Aug 24, 2008

What Happened To The Social Credit Supporter?

We all know what happened to the Social Credit Party, it became the New Zealand Democratic Party. But what happened to the Social Credit voters from the 1970s and early 1980s? They used to be a force to be reckoned with, getting 20% of the vote in 1981, and in the 1981-84 period they helped keep Muldoon in power. Then Bruce Beetham lost Rangitikei to Denis Marshall and the Party's support was virtually gone. Garry Knapp just didn't have it in him to asume the leadership mantle.
Voting Social Credit used to be a brave act. You would be a subject of derision. You used to be accused of owning a Skoda or wearing crimpalene suits. People would quiz you on Social Credit's economic policies and how they made sense. Since they did not make sense they were impossible to explain.

The Social Credit Party that achieved 20% support was a reflection of support for Bruce Beetham and a failure of both Labour and National to capture the support of a significant group of people. What did they believe in (other than Bruce Beetham)?

Bob Jones answers this question in a North and South article published in March 1988 (pp40-41). We summarise the average Social Credit supporter

middle aged or older male, living in a rural town, believing in financial conspiracies which they perceive lie behind the world's monetary and economic systems. Not one of them was 'intellectual' and 9 out of 10 members did not have the slightest understanding of Social Credit economics. They are often social misfits.

There we have it, the clue to where the average Social Credit voter has gone. Which Party is build around the personality cult of its leader? Which Party believes in conspiracy theories, often of a financial nature? Which Party draws its support from economic illiterates who live largely outside the main centres?

NZ First. That is where they have gone.