The demographic of medium-skill occupations breaks down into technicians and trade workers, community and personal service workers, and clerical and administrative workers.
The medium-skill occupations are characterised by a relative indifference to the two major parties. This makes sense if National and Labour are considered to represent opposite poles of the capital-labour spectrum, because the medium-skill occupations, falling in the middle, could be expected to be indifferent.
Working as a technician or trades worker had a correlation of -0.09 with voting National in 2014, and a correlation of -0.02 with voting Labour in 2014. This is not too surprising as neither of those parties aim to represent people in this occupation.
Technicians and trade workers had a significant positive correlation with voting New Zealand First in 2014 – this was 0.44. This can only partially be explained by the fact that this occupation has a significant positive correlation with being Maori, and Maoris love New Zealand First.
For all the other parties, besides ACT, they were indifferent. The correlation between working as a technician or trades worker and voting ACT in 2014 was -0.37.
The reason for these correlations might be that people who work as technicians and trade workers have a strong working-class sentiment but cannot find expression for it in the Labour Party, which more and more has come to represent middle class special interests.
The voting patterns of community and personal service workers reflected the fact that there was a correlation of 0.72 between working in this occupation and being Maori. In particular, there were strong correlations with all of the Maori-heavy parties.
The correlation between working as a community or personal service worker and voting New Zealand First in 2014 was 0.48; with Internet MANA it was 0.56; with voting Maori Party it was 0.64 and with voting Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party it was 0.76.
Consequently, the correlations between working in these profesions and voting for the parties that Maoris don’t like were all significantly negative. With voting Conservative in 2014 it was -0.41; with voting ACT it was -0.47 and with voting National it was -0.51.
These correlations also reflect the degree of compassion evidenced in the policies of the various parties. Because the sort of person who works as a community or personal service worker can be expected to have a higher than usual amount of compassion, it’s clear that their voting patterns reflect this.
The last group of medium-skill occupations is clerical and administrative workers. This class is perhaps better considered as somewhere on the high-skill end of the medium-skill occupations.
Their voting patterns are consequently much like that of the professional class (with whom they share a high income). The strongest positive correlation between working as a clerical and administrative worker and voting for a political party in 2014 was 0.22, with the Greens. The strongest negative one was -0.24, with the Conservative Party.
It’s not possible from that, however, to conclude that people in this group are particularly left-wing. The correlations with voting for Internet MANA in 2014 (0.14) and for the Maori Party in 2014 (0.12) were about as strong as the correlation with voting for ACT in 2014 (0.17). Likewise, the correlations with the three most established parties were all negative, if insignificant.
These patterns reflect the fact that most people working in this group are young adults with ambition, just not quite enough ambition to get a professional degree.
This article is an excerpt from Understanding New Zealand, by Dan McGlashan, due to be published by VJM Publishing this winter.
With all the bullshit being produced nowadays, it’s sometimes difficult to spot new patterns or sources of it in all the noise. One of the most interesting new patterns (or, more precisely, resurgent patterns) is that of middle-class kids pretending to be working class, and flooding into leftist politics: the crypto-conservative. This article tells you how to spot one.
In order to understand what a crypto-conservative is, it is necessary to understand recent Western sociological history.
With the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union, Western liberal capitalism surged to triumph in the Cold War. No longer facing an outside threat, the Western Establishment immediately shattered, but not, as many had expected, into the rentier class and the working class.
It shattered instead into the rentier class and their offspring, who gravitated towards the left out of rebellion towards their parents.
The actual working class were progressively driven out of the left until we arrived at the situation we have today, where it is almost entirely comprised of the offspring of the rentier class, and the social considerations upon which it was founded have long been forgotten.
Thus we have arrived at a definition: a crypto-conservative is literally a natural conservative pretending to be left-wing – usually a young, middle-class person who has infiltrated the working class movement and is acting, wittingly or otherwise, to destroy it from within.
The easiest way to pick one is that they don’t care about issues that affect the actual working class, like getting a fair wage for a day’s work.
Often they are obsessed with issues that literally destroy the working class, like mass third-world immigration (which tips the balance of power between worker and boss back towards the boss).
Other times they are obsessed with issues of no particular importance to the working class – it’s genuinely difficult to see anything necessarily working class about homosexual law reform, for example.
In another time and place it could just as well be the left wing making homosexuality illegal over inflated fears of STD infection or psychological predation upon minors. It was after all left-wing hysteria that led to the failed experiment of alcohol prohibition.
The striking thing about the middle-class crypto-conservative is that all of their political ideology will benefit them as soon as their parents die and they inherit their property.
So it’s actually in their own interest to act as a cancer within honest working class movements – and they may or may not know this.
This is the secret to identifying a young conservative that is pretending to be working class. They will not care about working class issues like a fair wage for a day’s work, but seek to instead divert attention from this to meaningless trivia in the hope of appearing fashionable.
Obviously, a young person will not care about a fair wage for fair work if they just bludge off their wealthy parents, so anyone claiming to be left-wing while bludging off their wealthy parents is very likely to be a crypto-conservative.
Likewise, a young person who does not work will not care about the fact that allowing large numbers of unskilled refugees into the country will remove any leverage the working class may have had over their bosses. After all, they are unlikely to live in the same neighbourhood as the refugees (at least not after they “settle down”), and in any case the refugees are unlikely to be competing for middle class jobs.
Ultimately, though, the most effective way to pick a crypto-conservative is from their anemic lack of conviction and passion when they are discussing working class issues.
If a person looks sheepish or embarrassed when talking about the need for adequate wage compensation, or the need to build quality houses instead of the third-world shacks we have, or the importance of not sending kids to school without food or shoes, but becomes loud when talking about the gender wage gap or Israel-Palestine, then that person might not be trustworthy.
The strangest thing about being a mental health patient is that the mental health services act as if fitting into our society in a productive capacity is natural and normal, and that anyone who cannot do this for whatever reason must be abnormal.
The attitude that fitting into our system is natural and normal is the fundamental conceit of the mental health system.
The truth is that the human animal has evolved to fit an ecological niche that is almost nothing like the lives we actually live today, which are as artificial as Disneyland.
Humans have evolved to suit a reasonably specific set of social conditions. In the biological past, it was rare to live in a group of people larger than about 150. This was because the nomadic lifestyle that was the norm back then could not support larger groups, primarily because of the absence of agriculture.
In these groups of 150 or so, there was very little in the way of social order. In this chaos, however, there was a degree of freedom that humans have adapted to. There was never an authority that made some behaviours against the “law”, as there was no agricultural surplus and therefore no way of maintaining an enforcer class.
As a consequence, humans were able to live in accordance with the natural curiosity that has provided our species with a decisive survival edge.
This is not an argument for anarcho-primitivism and is not intended to romanticise the past. The point is simply to describe the distance between the degree of freedom that we have evolved to consider natural and the degree of freedom currently afforded to us in modern society.
Perhaps the most unnatural thing about our society is the nuclear family. When there were tribes of 150, young children had almost infinite access to social reinforcement – it was possible to play with cousins of a similar age, and to talk to people much older than one’s parents, at almost any time one wanted.
In modern society, the early social development of a child is restricted to what they can get from the nuclear family unit. So instead of playing with cousins they watch television or go on the tablet, and instead of listening to stories from their elders they watch more television.
This means that almost everyone in our society grows up with a grossly unnatural deficit of both quality and quantity of social contact.
Because social contact is necessary to release oxytocin, and because oxytocin is necessary for proper brain development, the inevitable consequence of the nuclear family model is an increase in social retardation, reflected in our skyrocketing autism rates.
Neither is it at all natural to be forced to wake up early in the morning from the age of four so that one can go to school.
The natural sleep-wake cycle of a child is similar to that of a cat – one sleeps when one is tired, and is awake otherwise. In a state of nature, a child will nap frequently throughout the day.
This is not permitted under the mass education model. Under our model of schooling, even five year-olds have to stay awake all day uninterrupted, which is extremely unnatural. Should this cause them sleep deprivation they just have to suffer it.
Perhaps the worst is that it isn’t natural to not be able to discuss these things. If you go to see a psychiatrist in our mental health care system it is not possible to discuss whether these problems have been caused to you by our culture.
The attitude, which cannot be questioned or discussed, is that our culture is perfect; any problems you have fitting into it are yours and yours alone.
If sleep deprivation makes a child misbehave they just have to go on sedatives. If it causes an inability to concentrate they just have to go on Ritalin. Should it be so bad that they start to hallucinate they just have to go on anti-psychotics.
This conceit alone makes for terrible treatment outcomes for patients. Because the mental healthcare system may not acknowledge the real cause of the suffering of its patients, neither can it actually treat that suffering. The best it can do is to treat the symptoms by dishing out mountains of highly profitable pharmaceuticals.
The demographic of high-skill occupations breaks down into managers and professionals. The general rule, put crudely, is that managers like to vote National whereas professionals like to vote Green.
Working as a manager had a correlation of 0.56 with voting National in 2014, which was moderately strong and in line with what most people probably could have guessed.
The National Party exists to bring in laws that weaken the position of workers and make them easier to control, and this directly benefits the sort of person who works as a manager.
Predictably, then, there was a very strong negative correlation with being a manager and voting for the Labour Party – this was -0.75. After all, the Labour Party exists to oppose the National Party.
The only party apart from National to have a positive correlation with being a manager was the Conservatives. The correlation between voting Conservative in 2014 and being a manager was 0.31.
Even though it is also a right-wing party, the correlation betwen voting ACT in 2014 and being a manager was not significant, at 0.06. This may be because their love of neoliberalism is too radical for the average manager – who is fairly elderly – to handle.
Some might be surprised that the correlations between being a manager and voting for the Maori-heavy parties are not negatively significant. The correlation between being a manager and voting New Zealand First in 2014 was -0.06; with voting Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party it was -0.05; with voting Internet MANA it was -0.17 and with voting Maori Party it was -0.14.
The reason for this surprising set of correlations is that Maoris who live to be in the age bracket from which most managers come are not significantly less likely to become one than a European New Zealander who lives to the same age. But because the bulk of Maoris are much younger than non-Maoris, proportionately fewer of them are in that age bracket, and the young ones like to vote Labour.
Working in a professional occupation had a correlation of 0.73 with voting Green in 2014. This fits with the fact that highly educated people in general like to vote Green.
The party that the professional class was most opposed to was not Labour but New Zealand First. The correlation between working as a professional and voting New Zealand First was -0.58.
This was in striking contrast to the other Maori-heavy parties. The correlation between working as a professional and voting for the Maori Party was -0.12; with voting for Internet MANA it was -0.07; and even with voting for the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party – hardly a favoured cause of the sort of person driven enough to become a professional – it was only -0.25.
There exists a genuine antipathy between Green and New Zealand First voters, and this is exposed most evidently when the voting patterns of professionals are examined.
For the sort of person who becomes a professional, things like freedom of movement are paramount (as they often are for people with higher levels of human capital than financial capital). This means that their values naturally align with the Green Party.
The average New Zealand First voter is characterised by their low level of education, and consequently their low level of human capital. For a person with a low level of human capital, who usually ends up a member of the low-skilled occupations, freedom of movement is a danger because it exposes their low-skilled niche in the market to greater competition.
Green voters have this problem less often because people with professional educations do not have to compete for employment opportunities as a general rule. In fact, professional occupations are almost permanently on the New Zealand skilled shortages list and consequently people with professional educations can go straight into the immigration fast lane.
Freedom of movement is an opportunity for these people because it broadens the potential employer pool.
Both managers and professionals had a significantly higher turnout rate. For managers the correlation with turnout rate in the 2014 General Election was 0.38 and for professionals it was 0.28. These correlations reflect that fact that people in highly skilled occupations tend to be strongly enfranchised and engaged with the system.
This article is an excerpt from Understanding New Zealand, by Dan McGlashan, due to be published by VJM Publishing this winter.
Today’s most shameless example of corporate propaganda masquerading as journalism comes, as it often does, from Stuff. The article discusses the subject of whether New Zealand’s welfare system is too generous and whether this is responsible for the difficulty that employers are currently having retaining staff.
What distinguishes the corporate whores like Susan Edmunds – who write pieces like this – from people who used to practice what was known as journalism is that, here, no effort is made to provide any kind of balance to the piece.
The only people quoted in the piece are business owners and right-wing thinkers, such as the Chief Executive of the Employers and Manufacturers Association. Nowhere are any worker’s representatives or even any workers given a voice.
The obvious rebuttal to the slant of this piece is to point out that the free market dictates that if you can’t get workers then you have to pay better wages, so that employers are themselves to blame if no-one wants to work for them.
In 2001, I worked at a variety of bars and cafes in Christchurch to save money for a move to Northern Europe. At the time I was generally paid $8 an hour, as that was the minimum wage at the time.
Later that year I was working in Sweden, where they paid me $22 an hour for equally unskilled work and apologised for it being such a low wage.
When I was in Northern Europe, I was surprised to learn that they do not have minimum wage legislation. They were surprised to hear me tell that such an implicit deal is not universal.
My stories about being paid barely enough after tax to buy a Big Mac after an hour’s work were met with surprise – after all, isn’t New Zealand supposed to be a wealthy country?
The reason for this is cultural: it’s not culturally permissible in Northern Europe to employ a person to work full-time for you and then to not pay them enough money to live on.
Kiwis don’t afford each other the same degree of respect. Ultimately, the reason why there has to be minimum wage laws in New Zealand is that in our culture it’s not considered immoral to pay someone less than they can live on for their full-time labour.
This is even though such an arrangement is the norm in societies where the interactions between employer and employee are between free men. New Zealand has been influenced by the master-slave employment relationship that characterises the New World of which we are a part. We have been influenced by America, Australia and Brazil.
The reason why Bill English lies about how all Kiwis are on drugs is so that his owners in the National Party membership can import third world workers on temporary visas to work for wages that Kiwis know too well are unfair.
In terms of profitability, there’s not that much of a difference between a slave who can be beaten at a whim without consequence and a worker on a temporary visa who can also be abused without consequence because if they complain about it they will get sent home. Because the former is illegal in New Zealand our employer class has to settle for the latter.
All of this raises a question.
In Saudi Arabia they have solved this problem by importing a slave class (that now outnumber the native Saudis by over two to one, just like in ancient Rome). It’s easy to get into Saudi Arabia as a worker from Pakistan, Bangladesh or the Philippines – it’s just that you have no rights and can be disposed of at any time.
A similar arrangement would suit the mentality of New Zealand employers down to the ground. After all, if you don’t want to pay your workers enough so that they can eat and send their kids to school with shoes on, why not just import slaves?
Perhaps all Kiwis can agree that, if our economy won’t work without a steady supply of fuel in the form of cheap temporary workers who get disposed of as soon as they get sick or complain, it’s best that we use foreigners for the purpose?
Making slavery legal again in New Zealand would also make it possible for the New Zealand middle class to have domestic servants, which is, after all, the fantasy of every National voter.
A New Zealand family is torn in half because draconian laws prevent them from accessing the natural medicine their daughter needs to prevents seizures. Corporate interests have made all alternatives to pharmaceuticals illegal, so the family is forced to flee to South Africa to get healthcare.
It sounds like a dystopian cyberpunk novel along the lines of The Verity Key, but this is actually the reality of New Zealand today.
Kiwis like to smugly think that their country is more socially advanced than the others: after all, we gave women the right to vote in 1893. Surely we’re more advanced than South Africa, in any case. But on the major moral issues of the day, New Zealand is already more backwards than South Africa.
A court in the Western Cape just ruled that cannabis can be used in the home without fear of prosecution. This means that South Africa has a more enlightened, compassionate and mature approach to the War on Drugs than New Zealand.
Does any court in New Zealand have the courage to do that? Not a chance in hell. Our judges and justice system representatives happily lick the arses of the politicians who command them to put Kiwis in cages for their use of a medicinal plant.
This comes after Uruguay fully legalised cannabis in 2013.
It might come as a blow to the pride of Kiwi readers to hear that their country, long considered forwards-thinking, is now more culturally backwards than South Africa and parts of South America. But it’s true, and we’re going to have to get used to it. They have surpassed us in cultural advancement, because we have stagnated so badly.
The total failure of the New Zealand Baby Boomers to hold the political class to account has meant that New Zealanders actually lack rights than people in certain parts of Africa enjoy.
When South Africa legalised gay marriage in 2006, Kiwis who knew about it mostly wrote it off as a fluke, one that went against the run of play. But now that a South African court has ruled cannabis legal – again, well in advance of any New Zealand court doing so – we Kiwis have to accept that we are now the socially and culturally retarded cousin in the relationship. They have surpassed us.
Even prisoners in Uruguayan jails have access to medicinal cannabis.
Considering that one of the major psychiatric uses for medicinal cannabis is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and considering that misbehaving on account of having complications from PTSD is one of the major reasons why people end up in prison, withholding it from prisoners in New Zealand seems inhumanely cruel.
Cruel, but reflective of who we really are, not who we pretend to be. Our reputation as a world leader on social issues is gone, gone, gone. We pissed it down the toilet for tax cuts and a lift in the value of our property portfolios.
The third world country at the bottom of Africa that had apartheid based on race until 1994 is now more socially advanced than New Zealand. That’s how far behind we have fallen. That’s how badly the Baby Boomer intellectuals have failed us.
Kiwis, we are now more backwards than South Africa, and this is not a new idea that has fluttered into the consciousness but a grim reality that has been bitterly chewed over for a decade. Is there anyone left with the will to challenge this?