Understanding New Zealand 3: Who Voted Advance NZ in 2020?

The Advance NZ Party was one of the most interesting phenomena of the 2020 General Election. We at VJM Publishing were among the first to document the rise of Billy TK and Jami-Lee Ross’s populist vehicle. Ultimately, they won 28,429 votes, giving them 1.0% of the party vote.

In short, most Advance NZ voters were poorly-educated Boomers.

VariableAdvance NZ vote 2020
No qualifications0.65
Level 1 certificate0.74
Level 2 certificate0.71
Level 3 certificate-0.04
Level 4 certificate0.78
Level 5 diploma0.56
Level 6 diploma-0.12
Bachelor’s degree-0.71
Honours degree-0.63
Master’s degree-0.66
Doctorate-0.54

There were very strong positive correlations between voting Advance NZ in 2020 and belonging to any of the three lowest educational groups. There was a correlation of 0.65 between having no academic qualifications and voting Advance NZ in 2020. The correlations between voting Advance NZ in 2020 and having a university degree, by contrast, were all -0.54 or greater.

The obvious explanation for this is that the Advance NZ campaign appealed specifically to the gullible and easily manipulated. Those who are educated enough to be able to tell truth from bullshit generally saw through Billy TK’s charlatanism.

VariableAdvance NZ vote 2020
20-24 years old-0.43
25-29 years old-0.47
30-34 years old-0.55
35-39 years old-0.65
40-44 years old-0.49
45-49 years old-0.24
50-54 years old-0.00
55-59 years old0.28
60-64 years old0.30
65-69 years old0.33
70-74 years old0.29
75-79 years old0.22
80-84 years old0.11
85+ years old-0.04

Boomers supported Advance NZ more than any other demographic did. All of the age brackets in the Boomer generation (i.e. those aged between 55 and 74 years old) had a significant positive correlation with voting Advance NZ in 2020. By contrast, all of the age brackets under 50 years of age had a significant negative correlation with voting Advance NZ in 2020.

The reason for this is probably education. There are a lot of Boomers in New Zealand who are poorly educated but who lack the humility to understand that. As such, they are especially vulnerable to hysteria, especially of the religious kind that Billy TK was pushing.

VariableAdvance NZ vote 2020
No religion0.33
Buddhism-0.69
Christianity-0.29
Hinduism-0.54
Islam-0.55
Judaism-0.49
Maori religions0.63
Spiritualism and New Age0.44

Perhaps surprisingly, then, given the correlations between voting Advance NZ in 2020 and being poorly-educated and old, there were few Christians among Advance NZ voters. There was a significant negative correlation between voting Advance NZ in 2020 and being Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim or Jewish.

There were significant positive correlations between voting Advance NZ in 2020 and having no religion (0.33), being a Spiritualist or New Ager (0.44) or following one of the Maori religions (0.63). What explains these correlations is that most Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and Jews are foreign-born, and most Spiritualists, New Agers or followers of Maori religions are not.

VariableAdvance NZ vote 2020
New Zealand-born0.72

Advance NZ had the highest proportion of New Zealand-born voters of any party in 2020, even more than the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party. The main reason for this is probably that Advance NZ had two Maori leaders. As New Zealand First has shown for a few decades, foreign-born voters don’t like to vote for Maori leaders.

Given that the immigration system favours young and well-educated people, it follows naturally that a party with a poorly-educated and old demographic will have disproportionately many New Zealand-born voters.

VariableAdvance NZ vote 2020
ACC or private work insurance0.78
NZ Super or Veteran’s pension0.33
Jobseeker Support0.55
Sole Parent Support0.49
Supported Living Payment0.32
Student Allowance-0.33

There are significant positive correlations between voting Advance NZ in 2020 and being on any main benefit apart from the Student Allowance. The most extreme was between voting Advance NZ in 2020 and being on ACC or private work insurance, which was 0.78. There was a significant negative correlation between voting Advance NZ in 2020 and being on the Student Allowance, however.

These correlations fit in closely with the others, and fill in our picture of the average Advance NZ voter. The sort of person who votes Advance NZ is the sort of person who spends a lot of time on the Internet, and who doesn’t have much in the way of competing interests such as a job or an education. A correlation of 0.56 between voting Advance NZ in 2020 and being divorced, separated or widowed paints a picture of a reasonably unhappy, reasonably socially isolated Boomer.

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This article is an excerpt from the upcoming 3rd Edition of Understanding New Zealand, by Dan McGlashan and published by VJM Publishing. Understanding New Zealand is the comprehensive guide to the demographics and voting patterns of the New Zealand people.

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If you enjoyed reading this essay/article, you can get a compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2019 from Amazon for Kindle or Amazon for CreateSpace (for international readers), or TradeMe (for Kiwis). A compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2018 and the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2017 are also available.

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