Green Party's most and least valuable electorates

Of all the parties I'm examining this week, the Green Party is the most dependent on a handful of seats to deliver the lion's share of its party votes.

For a small party this is both a useful situation to be in - you can narrowly focus your limited resources to maximise your success in those electorates - but it's also a big risk. If, as they did this year, events spiral beyond your control and they start hurting your support, your dependent on a handful of electorates could be disastrous. 

It's no secret that the Green Party does well with young voters, and of their 10 most valuable electorates only Port Hills, Ohāriu, and Nelson have below average populations of 20-29 year old voters. (I haven't had a chance yet to overlay enrolment data for 2017 so in this case am working off Parliament's electorate profiles data for 2014. I'll endeavour to revisit the enrolment data again soon).

When looking at where the Green Party's least valuable electorates are, there's not many surprises here either. With Labour having strong support across the low turnout electorates in West and South Auckland, the Greens haven't really made any traction here. The Greens were also hurt in the Māori electorates where they typically do pick up reasonable levels of support, so to see three of them in the Greens 10 least valuable electorates was a bit of a surprise, though on reflection they would have also been impacted by Labour's resurgence in the Māori seats this election.

The Green Party's strengths are obvious, electorates with plenty of young people, as well as generally urban electorates. It suggests that the oft-touted myth of the Greens depending on urban liberals isn't that far from the truth. Nelson is a slight outlier in that regard in that it'll have more of a rural influence, but looking across the board, the Greens are hugely dependent on urban voters, meaning that when they're making policies that'll impact rural voters, they know that those people aren't likely to be voting for them in meaningful numbers anyway.

This is also where the Green Party's opportunity lies. With such a narrow voter base both demographically and geographically, the Greens need to look for similar electorates to broaden at least the geographic aspect of their support, so that they're less vulnerable to swings in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.

Places like Palmerston North and Hamilton East would be good places to start. With higher than average youth populations, as well as universities, they're both places where, if the Green Party can play down its lack of rural support, there could be more support for them. Other electorates in the mix could include Wigram, Mt Roskill, or Hamilton West, which all have well above average youth voter pools to draw on.