Some have been mystified as to why Jacinda Ardern won’t come out and support cannabis law reform. It seems like an obvious move considering that cannabis supporters and Labour supporters overlap to a great deal. But there are now a large number of Labour supporters who are not cannabis supporters. This essay explains Ardern’s calculus.
Ardern knows that the white religious vote is lost to her party – they will fall in behind National no matter what. The brown non-religious vote is mostly Maori, and will fall in behind Labour no matter what. The white non-religious vote is the bulk of the population and where every election is contested. The brown religious vote is currently Labour on account of being brown, but is at great risk of switching to National on account of being religious.
Labour’s long-term strategy involves getting the brown religious vote behind them permanently. As such, they are vulnerable to getting outflanked by National on social issues like cannabis prohibition.
There are two main reasons why Ardern is reluctant to publicly support cannabis law reform, and both of those reasons are brown religious bigots.
The first group of brown religious bigots are the Christians. Usually Polynesian, they are against cannabis because their pastor told them to be. Their pastor is afraid of anyone learning to think for themselves, and therefore opposes cannabis on the grounds that it might wake people up, leading them away from the church. So the pastor tells his flock that cannabis users are filthy drug abusers in need of punishment.
Dan McGlashan showed in Understanding New Zealand that there was no correlation between being a Pacific Islander and voting for the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party in 2017. There was, however, a significant positive correlation between being a Pacific Islander and being a Christian (0.46), and a significant negative correlation between being a Christian and voting ALCP in 2017 (-0.37).
Christians comprise the bulk of the anti-cannabis forces in New Zealand, as is also shown by the tight links between Christian groups and anti-cannabis groups. These hints reveal the presence of a large, brown, Christian, anti-cannabis vote that is currently supporting Labour, but which is tempted to change support to National because of religious sentiments.
The National Party has targeted the wealthier Pacific Islanders who are tempted to feel that supporting National is a sign of having made it in the world. So far, these Pacific Islanders have been reluctant to change allegiance, but Ardern could tip them over the edge by coming out in support of cannabis law reform. This could make the more religious of them decide that Labour is a party of bad morals.
The second group of brown religious bigots are the Muslims.
In Britain, the Muslim vote has shown itself to be overwhelmingly loyal to Labour. 85% of British Muslims voted for the Labour Party in 2017, compared to 11% who supported the Conservatives. Those 11% are usually unhappy with the Labour Party because they perceive it as morally degenerate.
Ardern has known, ever since her apprenticeship under war criminal Tony Blair, that Muslims can be relied upon to vote for left-wing parties. This is why the New Zealand Labour Party has put so much effort into accommodating Islam. They know that the plan is for the Muslim population of New Zealand to increase many times, and they want to secure that voting bloc now.
The conflict arises from the fact that Muslims generally consider cannabis users to be degenerate scum who should be destroyed.
Muslims, in general, don’t feel any obligation to return the kindness we have shown to them by letting them into New Zealand – they’re happy to campaign to have us locked up for offending their morals. This is why the New Zealand Muslim Association logo is proudly displayed on the About Us section of the Say Nope To Dope hate campaign, and why there was a significant negative correlation between being Muslim and voting for the ALCP in 2017.
The centre-left already has a hard time keeping Muslims underneath their umbrella, where they have to share space with the LGBTQ+ brigade. Already, the main thing keeping Muslims voting for Labour is that fact that Labour is seen as the brown person’s party. If Ardern would come out in support of cannabis law reform, she’d risk losing a significant proportion of those voters to the National Party.
Taken together, Pacific Islander and Muslim voters comprise as much as a fifth of the Labour Party voter base, and this proportion will be higher in the future. Jacinda Ardern knows that she risks losing these demographics to National if they start to think of her as morally degenerate. She is already pressured on that flank by Labour’s whole-hearted support of homosexuality. So cannabis users have to go under the bus.
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