Be surprised to find out where NZ First’s support really comes from

While we’re waiting for Winston, and we’re sick of “experts” guessing what will happen next, it’s nice to see someone do some original work:

In the map above, the green colour represents polling places where party vote support for NZ First was below the national vote, and the purple indicates where it was above.

The first thing the map reveals is a clear urban-rural divide.

In the big cities, support for NZ First is generally below the country as a whole. However, support for NZ First is generally above average in the rural, more sparsely populated areas.

This is particularly the case in Northland and the Bay of Plenty, regions where leader Winston Peters has had a presence for periods of his career as an MP for Tauranga and, more recently, Northland.

In fact, almost one in five party votes for NZ First were cast in eight electorates in the Northland, Bay of Plenty or East Coast regions (including the Māori seats of Te Tai Tokerau and Waiariki).

They also won strong support in the Wairarapa, Waikato and Whanganui electorates.

NZ First continues to enjoy above average support in most of the Māori seats, which is perhaps surprising given the party’s desire to hold a national referendum on their existence.

To overuse the obvious:  it’s a strong sense of tribalism.

People in places where support for NZ First is above the national average are less likely to have attended university, more likely to have been born in New Zealand, more likely to be Māori and have lower household incomes, on average.

These traits are not necessarily the reason for stronger support for NZ First – correlation does not equal causation.

It may be that their policies appeal to the concerns of voters outside of the main centres and the demographic factors are incidental.

There is little evidence that age is a factor in support for NZ First, despite the widely held belief that the bedrock of their support is with the elderly.

What the article didn’t correlate is that NZ First are strong in electorates where National is strong.  Once you know that…


– Andy Fyers, Stuff


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