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Nice Work If You Can Get It: Research shows growing number of MPs come from the well-to-do

Summarised by Centrist 

According to Bryce Edwards, if NZ’s politicians appear to be all the same as each other, it may be because they increasingly are in terms of their affluent backgrounds. Yet, ironically, they are a more diverse bunch than ever before in terms of gender, ethnicity, and sexuality.

The MP Career Report of the 54th Parliament outlines a homogenisation of backgrounds, indicating a Parliament of the Rich. Key findings suggest that a majority of MPs come from relatively wealthy families, attend higher socio-economic schools (generally Decile 7 or above), pursue university education, and often obtain postgraduate qualifications. Notably, Auckland Grammar is the biggest contributor to parliamentary representation. 

Edwards says: 

“Leaders like Chris Hipkins and Chloe Swarbrick have more in common with the likes of Winston Peters and David Seymour than they do with their voters.”

Also, more than a third of MPs today had their pre political career in government. Many are lawyers, and a growing number are emerging with backgrounds in media and communications while a teaching background is becoming less common. 

These trends coincide with an increasing sense of detachment from Parliament by the average Kiwi voter.  

Editor’s note: How surprised should we be that a majority of MPs have a university education? Politics does, after all, involve running the country.

Read more over at Democracy Project

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