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New Zealanders’ concerns about housing issues grow

New Zealanders’ concerns about housing issues grow, while New Zealanders are also feeling more positive about the Labour-led government compared to last year when National was in power.


Auckland, 13th September 2018 – New Zealanders have nominated housing (50%) as the most important issue facing the nation in the latest Ipsos New Zealand Issues Monitor, released today. Poverty (32%), healthcare (31%), cost of living (26%) and crime (24%) rounded out the other top concerns.

The Ipsos New Zealand Issues Monitor regularly asks over 600 New Zealanders to select from a list of 20 issues the ones that they feel are the three most important issues facing the country.

While the top three issues in July 2018 are the same as those seen in February 2018, results have increased for all three, indicating increasing levels of concern. These were: housing (50%, up from 41%), poverty (32%, up from 29%) and healthcare (31%, up from 27%).

The latest results also show that New Zealanders and Australians have very similar levels of concern about healthcare (31% NZ vs. 30% AUS) and crime (24% NZ vs. 26% AUS). There were however notable differences with the other top issues for the two countries which were as follows:

• Housing – 50% in NZ (#1 issue) vs. 24% in Australia (#4 issue).

• Poverty - 32% in NZ (#2 issue) vs. 15% in Australia (#8 issue).

• Cost of living – 26% in NZ (#4 issue) vs. 35% in Australia (#1 issue).

• The economy - 9% in NZ (#14 issue) vs. 22% in Australia (#5 issue).

The July results also show that women are more concerned with healthcare (37% of women citing healthcare compared to 29% of men).

With a mean score of 5.4 out of a maximum possible score of 10, the current Labour-led government is perceived to be doing a better job at present than the National government was in July 2017 (4.9).

Labour is also viewed as the political party that is most capable of managing five of the top six issues facing New Zealand today, especially the issue of healthcare - at 41%, Labour’s ability to manage the issue of healthcare is 19 points ahead of National (22%).

Labour is also positioned 26 points ahead of National with regards to managing poverty-related issues in New Zealand (43% believing Labour to be better than National, at 17%). New Zealand First was the only other political party to receive a rating higher than 6 percentage points, this was for their perceived ability to manage crime related issues.

Commenting on the latest New Zealand Issues Monitor, Dr Richard Griffiths, Research Manager, Ipsos New Zealand, said: “We know from media coverage that many New Zealanders are facing challenges relating to the housing market. Other issues such as poverty and healthcare have also been widely reported which is likely to increase New Zealanders’ awareness of these problems. As these problems continue to escalate, the likelihood of our respondents being personally affected by these issues will also have been growing.”

Carin Hercock, Managing Director, Ipsos New Zealand, added:

“The fact that housing is rated as the most important issue by 59% of New Zealanders who have an Income over $100,000, the highest importance rating across all income levels, demonstrates that housing is not just an issue for the poor. Addressing social issues has become more important to New Zealanders over the last 6 months, while the importance of factors such as the economy, unemployment, taxation and household debt have all reduced. We were also interested to see a significant increase in the importance of both environmental concerns and fuel prices during this period. Ipsos is focussed on understanding New Zealanders and the society we live in, so will continue to run our Issues Monitor survey on a regular basis”.

About this Study

A total of 611 New Zealanders over the age of 18 answered New Zealand Issues Monitor questions that were part of the latest Ipsos New Zealand Global Advisor survey which ran from Friday 20th July to Wednesday 25th July 2018. This survey is run approximately 3-4 times per year.

The New Zealand Issues Monitor questions provide all respondents with the opportunity to say what they think are the three most important issues facing New Zealand at the current time. Additionally, people are also able to have their say about which political parties they think are most capable of managing the most significant issues facing our society and also rate the government on its performance over the previous six months.

More broadly, the latest Ipsos New Zealand Global Advisor survey also covered topics that included the Auckland regional fuel tax, cyberbullying, and immigration. This study did not have any external sponsors or partners. It was initiated and run by Ipsos, because we are curious about the world we live in and how citizens around the globe think and feel about their world.

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