ACADEMIC ARTICLE: A comparative assessment of the correlation between voter participation, inequality and income poverty: New Zealand and the United Kingdom
This is a paper I submitted for a Masters-level Politics paper on "Global Inequality and Poverty" in October 2017 (University of Otago). It is rather academic and isn't without its flaws (revision to come at some point!), but it achieved an 'A' (so can't be too terrible!) and highlights an important issue noted following New Zealand's general election in September 2017.
The United Kingdom (“UK”) and New Zealand (“NZ”), have seen a linear decline in voter participation since the 1980s. Over the same period, there has also been a correlative rise in inequality and income poverty, as well as a rise in the cost of housing and a decline in homeownership rates. A likely explanation for the rise in inequality and poverty, was the introduction of neoliberal policies, in both countries, in the 1980s and 1990s. This essay submits that there is a likely relationship between these policies (and consequent rises in inequality and poverty) and voter decline. Consideration is given to general theories of voter participation with emphasis placed on theories that explain non-voter behaviour in terms of socio-economic factors and stresses, as well as voter alienation. The key submission is that poorer voters, or those at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder, vote less, because of particular stresses related to socio- economic standing and/or alienation from political processes.
Voter decline and rising inequality and poverty
Voter participation has been declining in NZ and the UK for some time. From the early 1980s through to 2014, NZ’s voter turnout declined approximately 15%, from 93.7% in 1984 to 77.9% in 2014. Over the same period, voter turnout in the UK, declined approximately 11%, from 76% in the early 1980s, to lows of around 59% in the early 2000s; then rebounding to just 65% in the most recent elections. The trend in both countries is clear: less people turn out to vote today than they did in the early 1980s.
In both countries, income inequality and income poverty have also risen over the same period, with a clear and definite upward trend in both the Gini coefficient (after housing costs), as well as with respect to the proportion of the population living below the 60% median threshold (the “poverty line”). In NZ, the Gini index rose from 0.28, in 1982, to 0.39, in 2016: a more than 11% rise in inequality. Similarly, in the UK, the index rose from 0.27 in 1981 to 0.39 today: a 12% rise over the same period. With respect to poverty, again the same trend is clear: between 1981 and 2015, the proportion of the population living below the “poverty line”, rose by 11% in NZ (to 20%) and 7.4% in the UK (to 21.8%).
In both countries, the measurements for both inequality and poverty, also show an initial, relatively drastic rise, from the late 1980s, that then peaks and stabilises in the late 1990’s or early 2000s. Voter turnout too, while consistently declining from the late 1980s through the 1990s, appears to have then also stabilised (to an extent), in the early 2000s. Although the lowest voter turnout years in NZ’s history, occurred in 2002 (77%) and then 2011 (74.2%), the overall turnout, calculated as an average for elections since 2000, was about 78%. In the UK, similarly, while the lowest voter turnout year was 2001 (59.4%), voter turnout in the three elections since has consistently been around 65%. Certainly, it is the case in both countries, that the rise in inequality and poverty that occurred throughout the 1990s, remains unaddressed today. Voter turnout too, remains low today, compared to what it was in the 1980s. The question is why, and whether the rise in inequality and poverty is causative of voter decline, rather than simply correlative.
A (related) trend: a rise in house prices and a decline in home ownership
Additional and related to these trends, is that over the last twenty years, there has also been a disproportionate rise in housing costs compared to incomes, as well as a decline in home ownership rates. Up until the 1990s, for example, ‘the average New Zealand house price was between two-to-three times the average annual household income’. By the late 1990s, this had risen to four times the average household income and by 2008, this had again risen to ‘around six and a half times’.4 In the period since 2008, we know that house prices have continued to rise substantially, particularly in Auckland, where the house to income ratio is worse again. The UK shows similar trends, and London, like Auckland, has similar, particular, affordability issues. To put this in context, the ‘internationally accepted benchmark’ for affordability, is considered to be three times the median household income, ‘with higher than three considered unaffordable’.5 New Zealand’s ratio, in 2008 alone, sat at more than twice that.
Related to housing un-affordability, has been the decline in home ownership rates. In NZ, in 1991, the average home ownership rate was 73.5%, which can be contrasted with 64.8% in 2013.6 For people on low-incomes, purchasing a home is becoming harder and harder. The essential premise is that, if your parents do not own property, it then becomes extremely difficult to find enough equity for the initial deposit. Added to that, is the high proportion of individuals on low incomes, and the difficulties obtaining a mortgage when there is simply not sufficient income to do so. This is an issue of marginalisation: for those already struggling, housing un-affordability presents an additional challenge. Like income inequality and income poverty, assessing housing affordability or low homeownership rates, gives insight into a significant challenge faced by many eligible voters in both countries.
Possible explanations for the rise in inequality and poverty
In both NZ and the UK, the 1980s saw the introduction of neoliberal reforms, which substantially changed the political and economic environments of both countries. In NZ, this is the period that began with Muldoon’s election to a third term in government, followed shortly thereafter, by the realisation that Muldoon’s “Think Big” policies were failing: the incoming 1984 Labour government, having opened Muldoon’s books, discovered that the country was near bankruptcy. The consequent introduction of “Rogernomics”, and the rise of neoliberal policy, premised on a largely free market growth economy and the minimisation of government economic intervention and subsidies, meant a drastic change in New Zealand’s economic situation. Added to this, in 1991, Ruth Richardson’s, “mother of all budgets”, began a massive attack on government welfare, and meant an ongoing campaign to significantly reduce government spending:
“In what has been described as a ‘blitzkrieg’ of reforms...successive Labour and National governments opened up the financial market, reduced and then removed tariffs and subsidies, privatised a wide range of state-owned assets, encouraged foreign ownership and investment, reformed the public service, deregulated the labour market and narrowed the scope of the welfare state”.7
This was an unprecedented era for NZ: from having been the first democracy to introduce a ‘universal system of welfare’, and where ‘successive governing parties, whether social democratic or conservative’, had up until then, ‘pledged a commitment to full employment and income redistribution’, NZ’s government policies quickly changed, with detrimental impact on its most vulnerable citizens.8 There was a rise in unemployment, from 2.2% in 1980, to 11% in the early 1990s.9 From 1988 to 1994, all but the very highest income group, also saw very large falls in real household income.10 Although incomes improved somewhat between 1994 and 2004, the growth for lower income households (the bottom 20 to 30%) was not at all strong.11 Marsh and Miller note ‘figures from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (1995)’ which show that ‘during the 1980s and early 1990s the income gap rose more steeply in New Zealand than in any other OECD country’.12
The impact of these events can also be clearly seen in the immediate and drastic rise in income poverty (as described earlier), where, in 1987, just 7% of the population had incomes that fell below the 60% median threshold, by 1996 (just 6 short years later), this had jumped to 17%. The poverty rate then continued to rise to 20% by 2002, where it has remained, relatively consistent, since. Inequality too, in terms of the Gini index, rose from 0.27 to 0.37 between 1987 and 1996, and has since climbed gradually to todays AHC Gini of 0.39.
In the UK, the government there too, was responding to ‘stagflation and globalisation’, and neoliberalism was ‘embraced by both major political parties’.13 ‘The period 1979 to 1997 was marked by continuous Conservative rule’, with the Thatcher and Major governments pursuing ‘policies that downgraded the economic role of the state’.14 Despite high and rising rates of unemployment, taxation changes were also introduced, which saw the top marginal rate of income tax ‘reduced from 83% to 40% and the basic rate from 33% to 25%’;15 company tax too, was ‘cut from 52% to 35%’. As with NZ, neoliberal policies relating to ‘privatisation, contracting-out, private finance, etc.’, were also introduced. The UK, as earlier demonstrated, also saw significant rises in inequality and poverty over this period, and as with NZ, these measurements stabilised in the early 2000s, but have remained largely unaddressed through to today.
How does this relate to voter turnout today?
The main decline in voter turnout occurred during the late 1980s and through the 1990s in both countries. This can be linked to the neoliberal reforms that occurred over this period, with significant immediate increases in income inequality and poverty. The fact that voter turnout dropped in similar measure, over the same period, is correlative. Since the early 2000s, income inequality, poverty and voter turnout rates have also stabilised in both countries (with relatively small exceptions). That is, the rises in inequality and poverty and subsequent drop in voter turnout rates, have gone substantially unaddressed. Adding to this equation too, are substantial house price rises in both countries, creating a (likely) consequential decline in home ownership rates, which has largely occurred since voter decline began to stabilise. The assumption is that this is likely to be presenting further economic and social challenges to the UK and NZ’s most marginalised groups (in addition, and related to income inequality and poverty). The submission is that there is a causative correlation between inequality / poverty and voter decline, with housing un-affordability and declining home ownership rates, being a further part of the picture as to why voter turnout rates remain consistently low in both countries, and have not recovered to pre 1980s rates.
General theories on voter participation
The degree to which the correlation is causative, is difficult to quantify: ’the act of voting is one of the least well-understood phenomena in the study of politics’;16 ‘despite several decades of serious thought, scholars are still trying to understand that which motivates citizens to participate in the electoral process by casting a vote’.17 Political scientists have, however, identified three main theories with respect to why some individuals vote and some do not. These include rational choice theories; sociological theories; and political efficacy theories. The relevance of these theories, is that they may assist in understanding whether and how, factors relating to poverty or the increase in inequality, since the 1980s, may impact on an individual’s decision not to vote.
Rational choice theories
‘Theories of rational choice argue that voters weigh up the costs and benefits of their actions’.18 Professor Jack Vowels (Victoria University), describes rational choice theories as ‘cognitive theories, based on the assumption that people...think and calculate what is in their best interest’.19 It is the idea ‘that people may participate politically because they evaluate the costs and benefits of such an investment of time, money, and energy, and they see a real advantage in getting their interests met by participating’.20 As a corollary, however, ‘those who do not participate may not do so because after weighing and evaluating the costs and benefits, they see no advantage’: ‘their interests are unlikely to be met or they will have no impact on the outcome by voting and therefore it is not worth their precious time and energy’.21
There are a number of issues with these theories however. Firstly, there is the assumption that people who are dealing with significant poverty related stresses, actually have or take the time to make an evaluative decision involving a cost / benefit analysis. This is arguably, an elitist assumption, and it may simply be the case, that those who face immediate stresses, such as those related to simple survival, simply do not engage in political thought; or that if they do, it is minimal; or it may be that in the struggle for survival, some individuals are dismissive as to the immediate relevance of ‘politics’ in their lives. Additional or related to these issues, can also be the influence of addictions or mental health issues, which lower socio-economic groups are statistically more likely to deal with, and for whom employment may be difficult.22 If survival is the immediate focus, it may be assumed that long-term, bigger-picture concerns, upon which a cost / benefit analysis for voting might be made, may not be possible for some people, whose focus is or needs to be on meeting immediate needs alone. This is an argument that also relates to sociological theories and those related to apathy, or political efficacy theories of voter alienation (discussed shortly).
A further, related issue with rational theories, is why, when the ‘influence of a person’s vote is so small, the likelihood of benefits from it so low, and the costs in time and effort of casting a vote - particularly an informed vote - so relatively high’ would ‘self interested people bother going to the polls’.23 While most people do vote, perhaps because of reasons to do with ‘civic duty and belief in the value of democracy, among others’,24 these factors may not always be applicable to people for whom other stressors (perhaps related to poverty or as a consequence of an unequal society) prevent an ability to engage in this way.
Sociological theories look at the socio-economic characteristics that affect voting behaviour, and generally ‘assume that those with fewer resources (low education qualifications, low income) are less aware of the relevance of politics to their lives, because they lack basic information and skills’.25 ‘Social factors may also influence turnout by limiting the access of voters to political information and may affect their party identification’.26 Various studies have found turnout to be higher among those with higher incomes and education; those who are professionally employed; older voters; and those with closer community ties (among others).27 For those at the bottom of socio-economic statistics, a lack of knowledge, education and skills, are likely to provide an additional barrier to voting, alongside well-known stressors related to poverty, as discussed briefly above.
Political efficacy has been defined as ‘the feeling that individual political action does have, or can have an impact on the political process’: ‘citizens are likely to participate in the political process to the extent that they feel their participation can make a difference’.28 Political efficacy theories have also been used to ‘argue that people alienated from the political process are less likely to vote’, with alienated voters feeling ‘that their vote will not make any difference, that politics has little influence in their lives and that the main parties do not address their concerns’.29 ‘Essentially, such alienated individuals have no political hope, faith or confidence; they are politically sceptical, highly cynical, and ever wary and watchful of government, politicians and parties’.30
Alienated (eligible) voters are different from apathetic voters. People who are apathetic do not care: ’apathy denotes a lack of feeling of personal responsibility, a passivity and indifference for political affairs’; ‘it denotes the absence of a feeling of personal obligation to participate’.31 Alienated individuals, by contrast, ‘do care but feel estranged or disaffected from the system or somehow left out of the political process... voting does not address their interests or their needs and so participation has no meaning for them’.32 Alienation, ‘denotes an active rejection of the political system and thus, political participation is negative towards the political world’.33
There are a range of factors for why some people become alienated from the political process. For some, ‘the lack of community structures that encourage participation’;34 or a lack of income; or a lack of time (related to excessive employment hours because of low-income jobs), may mean the lack of ‘opportunity to participate in meaningful civic activities’, which in turn, can contribute to a lack of ‘belief in the efficacy of participation’.35 ‘For others, chronic and widespread unemployment may breed a lack of confidence in the salience and legitimacy of institutions, political leadership, and politics in general, particularly among youth’.36 These are all factors that relate back to inequality and poverty, which are measurements of the potential participation of disadvantaged groups in society: where you are poor, you are less likely to be able to participate as fully in society, as compared to more affluent groups, and the potential for alienation rises.
For those at the bottom of socio-economic statistics, where inequality and poverty is high within a society, there is breeding grounds for perceptions around a lack of equality in terms of governance, including that higher income groups and wealthier individuals may be benefiting at the expense of less-advantaged groups. Cynicism, around the likelihood of a government assisting those in poverty, or addressing the issue of inequality in a meaningful way, may therefore be a consequence, with political alienation following.
Outside of poverty and inequality factors, are those related to racism and peoples interactions with government bureaucracy, courts and civil service, which may also play their part. Glasberg and Shannon note that ’problems stemming from racism’ may be related to that experienced culturally, as well as in the political process’, both of which may lead to alienation in certain circumstances.37 With respect to perceptions around the fairness of day-to-day government operations, Miles notes that these ‘inform people about the value that the system of government places on individuals within the system’:
“When people receive unfair treatment in their interactions with these institutions [courts, civil service, and bureaucracy] either because of corruption or their lack of political clout, the message they receive is that ordinary citizens do not count in their political systems. As such, we should expect lower electoral participation in elections... those who think that their government is not committed to true equality would likely abstain, rather than endorse such a system of government.”38
Vowles also comments, to similar effect, on cynicism in political processes: ‘When citizens begin to express doubts about the fairness of procedures, they are questioning the rules of the game rather than behaviour of the players’, and he further notes that ‘declining trust in government’ may also have ‘more serious consequences, such as increasing alienation’.39
While separate, these concepts are again still related to inequality and poverty: those at the bottom of socio-economic statistics - those without or with the least power in society, because of their economic situation and the particular stressors that often go with that (to varying degrees depending on the individual) - are likely to be engaging more frequently and negatively with government agencies.40 Related to a lack of power, they are also likely to be impacted most by the effects of racism and political unfairness. While acknowledging that there is likely to be an interplay within these factors, and that these factors may also stand alone, the underlying theme is that, where ‘one group of people is systematically disadvantaged by government processes’,41 or where processes within society are systemically unfair, including both directly and indirectly related to matters of inequality or poverty, individuals may ‘feel less valued by their government and become less supportive of the system’.42
This alienation may then be reflected in voter turnout. For some, voting can be viewed as ‘tacit political system endorsement - an act which signifies consent to be governed’.43 That is, voting ‘expresses validation of the system’.44 For people alienated by or from a political system, the refusal to participate (not voting) reflects a refusal to endorse or validate the system from which they are alienated.
Alienation within the NZ political system
NZ’s neoliberal reforms had a particularly ‘profound effect’ on public confidence and trust in the government. Marsh and Miller note the ‘radicalism of the reform agenda and poor management of its implementation by successive governments’; ‘the vulnerability of New Zealand’s Cabinet-dominated political system to virtual takeover by small, ideologically motivated oligarchies’; and ‘the failure of the two mass parties to either retain established identities of support or adapt to the emergence of new identities, leaving both groups of voters with a sense of neglect and betrayal’: ‘Despite broad public agreement with the view that New Zealand had an over-regulated and over- protected economy, there was little discernible support for the more radical measures that were introduced by successive reforming governments’.45 Confidence ‘in Parliament’, had already been low prior to the reforms: Marsh and Miller, note a 1975 survey figure, which showed public confidence at just 33%. By 1988, this had fallen a further 10%, with a later survey finding that ‘two-thirds of voters believed that politicians and public servants acted without due regard for democratic principles’.46 In essence, there was a failure by both Labour and then National, to ‘court public opinion’, which resulted in a ‘crisis of democratic legitimacy’ as ‘conventions of accountability and consultation were seriously eroded and the degree of public trust in the legitimacy of the parliamentary system correspondingly reduced’.47
Vowles notes that the ‘majority of voters’, did not believe that public servants cared much about what people thought, and there was a strong public perception that the NZ government was largely being run ‘by a few big interests’.48 The NZ Labour Party was also seen as little different to National, with the neoliberal reforms initially begun under Labour’s watch. Prior to the reforms, even in 1983, the NZ Labour Party had already begun to be seen as a middle-class, rather than a working-class party (as its origins were),49 and many low-income workers and families, may have already felt unrepresented even prior to the reforms. The consequent effect of the reforms though, as noted earlier in this essay, was the substantial rise in poverty and inequality, over a relatively short period of time, and the further betrayal of this working class, or lower socio-economic voters. Voter decline, following the reforms, may be a consequence of this alienation.
Do the poor vote less: using political participation theories
Glasberg and Shannon, writing on Political Sociology, suggest that ‘those who are poor’, may find that ‘time is in short supply because they must devote their time to the unrelenting search for the resources for survival’.50 ‘Many, for example, juggle two or more part-time jobs just to make ends meet, putting a roof over their families’ heads and food on the table’.51 Under those circumstances, they note that ‘political participation would seem to be a luxury indeed’.52 One of the crucial issues that therefore needs to be asked, is whether the poor really have time to consider; to research; to read; to educate on political processes; and to then actively make the decision to vote. If day-to-day stresses, related to survival, are the immediate and overwhelming concern, then there is a lessened likelihood of participation in political life, either because of a lack of time and resources to comprehend political processes, or because of apathy related to ones economic situation.
Rational theories promote an elitist position, that suggests that there is time for those already struggling for survival, to step outside of their immediate lives and to look at a bigger picture: it fails to account for socio-economic factors that may make this impossible. Sociological theories acknowledge that a lack of resources and consequent lack of knowledge, education and skills, may contribute to the failure of those from lesser socio-economic backgrounds to engage in the political process. Political efficacy theories with respect to alienation, acknowledge that political alienation may play a part in the decision, by some individuals, not to vote: this essay has considered how factors related to alienation, may also be directly and indirectly related to inequality and poverty.
What is clear, is that there was a substantial rise in both poverty and inequality in the 1990s, in both NZ and the UK, likely because of the neoliberal reforms in both countries. As these high levels of poverty and inequality stabilised in the 2000s, house prices have also risen substantially and home ownership rates have declined.53 The consequent effect has been the creation of a large class of people, who today, continue to live with the economic reality of poverty, as both NZ and UK societies have grown more unequal and people have been further marginalised by the inability to buy housing. Voter participation declined during this period, and has not again risen to levels seen prior to the neoliberal reforms. Socio-economic factors; sociological theories and political efficacy theories, related to voter alienation, provide significant explanation for why the poor may not vote; this is certainly reflected in the decline in voter participation as inequality and poverty rose, and the (relatively) unchanging statistics in both camps, as the factors that led to the rises in inequality and poverty, remain unaddressed through to today.
The correlation between voter decline and rising inequality and poverty, with respect to their occurrence in time, is clear. That these negative statistics, coincided with neoliberal reforms in both NZ and the UK, and that the negative statistics in both instances remain unchanged today (albeit now stabilised), is suggestive of causation. There is a large class of people, in both countries, who remain affected by low, below “poverty-line” incomes; inequality remains high, which is likely to impact upon perceptions around the fairness of the societies in which we live; and lessened abilities to buy housing are likely to further impact on perceptions of fairness. Voting theories around participation, including factors to do with low socio-economic status, sociological theories and voter alienation, potentially explain why people affected by low incomes and societal injustice, may not vote. To determine causation definitively, will always be difficult, and a larger study on this particular issue, is needed. There are however, factors here, that suggest causation and not simply correlation.
1 Statistics New Zealand, Voter Turnout, accessed 4 October 2017, http:// www.stats.govt.nz/browse_for_stats/snapshots-of-nz/nz-social-indicators/Home/Trust %20and%20participation%20in%20government/voter-turnout.aspx ; UK Political Info, General election turnout 1945 – 2017, accessed 12 October 2017, http:// www.ukpolitical.info/Turnout45.htm. Enrolled voter data has been used to show the trend. While ideally, the inclusion of both enrolled and non-enrolled voter data would have been preferable, difficulties obtaining full and complete datasets, prevented this.
2 Institute for Fiscal Studies, Incomes in the UK, accessed 15 October 2017, https:// www.ifs.org.uk/tools_and_resources/incomes_in_uk and Ministry of Social Development (prepared by Bryan Perry), Household incomes in New Zealand: Trends in indicators of inequality and hardship 1982 to 2016, July 2017, p.88 http://www.msd.govt.nz/ documents/about-msd-and-our-work/publications-resources/monitoring/household- income-report/2017/2017-incomes-report-wed-19-july-2017.pdf
3 Institute for Fiscal Studies, Incomes in the UK and Ministry of Social Development (prepared by Bryan Perry), Household incomes in New Zealand, p.117
4 NewsHub (Tony Field), Housing through the decades: what is affordable? 4 October 2016, http://www.newshub.co.nz/home/money/2016/08/housing-through-the-decades- what-is-affordable.html
5 New Zealand Labour Party Press Release, Auckland house prices now 10 times incomes, 7 July 2015, http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1507/S00124/auckland-house- prices-now-10-times-incomes.htm
6 Official figures are not yet available for 2017 (there is expected to be a new census in NZ next year), but a further decline in homeownership rates is expected, reflecting the continuing and considerable rise in house prices over the last few years.
7 Ian Marsh and Raymond Miller, Democratic Decline and Democratic Renewal: political change in Britain, Australia and New Zealand, Cambridge University Press, 2012, p.253
8 ibid., p.238
9 ibid., p.253
10 Ministry of Social Development, Household incomes in New Zealand, p.66 11 ibid.,
12 Marsh and Miller, Democratic Decline and Democratic Renewal, p.253
13 Marsh and Miller, Democratic Decline and Democratic Renewal, p.71
14 ibid., p.86
16 David K. Levine and Thomas R. Palfrey, “The Paradox of Voter Participation? A Laboratory Study” (2007) 101(1) American Political Science Review 143, p.143
17 Matthew R. Miles, “Turnout as Consent: How Fair Governance Encourages Voter Participation”, (2015) 68(2) Political Research Quarterly 363, p.363
18 Ioannis Kolovos and Phil Harris, Voter apathy in British elections: Causes and Remedies, University of Otago Research Archive, 2005, p.3
19 Vowles, Jack, Peter Aimer, Jeffrey Karp, Susan Banducci, Raymond Miller and Ann Sullivan, Proportional Representation on Trial: the 1999 New Zealand general election and the fate of MMP, Auckland University Press, 2002, p.100
20 Glasberg, Davita Silfen and Deric Shannon, Political Sociology: oppression, resistance and the state, California, 2011, p.98
22 Mental Health Commission, National Indicators 2011: measuring mental health and addiction in New Zealand, May 2011, from p.31, http://www.hdc.org.nz/media/199059/ national%20indicators%202011%20measuring%20mental%20health%20and %20addiction%20in%20new%20zealand.pdf
23 Vowles, Aimer, Karp, Banducci, Miller and Sullivan, Proportional Representation on Trial, p.100
26 Kolovos and Harris, Voter apathy in British elections, p.3-4
27 Kolovos and Harris, Voter apathy in British elections, p.3-4
28 Janine Dermody, Stuart Hanmer‐Lloyd, Richard Scullion, “Young people and voting behaviour: alienated youth and (or) an interested and critical citizenry?” (2010) 44(3) European Journal of Marketing 421, p.424
29 Kolovos and Harris, Voter apathy in British elections, p.4
30 Dermody, Hanmer‐Lloyd, Scullion, “Young people and voting behaviour”, p.425 31 Kolovos and Harris, Voter apathy in British elections, p.3
32 Glasberg and Shannon, Political Sociology, p.102
33 Kolovos and Harris, Voter apathy in British elections, p.3
34 Glasberg and Shannon, Political Sociology, p.102
37 ibid., p.107
38 Miles, “Turnout as Consent”, p.364
39 Vowles, Jack, Peter Aimer, Susan Banducci and Jeffrey Karp, Voters Victory? New Zealand’s first election under proportional representation, Auckland University Press, 1998, p.154
40 Without intending to trumpet negative stereotypes often associated with the poor or those living in poverty, those in poor economic circumstances, which may include those troubled by mental health or addiction (of whom the poor feature more statistically - see Mental Health Commission, National Indicators 2011) - do have a significantly greater degree of (often negative) contact with government institutions, compared to the general population, including through social welfare systems; child services; government health and mental health services; and the criminal and family courts, among others.
41 Miles, “Turnout as Consent”, p.365 42 ibid.,
43 ibid., p.373
45 Marsh and Miller, Democratic Decline and Democratic Renewal, p.258 46 ibid., p.256
47 ibid., p.260
48 Vowles, Aimer, Banducci and Karp, Voters Victory?, p.153
49 Jack Vowles, “Politics” in Paul Spoonley, David Pearson and Ian Shirley, New Zealand Society: a sociological introduction, Dunmore Press, Palmerston North, 1994, p.188
50 Glasberg and Shannon, Political Sociology, p.97 51 ibid.,
53 Jack Vowles has found that there is a significant voting gap between people who own assets and people who don’t: see Down, Down, Down: Turnout in New Zealand from 1946 to the 2011 Election, Paper for presentation at the Annual conference of the New Zealand Political Studies Association, Wellington, 25-27 November 2012, http:// www.nzes.org/docs/papers/nzpsa_2012.pdf