Political compass – policies versus practice

Here is a Political Compass done for parties competing in the 2017 New Zealand election.

New Zealand Political Parties 2017 including ACT, National, United Future, Labour, Māori, Mana, New Zealand First, The Opoortunities Party and GreenThere is some political commentary plus this explainer:

If significant policy shifts occur during the campaign, some chart positions, based on speeches, parliamentary voting records and manifestos, may alter accordingly.

So it is based on pre-election policies. This doesn’t not necessarily match with what parties do after the election, especially once they are in power. All three parties in Government, Labour, NZ First and Greens, have had to compromise on their policies.

Note that Political Compass is an international test of political positions, so doesn’t fit entirely with New Zealand politics.

This compass has been posted at Reddit: Political compass of NZ parties according to politicalcompass.org


Lol if this is correct then the American political parties must be piled on top of each other in the top right corner.


I honestly hate these graphs. PoliticalCompass is definitely the most overrated and overused. Questions that can be interpretted in different ways, or questions that you agree with but the “HOWEVER” is left out of the question. Creates a really 1D portrait of political ideologies and the landscape, however.


Lol at ACT being New Zealands most authoritarian party, when they are the closest we have to loopy libertarians.

Whoever dreamed this up is an idiot with no understanding of New Zealand politics.


This is really inaccurate. ACT supported same-sex marriage, a referendum to legalise marijuana and voluntary euthanasia. They’re clearly a socially libertarian party. TOP called for a universal income for young people. They took most of their votes off the Greens. That isn’t economically right wing at all. And they were the only party campaigning to raise the drinking age. Hardly libertarian leaning.

This may in part be a problem with party policies versus how David Seymour promotes himself and ACT.


Half of those parties have gone.

Act are more libertarian than National on drugs, euthanasia, and most social issues.

Poorly calibrated axis too, when our two main centrist parties aren’t centred on the graph.


The point of the political compass is to compare between countries. Centering them all on each countries middle would make that impossible.

But compared to other countries, positioning New Zealand’s two major parties well to the right seems odd. They are widely considered here to be largely fighting over the centre here, and that would be considered a fairly moderate and left leaning centre by international standards.

I think Greens would be much further left in their social policies, and much less libertarian given how much they seem to want to impose controls on things.

The Political Compass raises more questions than providing answers.

I did the test in 2014 and this is my result:

That puts me close to the Maori, Mana and Green parties and a long way left of Labour and especially National. Thay’s very funny – and flawed.

How do the parties measure up now, nearly half way through the term?

Political Compass

I’ve retested myself on the Political Compass – I’m in similar position to last time.

My Political Views
I am a center-left moderate social libertarian
Left: 2.17, Libertarian: 1.17

Political Spectrum Quiz

This similar to where I was last time, and very close to the world and the New Zealand averages which doesn’t surprise me.

I’ve tried to give honest and accurate responses but it’s not perfect. It’s more of a theoretical measure that doesn’t take into account local conditions and whether you support pragmatic politics (I do) or are more of a stickler for ideology.

My Foreign Policy Views
Score: -1.53

Political Spectrum Quiz

On the left side are pacifists and anti-war activists. On the right side are those who want a strong military that intervenes around the world. I scored: -1.53

My Culture War Stance
Score: -4.6

Political Spectrum Quiz

Where are you in the culture war? On the liberal side, or the conservative side? This scale may apply more to the US than other countries. I scored: -4.6

Compared to the New Zealand and world averages:

Political compass

My Views
 All Quiz-Takers (1,415,713)
 New Zealand (7,115)

New Zealand Political Parties 2011

Political compass parties 2011I definitely don’t share NZ Green Party political ideals despite being closest to them on the compass. I share some environmental ideals but not their socialist interventionist proposals.

Perhaps I have similar ideals but different ideas on how to achieve those ideals.

Close to David Cunliffe

In interesting part of last week’s Vote Chat last week was when Cunliffe was asked to indicate where he thought his political leanings where on a chart that shows Left-Right on the x axis and Libertarian-Authoritarian on the y axis.

DC is the spot he marked for himself. That’s interesting, I have done a test on this for myself at Political Compass and  was placed quite close to the same position – although I have to say it would have been a little to the right.

Also interesting is where this compares to a pat compass done for the 2008 election:

Is Cunliffe in the wrong party! Or maybe we just get too obsessed with labels and alignments.

I suspect Labour has since been dragged somewhat from their 2008 position, but it’s hard to know where to.

Going back to the Cunliffe chart – he was also asked where he thought Labour was positioned – he indicated all of the bottom left quadrant – and where National was positioned – he indicated the whole of the top right quandrant.

That’s very odd, as if they are complete opposites with no overlap. Goff’s done laps around the whole course. The current National government has been called Labour-Lite. Both major parties have been called Tweedledum and Tweedledee.

I think it’s simply an example of where a politician can be captured in a fake world of  perceived ideological polarities. In reality most of us have much more in common than we have differences.

I might be close to David Cunliffe on one theoretical chart but I feel quite different to him as far as priorities and approach to politics and current issues goes.