Labour’s Diversity

The NZ Herald has done a demographic profile of what the Caucus ccould look like, if they get 47 MPs (an increase of four). This is a useful complement to what the makeup of the Labour List is like. O’Connor complained that non-union heterosexual white males have little chance on the party list – and he was broadly correct on this – only two of the top 30 on the “effective” party lists were non-union heterosexual white males.

Now some will argue this is a good thing, as HWMs are over-represented in electorate seats, and the list is about balancing the overall caucus. This is broadly correct – the list is about overall balance – however it doesn’t remove the frustration felt by HWMs who do not hold an electorate seat. They(correctly) regard themselves as pushing shit uphill to get a winnable list place. And when your party holds very little seats outside the major cities, then a sense of grievance is even more understandable.

Anyway I’ve done a table below comparing the NZ Herald demographics of a possible 47 strong Labour Caucus, to the overall adult population, and measuring which demographics are under and over-represented.

Personally I don’t think it is important to have your caucus exactly proportional to the population. I think there should be diversity, but not quotas. However Labour does take demographics very seriously – women, maori, pacific, unions, rainbow etc al have reps on the list moderating committee.

  No % Pop % Proportionality
Provincial 13 28% 46% 60%
Auckland 16 34% 32% 107%
Wellington 10 21% 10% 223%
Christchurch 5 11% 10% 112%
Dunedin 3 6% 3% 201%
NI 37 79% 75% 106%
SI 10 21% 25% 84%
Union Official 9 19% 0%  
Gay 5 11% 4% 266%
HWM 17 36% 35% 104%
HWF 12 26% 36% 70%
PI 4 9% 5% 170%
Asian 2 4% 8% 53%
Maori 8 17% 12% 142%
Total 47 100% 100% 100%

Looking at the regional breakdown, and Labour is under-represented outside the major cities. Provincial NZ makes up 46% of the population but would be only 28% of a Labour Caucus.

In Auckland Labour is roughly proportional, but Wellington is their tribal home – one fifth of their caucus would be from there, despite it being just 10% of the population.

The NZ Herald says nine of their MP are former union officials. I could argue that in fact it is close to 20, but even if we go with the Herald figures, you have a massive imbalance regardless.

Less than 0.1% of the population have been fulltime unionists. Being a union official is not the opposite of being an employer. The contrast there is employee vs employer.

Somewhere betwene 20% and 40% of Labour’s caucus have been union officials. The equivalent in National would be if 20% to 40% had been employed by Business NZ, or one of the regional employers associations.

Around 11% of the caucus are gay or lesbian. While there is no universally acceoted figure for GLBT prevalance, the Kinsey 10% figure is widely seen as far too high, and most of the recent studies suggest 3% to 5% – I have gone with 4%. So there is an over-representation there.

But that is not to mean that those MPs would be there just because they are gay. Technically 25% of Labour’s front bench are gay – but those MPs Robertson, Chauvel and Street are all clearly (in my opinion) amongst the more effective Labour MPs and are there on merit.

HWMs (heterosexual white males) are predicted to be 36% of Labour’s caucus. And they make up 35% of the population so in fact overall Labour is spot on for HWMs. HWFs are slightly under-represented at 26% of the projected caucus and 36% of the population.

Maori and PI are both over-represented and Asians under-represented.

Once National releases its list, I’ll do a similiar profile of a likely National caucus.

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