Personal reflections on urbanism, urban life and sustainable urban design in Wellington, New Zealand.

Friday, September 23, 2005

The booths of sin

I've been itching to do some analysis of the local election results, and now that I've got the booth-by-booth results (thanks to Pip for the link) I've been able to do some detailed number crunching. Given all the talk about the supposed divide between metropolitan and provincial New Zealand (what No Right Turn half-jokingly calls "Latteland" and "Sheepistan", in response to the infamous "Jesusland vs United States of Canada" map), I decided to look for patterns within the Wellington region.

I'll try to do a map soon (it might take a while, unless someone's already geocoded all 230 local polling booths) but in the meantime here's some non-spatial analysis. Unlike the US, we don't have a two-party system, so things are more complicated here. I needed some way to arrange the parties on a spectrum, so I resorted to the party immorality ratings, courtesy of the (presumably) "good" folks of the Centre Church in Paraparaumu. This ignores economic policies and rates the main parties based upon their voting record on "moral" issues, such as prosititution and civil unions. This provided a clear spectrum from the Greens (97% immoral) to United Future (only 3% immoral, bless their little polyester socks). So, based upon this spectrum, where are Wellington's dens of iniquity and havens of virtue?

Voting analysis thumbnail: click to see full image (178kB)This chart has the answers (this thumbnail just shows the top and bottom: the full image is a 178kB GIF that legibly shows every polling booth, plus legend, in a mere 1240 by 4558 pixels). I multiplied each booth's party votes by the immorality rating for each party, added them up and ranked them, with the most moral booths at the top and the most sinful wallowing at the bottom. The purest booths were all in the north of the region, with places like Whitby, Churton Park and parts of Tawa all clocking in at over 60% moral, and you have to go a long way down before you find the first booth south of Khandallah (Seatoun on 56%).

The least "moral" booths were more diverse, including several central city booths (such as the infamous Aro Valley Community Centre) alongside the state house zones of Porirua. In fact, the most "immoral" booth of all was Cannons Creek's Glenview School, just pipping Aro Valley with a whopping score of 74% immoral! But hold on: aren't these areas home to a lot of Māori and Polynesians, who are supposed to be morally conservative?

It's true that many of these booths returned greater than average results for Destiny NZ, and there's not a lot of Green support there. The answer lies in the fact that they are still loyal Labour voters, many of them over 80% Labour. So it seems that despite the Sunday Star-Times' dire warnings of a moral backlash, the urban Labour heartland seems not to have been dissuaded by Labour's alleged "PC social engineering" (78% immoral, according to the Centre Church). Similarly, some of the "moral" booths may actually have been affluent neighbourhoods (keen on National's tax cuts) rather than Bible Belt. A case in point is Ohariu Valley Road: only 1% for United Future, but a solid 60% support for National.

There are a lot more trends (such as the distribution of the Green vote, and the potential link between education and (im)morality) and anomalies (an outbreak of republicanism in Maungaraki!) to discover, but I'll leave it for now. For those who want to crunch the numbers further, you can download the Excel file (just over 1MB). Update: I've now mapped the results.


At 3:26 pm, September 23, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very interesting analysis. I was chuffed to see that my booth of choice (Newtown, Wgtn South Salvation Army Hall) was very close to the depths of sinfulness. I can now wallow happily in my depravity.


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