Auckland, 16 March 2021 – In 2018, Ipsos New Zealand began tracking the main problems facing New Zealand. In February 2021, three in five (60%) New Zealanders rated housing as a major problem; more than double the number of other problems. Although housing consistently a major concern, this latest survey hit the highest level since the survey began.
The Ipsos New Zealand Issues Monitor asked 1,000 New Zealanders to vote, from a list of 20, the three most important problems facing the country and the ability of the country’s political parties to best manage these issues. The New Zealand Issues Monitor has been running since February 2018.
The top three issues facing New Zealanders in February 2021 are
housing / housing prices, followed by
poverty / inequality and inflation / cost of living.
Other highlights of the main findings include:
- When coming to
housing, Aucklanders are more worried (67%) when compared to the rest of New Zealand (57%).
- The Government’s performance rating improved at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and despite the decline in February 2021, it remains higher than pre-pandemic levels.
- The Labor Party continues to be regarded as the most capable of tackling most of the problems New Zealanders face, except environmental problems and
problems facing Māori in which the Greens and the Māori Party favored respectively.
- Although housing is a major problem in New Zealand, only 22% of Australians consider it to be the top problem, with the economy ranking top (37%)
Key Problems New Zealanders Face:
In November 2020, concerns about
housing / housing prices reached the highest level since tracking began (53%). February 2021 saw a further increase in concerns, with three in five (60%) now considering housing & housing prices as the main problem facing New Zealand. At the regional level, 67% of Auckland residents consider this a major problem, compared to 57% of people living outside of Auckland.
Two in five (42%) New Zealanders consider Labor as the party best able to tackle the problem.
Poverty / inequality is considered a major problem by more than a quarter (28%) of New Zealanders and has been in the top 5 issues since tracking began in 2018. More than half (52%) of New Zealanders believe that the Labor Party is best able to manage the problem.
A quarter (24%) of New Zealanders consider this
inflation / cost of living a major problem, with a higher concern for those under 50 (28% vs. 18% of those aged 50+). Women (29%) were also more likely to worry about this problem than men (19%). A year ago, in March 2020, the Labor Party and the National Party were seen as capable of dealing with this problem with a similar proportion of respondents. Since then, however, the gap has widened, and now the Labor Party (45%) is seen as being able to handle this problem twice as much as the National Party (22%).
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the economy is of greatest concern to New Zealanders. Concerns peaked in May 2020 (47%) and since then have gradually decreased, now to 23%. Men (26%) care more about the economy than women (20%). The Labor Party continues to be seen as the most suitable party to tackle the issue, with nearly half (48%) of New Zealanders supporting it.
Health care / hospital consistently gets a place in the top 5 issues faced by New Zealanders. Less than a quarter (23%) of New Zealanders chose it as one of their main problems. Women were more likely to be concerned about health care / hospitalization (27% vs. 20% of men), as were those aged 50+ (30% vs. 19% of those under 50). New Zealanders continue to view Labor as the most capable of tackling the problem (55%).
In addition, New Zealand residents aged 50+ have a higher crime / legal concern (19%) than those under 50 (14%). In terms of unemployment, this concern is more common among those under 50 (17% vs. 9% of those aged 50+).
Since the last wave in November 2020, the Labor government performance ranking has decreased significantly from 7.3 from 10 to 6.8 from 10. Despite this decline, this latest ranking is still higher than the pre-pandemic ranking. In terms of key demographics, women and those under the age of 35 are more likely to rate government highly.
New Zealand vs. Australia
Just as concerns about the economy that skyrocketed in New Zealand during the peak of the pandemic then gradually eased, the same is the case in Australia, where concerns about the economy peaked in September 2020 (56%) and are now at 37%. The economy, however, remains a major problem in Australia, whereas in New Zealand it has dropped to fourth with health care.
When looking at the similarities between the top 5 issues in New Zealand and Australia, the economy (NZ 23% vs AU 37%), the cost of living (NZ 24% vs AU 27%), and health care (NZ 23% vs AU 35%) are the problems. general.
Important differences with other top issues for the two countries include:
- Housing is a major concern for 60% of New Zealanders (issue # 1) whereas it is a concern only for 22% of Australians (issue # 6)
- Poverty / inequality is a major concern of 28% and is the # 2 problem in New Zealand. In Australia, this is a concern of 17% and is problem # 8.
- Unemploymentabout twice as worrying in Australia (29%, issue # 3) versus New Zealand (14%, issue # 8). This problem increased significantly in both countries during the pandemic; however, concerns have decreased at a much slower rate in Australia than in New Zealand.
Commenting on the Problem Monitor, Carin Hercock, Managing Director, Ipsos New Zealand, said: “The fact that the problems surrounding housing and housing affordability are now higher than New Zealand’s concerns surrounding our economy in May last year, when the country was facing the unknown impact of the global pandemic, is of significant concern. While housing issues are soaring, it is positive to see the number of New Zealanders worried about unemployment declining and this is in stark contrast to problems relating to Australia where unemployment is the third highest problem. “
Amanda Dudding, Director of Research, Public Affairs, Ipsos New Zealand, added: “We can all see that housing is a major issue in the media and this survey confirms that it also worries many New Zealanders. Although his importance diminished during and as soon as our New Zealand was locked in, he is back and bigger than ever. Comments from New Zealanders on how to solve the problem varied widely from increasing supply to limiting rents, managing interest rates and introducing a capital gains tax. “
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