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Kiwis enter Budget week feeling country on wrong track

16 May 2011

Media release

Kiwis enter Budget week feeling country on wrong track

A new poll shows New Zealanders head into Budget week thinking the country is generally off on the wrong track – but with individuals rating National as being much better than Labour to advance their own economic interests.

A Horizon Research survey of 1,864 people nationwide finds 48.4% of New Zealanders say the country is on the wrong track, 34.6% on the right track, while 17% don’t know.

More generally disapprove of the Government’s handling of the economy (43.8%) than approve (32.8%) while 20.5% are neutral and 2.9% don’t know.

Disapproval is up from 39.4% in March and 32.4% last November. Approval ratings in November were 34.5% and 25.5% in March.

However, when given a list of policy areas and asked which of the political parties, if any, will most effectively advance their own interests in those areas, National scores 43.4%, Labour 28.7% on economic policy.

On employment, health, education, cultural, social and quality of life Labour is seen as better than National.

Weighted to represent the population as a whole, the survey has a maximum margin of error of +/-2.3%.


By occupation, farm owners and managers are the most confident the country is on the right track (69.5% saying its right, 27.1% wrong), followed by business managers and executives (52.4% right, 39.7% wrong).

However, business proprietors and self-employed are evenly split: 41.7% right, 41.4% wrong track.

Some 70.2% of unemployed and beneficiaries think it’s on the wrong track (18.7% right track). Among skilled and technical workers, 46.9% think the country’s on the wrong track, 39% right track.

By party vote, 63% of National voters think the country is on the right track, 21.9% wrong.

Among Labour voters 67.8% think it’s on the wrong track, 15.3% right track.

Among the important group which chose not to vote at the last election, 69.6% think it’s on the wrong track, 8.1% right.


Asked if they generally approve or disapprove of the job the Government is doing in handling the economy, 43.8% disapprove and 32.8% approve.

Some 43.9% of business managers and executives approve (30.6% disapprove, 25% neutral). Among business proprietors and the self-employed 43.8% approve, 35.1% disapprove and 17.9% are neutral.

Among students, some of whom might be affected by indicated changes to students loans policies in this week’s Budget, 56.6% disapprove of current economic management, 28.5% approve while 14.8% are neutral.

Among the large retired, superannuitant population, 42.9% disapprove, 34.9% approve while 20.3% are neutral.


When asked which political parties, if any, would most effectively advance their own interests in the economic area National has 43.4% support, Labour 28.7%.

More people think Labour will better serve their employment interests (35.9%) than National (30%).

Labour is ahead on Social (33.3% to 18.4%), Education (33% to 25.5%), Health (33.5%, 23.8%), Cultural (22%, 14.1%), and Quality of Life (24%, 215%). National is ahead on Political (32.4%, 21.3%).

Among those saying the parties will not effectively advance their own interests in any of these areas, National has 41%, Labour 37%.

Labour National
Social 33.30% 18.40%
Cultural 22% 14.10%
Employment 35.90% 30%
Economic 28.70% 43.40%
Education 33% 25.50%
Health 33.50% 23.80%
Political 21.30% 32.40%
Quality of life 24% 21.50%
None of these 37% 41%


May 12 to 15, 2011

Respondents: 1,845 overall, 1744 in party vote results.

Weighted by age, gender, personal income, personal income, region and party vote to provide a representative sample of the New Zealand population. The maximum margin of error at a 95% confidence level is +/- 2.3%.

Horizon Research invites people to join its nationwide HorizonPoll online research panel based on the profile of the population at the 2006 census. The panel is not self-selected. Less than 5% of the panel is self-enrolled and an iterative rim weighting system, using up to six factors at one time, including party vote 2008, ensures results are robust within the confidence levels stipulated.

Party vote results are expressed as a percentage of the 18+ population.

Results may be used with accreditation to Horizon Research (www.horizonpoll.co.nz).


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