. This is even lower than the Maori Party’s -0.66 and is far lower than the Green Party’s -0.17, which tells us that Labour is much more a party of the youth than the Greens (although this can be explained to a large extent by the fact that Polynesians are young and they seldom vote Green).

*

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