Understanding New Zealand 3: Who Voted New Zealand First in 2020

The New Zealand First Party were polling poorly in the lead-up to the 2020 General Election, and they did not recover on the night. Their 75,020 votes comprised 2.6% of the party vote, not enough to win representation in Parliament. With that, Winston Peters disappeared, perhaps for the last time.

VariableVoting New Zealand First in 2020
European0.27
Maori0.32
Pacific Islander-0.18
Asian-0.55

The most important thing to note about New Zealand First is that it is (or, at least, pretends to be) a nationalist party. As such, it appeals to demographic groups in proportion to how Kiwi those groups are.

Almost all Maori voters were born in New Zealand, which is why the correlation between voting New Zealand First in 2020 and belonging to a particular race was the most strongly positive in the case of Maoris (0.32). The next most positive correlation was with Europeans (0.27), and the strongest negative correlation was with Asians (-0.55).

This closely mirrors the depth of the roots that each of those groups has in New Zealand. It’s fair to say that, the deeper one’s roots, the deeper the nationalist sentiments, and the more likely one is to vote New Zealand First.

Variable% of electors NZ-born
Voting New Zealand First in 20200.55
Voting ALCP in 20200.69
Voting Advance NZ in 20200.72
Voting Labour in 2020-0.05
Voting National in 2020-0.24
Voting Greens in 2020-0.24
Voting ACT in 2020-0.01
Voting TEA Party in 2020-0.75

Underlying New Zealand First’s nationalist credentials are a high proportion of NZ-born voters. No party both got more votes than New Zealand First while also getting a higher proportion of New Zealand-born voters.

The only parties to get a higher proportion of New Zealand-born voters were the ALCP and the Advance NZ parties, who, like New Zealand First, are heavily supported by disenfranchised people. The globalist parties, like National, Greens and the TEA Party, were the opposite to New Zealand First by this measure.

VariableVoting New Zealand First in 2020
No qualifications0.51
Level 1 certificate0.59
Level 2 certificate0.49
Level 3 certificate-0.13
Level 4 certificate0.62
Level 5 diploma0.37
Level 6 diploma-0.00
Bachelor’s degree-0.55
Honours degree-0.46
Master’s degree-0.50
Doctorate-0.34

New Zealand First voters in 2020 tended to be poorly educated. There was a significant negative correlation between voting New Zealand First in 2020 and having any of the university degrees. These correlations were much weaker than in 2017, when all four correlations (between voting New Zealand First and having a degree) were around -0.70.

The strongest support for New Zealand First came from older people with School Certificate (Level 1 certificate) and younger people who have completed one year of polytechnic (Level 4 certificate). This tells us that nationalist sentiments were more common among working class.

VariableVoting New Zealand First in 2020
Working as a professional-0.41
Working as a technician or trades worker0.28
Working as a clerical or administrative worker-0.27
Working as a labourer0.36
Working in agriculture, forestry or fishing0.44
Working in electricity, gas, water and waste services0.33
Working in construction0.29
Working in information media and telecommunications-0.45
Working in financial and insurance services-0.50
Working in professional, scientific and technical services-0.50

There was a significant positive correlation between voting New Zealand First in 2020 and working as a technician or trades worker (0.28), or as a labourer (0.36), or working in agriculture, forestry or fishing (0.44), electricity, gas, water and waste services (0.33) or construction (0.29). In other words, there was significant New Zealand First support among typical working-class people.

There were significant negative correlations between voting New Zealand First in 2020 and working as a professional (-0.41) or working in professional, scientific and technical services (-0.50). This reflects the fact that nationalism often doesn’t appeal to the highly educated, who see it as potentially restricting their freedom to travel and to ply their trade in new places.

It’s necessary to note, however, that a high proportion of people working in professional industries are foreign-born. It might be that middle-class Kiwis are just as likely as working-class ones to be nationalists, but because the overwhelming majority of immigrants are middle-class and not nationalists (at least not Kiwi nationalists), middle-class people, taken as a whole, are not nationalists.

VariableVoting New Zealand First in 2020
No children-0.52
One child-0.34
Two children0.14
Three children0.55
Four children0.60
Five children0.45
Six or more children0.32

Being nationalists, it follows that New Zealand First supporters like to breed. The correlation between voting New Zealand First in 2020 and family size was strongest with those who have four children (0.60). There were also significant positive correlations between voting New Zealand First in 2020 and having three children (0.55), five children (0.45) or six or more children (0.32).

On the other hand, there was a significant negative correlation between voting New Zealand First in 2020 and having no children (-0.52) or only one child (-0.34).

VariableVoting New Zealand First in 2020
Lives in an urban electorate-0.43
Lives on North Island0.10

New Zealand First had strong rural support in 2020. A correlation of -0.43 between living in an urban electorate and voting New Zealand First in 2020 was as strong as the correlation between living in an urban electorate and voting NZ Outdoors Party in 2020, and was exceeded only by voting Advance NZ in 2020 (-0.56).

The slight North Island bias of New Zealand First voters was not significant, and probably reflected Winston Peters’ personal support in his home electorate, rather than an actual North Island bias.

In summary, New Zealand First voters are a cross-section of salt-of-the-Earth working-class Kiwis. They like to have children, don’t like to live in big cities and don’t care much about higher education. Most of them belong to similar demographics as Labour voters, but are put off by Labour’s pandering to globalist interests.

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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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