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Forever Kiwi – Surveying New Zealand values

Forever Kiwi – Surveying New Zealand values

Most New Zealanders are proud to be Kiwi and want to live in New Zealand for the rest of their lives.

The 2005 New Zealand Values Survey, conducted by the Centre for Social and Health Outcomes, Research and Evaluation (SHORE) in Auckland and the School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work in Palmerston North, is part of the World Values Survey which aims to provide cross-country comparisons.

Of almost 2500 people over the age of 18 asked in a random telephone survey, nearly 70 percent said they were very proud and one-quarter said they were quite proud to be a New Zealander.

Those surveyed were asked to pick a number from one to five - one being very committed to spending most of the rest of their lives in New Zealand and five not very committed. 78 percent chose one or two, 11 per cent chose four or five and the remainder were neutral.

Those aged between 18 and 24 were less likely to be committed to living in New Zealand (66 per cent), than tertiary educated people (75 percent) and those with primary education (80 percent). Regardless of their level of committment all respondents were asked what factors they considered important to a decision to live in New Zealand.

A good public health system topped a list of eight factors in their decision with 96 percent considering it was important. A high quality natural environment was second, considered by 94 percent, and a good work/life balance and good education for children were factors for 93 percent.

A low crime rate was a factor for 92 percent of those committed to staying in New Zealand, 82 percent deemed high employment important, while low poverty and possible earnings were a factor for 79 and 77 percent of respondents respectively.

“ Only three factors were significantly different between those who were committed to staying in New Zealand and those less committed,” sayd Professor Sally Caswell, Director of SHORE which carried out the survey. “Those very committed to spending the rest of their lives here are significantly more likely to value a high quality natural environment, a good work/life balance and New Zealand’s artistic and cultural heritage.”

The survey is one part the country’s most substantial study of the nation’s political, social and moral opinions.

A principal investigator in all of the three previous New Zealand Values Surveys in 1985, 1989 and 1998, Dr Paul Perry, a senior sociology researcher at the Palmerston North campus, says the survey is carried out through universities in more than 60 countries.

Dr Perry says the information gathered from the surveys is crucial to the country’s understanding of what New Zealanders think and feel about their lives and their country.

University researchers will use the information to analyse: the amount of information individuals have on government and politics; how responsive they believe central and local government are; whether confidence in the Government and the public service is changing; the changing support for declaring New Zealand a republic; how connected people feel with their neighbours, community, and other social groupings; what areas they think the Government should spend more money on; and whether economic growth has priority at the expense of the environment.

Created: 15 July, 2005


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