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What New Zealanders think about Immigration

NEW RESEARCH FROM IPSOS FINDS NEW ZEALANDERS ARE AMONGST THE MOST PRO-IMMIGRATION IN THE WORLD BUT ARE CONCERNED ABOUT THE PRESSURES CREATED.

Auckland, October 12, 2016

New Zealanders are the most likely of the 23 countries surveyed by global market research firm Ipsos to believe that immigration has been good for their local economy, despite concerns about the pressures on public services arising as a result.

A major new survey from Ipsos across New Zealand and 22 other countries provides an insight into how the world has reacted to Brexit as well as their thoughts on key immigration and refugee issues.

The survey, among online adults in New Zealand, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the US, provides the first measure of international public opinion on these pressing issues.

Housing affordability, poverty and the cost of living dominate New Zealanders’ concerns, but these vary by age and political preferences.

Although migration is a hot topic in the EU, New Zealanders are much more concerned about housing affordability.

When asked to nominate the two most important issues facing New Zealand today:

· 48% cited housing affordability, followed by the cost of living (25%) and poverty (21%). Migration was cited by 16%.

· Left-wing voters (34%) and younger people (36% of 18-39 year olds) are more likely to be concerned about the cost of living than right-wing (18%) and older people (14%).

· Right-wing voters (21%) and older people (22% of 50+ year olds) are more likely to be concerned about immigration than left-wing (10%) and younger people (10%).

· People on both sides of the political spectrum are equally concerned about housing affordability.

New Zealanders believe immigration has been good for the economy.

New Zealanders are also the most likely to say immigrants with higher education should be given priority to fill skills shortages and that they make New Zealand a more interesting place to live.

· Despite this, 45% of New Zealanders feel that immigration has made it difficult to get jobs; 53% feel immigrants are pressuring public services; and 54% do not want an increase in immigration numbers.

· Although New Zealand-born people have a positive view of immigration (47% feeling immigration has had a positive effect on New Zealand), New Zealand-born people still have a more negative view of immigration than do immigrants – 31% compared to 24% respectively.

· Immigrants’ views vary depending on how long they have lived in New Zealand and where they came from. Recent, pro-immigration immigrants are more likely to be from India, whereas the long-term immigrants who are mainly from the UK are now less favourable towards immigration.

· Seasoned travellers and immigrants are more open and positive towards immigrants, whereas New Zealand-born and the less travelled are more ‘anti-immigrant’.

Commenting on the findings, Nicola Legge, Head of Public Affairs, Ipsos New Zealand said:

“This survey has confirmed New Zealanders’ place in the world as amongst the most open-minded and accepting of immigrants, despite recent media hyperbole and concerns about the pressures that can arise from large immigration influxes. While we are undoubtedly sheltered from many of the challenging issues facing EU countries, New Zealanders have been shown here to appreciate that the advantages of immigration outweigh the disadvantages.

“However, not all immigrants are alike, and it is fascinating to see that many long-established immigrants to New Zealand, who came here when the country was a very different place, are now themselves feeling less comfortable with the immigration we have been seeing, especially when the traditional, Anglo-Saxon cultures are not involved. This highlights a key factor within the immigration debate, which is that cultural disquiet often underlies people’s concerns, not the numbers coming in per se.”

ends

Notes:

These results are based on an international survey conducted by Ipsos over June-August 2016 with 16,545 adults aged 16-64 interviewed across New Zealand, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the United States.

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