Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Divided nation?

There has been a lot of comment, for instance, here in the Herald and on Campbell last night, concerning the political division between urban and rural areas of NZ.

It was pretty noticable on the various trips I took out of town (skiing mainly) in the weeks leading up to the election that the towns (small and large) had mostly Labour and Maori party posters, while the bush had National and Act ones (including the huge, and questionably legal, ones on SH1 near Te Kauwhata). I saw only one rural Labour poster - I assumed this must have been Helen Clark's parents' farm?

No big surprise that - how many left wing farmers are there?

I think Labour's loss of seats in places like Napier is quite easily understood as well. Outside the big cities, New Zealand doesn't exactly brim with opportunities for young people. There are no large "knowledge-based" employers outside the university towns and the three main cities (as far as I know - feel free to prove me wrong!) - this means that a lot of young people with aspirations take off to college and don't return. At the same time, the property boom has left a lot of older people with money and time on their hands - and they've tended to migrate to coastal towns with a nice climate (Tauranga being the prime example). So in place of the mixed population these cities would have had years ago, they now have a preponderance of wealthy, conservative, retired and semi-retired people. Who vote National.

I'm not sure what can be done about this. It would possibly be a good plan to take some of the larger public bodies and move them to provincial towns. Maybe expanding the number of universities would help as well, together with some form of incentive to move businesses there (most other countries do this in some form).

I don't think it's a sign of some major national rift though...

1 comment:

Genius said...

But generally speaking it is much more efficient to have everyne living close together -saves on transport and time, puts the right people close to eachother and thus close to jobs and so forth etc etc

The strategy in theory should be to depopulate the "blue states" down to the minimum level to man the land and move everyone to the cities.