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Kiwis’ Expectations About Their Standard Of Living

Xmas Poll – Kiwis’ Expectations About Their Standard Of Living Gloomiest Since 1991, But Optimists Still Outnumber Pessimists

"Christmas cheer may be a tad chillier this year for a good number of New Zealanders with one in four saying 2008 will be worse than 2007 and about the same number saying their or their family‟s standard of living will be worse next year than this,” says a UMR Director, Tim Grafton, about findings from the company‟s pre-Xmas poll*.

“Even though optimists still outnumber pessimists, expectation about standards of living is the gloomiest since records began in 1991. And older people are the most pessimistic with more expecting their standard of living to be worse next year than expect it to be better,” he said.

Every December since 1991 UMR‟s nationwide telephone poll has asked New Zealanders whether they think next year will be better than this year, whether they expect their standard of living to be better, whether they expect the economy to be better and whether they expect unemployment to rise, fall or stay the same. This is the longest running continual polling series of its type in New Zealand.

Standard of living One in four New Zealanders (26%) expect their or their family‟s standard of living to be worse in 2008 than this year. This figure is higher than for any other year except the year records began in 1991 when 35% expected their standard of living to be worse the following year. However, more people (40%) expect their or their family‟s standard of living to be better in 2008.

Even so, the net outlook for standard of living (better less worse) at 14% is the second worst on record – in 1991 the net outlook was 2%. Expectations about outlook also differ significantly by age and gender. 64% of those under 30 years say their or their family‟s standard of living will be better next year compared to 18% of those over 60 years who say that. “In fact, more older people think their or their family‟s standard of living will be worse off next year (28%) than think it will be better (18%) though about half (51%) think it will be about the same,” Mr Grafton said. 44% of males say they will be better off compared to 36% females. UMR Research Limited 2

The Year Ahead 46% of New Zealanders‟ are optimistic about 2008 saying the year will be better than 2007 compared to 27% saying it will be worse and 15% saying there will be no difference. Net optimism (better less worse) at 19% is down on the 30% recorded last year. It also ranks as the fourth least optimistic year since records began in 1991. The most pessimistic outlook was recorded in 2005, the only year when pessimists outnumbered optimists with net optimism at -5%. Younger people are also far more optimistic about next year than older ones with 60% of those under 30 saying 2008 will be better than 2007 compared to 33% of those over 60 years.

Economic Outlook A driver of the generally more pessimistic projections for next year may well be the economic outlook. 42% expect the economy to be worse and 30% expect it to be better giving a net economic outlook of -12% a marked turn-around on the 3% recorded last year. Apart from 2005 when the net economic outlook was -31%, this year‟s is the second worst on record and only the second time the net economic outlook has been negative. Again the economic outlook is better among younger people with 44% of those under 30 years saying that the economy in 2008 will be better compared to 23% of those under 60 years.

Unemployment Rate Most people (52%) expect unemployment to remain the same next year with only 25% expecting them to go up and 19% expecting them to go down. This suggests that despite the relatively gloomier outlook that people expect the low level of unemployment to be unaffected by the economy in the year ahead.

For further Information: Tim Grafton, Director 473-1064 or 027-270-9084 *Results are based UMR Research‟s nation-wide omnibus survey, a telephone survey of a nationally representative sample of 750 New Zealanders 18 years of age and over. The margin of error for sample size of 750 for a 50% figure at the „95% confidence level‟ is ± 3.6%. Fieldwork for the most recent results was conducted from 6th to 10th December 2007 at UMR Research‟s national interview facility in Auckland.


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