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Awareness Of Asia’s Importance To NZ Continues To Be High

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Awareness Of Asia’s Importance To New Zealand Continues To Be High, Despite Economic Concerns – Asia New Zealand Foundation Survey

March 21, 2013

Most New Zealanders recognise the economic and cultural benefits of maintaining ties with Asia, research from the Asia New Zealand Foundation has found.

More than three-quarters (77 percent) of respondents in the Foundation’s tracking study - New Zealanders’ perceptions of Asia and Asian peoples in 2012 - agreed Asia was important to New Zealand’s future.

That was six percentage points lower than the 2011 survey, but New Zealanders continued to see Asia as second only to Australia in importance. Their perceptions of the importance of North America, Europe and other regions to New Zealand also declined in 2012.

Fieldwork for the survey was carried out in September 2012, when unemployment had reached 7.3 percent - the highest level in 13 years.

Asia New Zealand Foundation’s executive director John McKinnon says the latest results suggest that as economic optimism decreased in 2011, New Zealanders may have shifted their focus inward.

“Nevertheless, these results continue to show high levels of positive feelings about New Zealand’s relationship with Asia, and high levels of warmth towards people from Asia.

“The Asia New Zealand Foundation has been researching New Zealanders’ attitudes towards Asia and its peoples since 1997. The general trend shows that awareness of Asia amongst New Zealanders has increased over time, with some annual fluctuations that are driven by national and international events.”

Seventy percent of those surveyed for the 2012 study agreed it was good for New Zealand’s economy that Asian companies invested in New Zealand businesses, while 15 percent disagreed or strongly disagreed. New Zealanders were slightly less positive about investment from Asia than they were in 2011, when 74 percent of people agreed it was good for New Zealand’s economy. But comparisons with surveys carried out in Canada and Australia in 2012 suggest New Zealanders are more welcoming than those countries of investment from Asia.

The survey also found most New Zealanders (79 percent) were positive about the contributions Asian people made to the economy, and 74 percent believed Asian people brought a valuable cultural diversity to New Zealand.

A strong majority believed exports to Asia (92 percent), tourism from Asia (88 percent), Asia’s economic growth (80 percent), and free trade agreements with Asian countries (79 percent) would have positive impacts for New Zealand over the next 10-20 years. Just over half of those surveyed (51 percent) saw Asian immigration to New Zealand as positive.

Other survey findings:
• When New Zealanders thought about Asia, they were mostly like to mention China first (60 percent), followed by Japan (13 percent) and India (6 percent).
• In 2012, 17 percent of New Zealanders said they saw New Zealand as “part of Asia”, down from 22 percent in 2011.
• Just over half of respondents (57 percent) believed more needed to be done to help young people engage confidently with Asia, and 58 percent believed more needed to be done to help New Zealanders better understand Asian cultures and traditions.
• “Shopping, shops or services” was the main contact point between New Zealanders and people from Asia - 89 percent of people had “a lot” or “some” contact that way. The next most common contact point was through friends or family friends (69 percent).

The New Zealanders’ perceptions of Asia and Asian peoples in 2012 survey was prepared for the Asia New Zealand Foundation by Colmar Brunton. The results are based on 1000 telephone interviews carried out between September 3 and October 1, 2012, and a follow-up online forum. The results have a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percent.

Click here to read the report: 2013_Perceptions_of_Asia.pdf

The Asia New Zealand Foundation is a non-profit, non-partisan organisation dedicated to building New Zealand’s links with Asia through a range of programmes, including business, culture, education, media, research and a Young Leaders Network.


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