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Business leaders launch public opinion panel

27 July 2006

Media Release

Business leaders launch public opinion panel

New Zealand business leaders today launched a new research panel to give people nationwide a chance to help shape public policy.

Called "ShapeNZ", the online survey panel is aiming for a nationally representative population sample.

Panelists' views will help shape policy proposals developed by the New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development.

The Business Council's members employ more than 55,000 people and their $33 billion in annual sales equates to 28% of gross domestic product.

Membership represents a broad range of companies, many in the top 20, and sectors, from agriculture and communications to energy and retail and consultancies.

Business Council Chief Executive Peter Neilson says the council wants the views of New Zealanders from all walks of life to inform major research projects, and benchmark shifts in public attitudes on major issues.

"We want people to help us shape policies we advocate to Government and other decision makers, on issues which have a direct impact on businesses and the New Zealand way of life. In talking with policymakers we know that sound policy advice is much more likely to be taken up when supported by public opinion."

The Business Council is currently involved in research projects on securing long term energy and fresh water supplies, managing waste, dealing with an ageing population, RMA reforms, making the country's vehicle fleet climate friendly and improving the efficiency of residential and commercial buildings.

"We believe it's the first time an organisation like ours has set out to develop a representative national online panel. Initially we expect we will be able to survey representative sub sections of the population, like decision makers, while we aim for a panel of 10,000 or more within a few months."

Member companies are distributing the invitation to join the panel to staff, and in some cases clients, across the country.

In the four hours from launch at 11am today more than 300 had joined via www.shapenz.org.nz and were already answering the first survey questioning them on issues ranging from the firmness of their party voting intentions, to whether or not they believe the country has a secure long term energy supply, if climate change should be taken seriously, and rating New Zealand business on how responsibly it behaves.

The Business Council is contracting external specialist research advice in setting up the surveys.

ENDS

ShapeNZ has its own web site at www.shapenz.org.nz

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