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New Survey Finds Ethnic And Political Divide Opening Over Co-governance

A new study shows the extent to which New Zealanders’ party voting choices are divided on co-governance, Treaty of Waitangi, and racial harmony.

While accusations of playing the race card have emerged in election debates, the Horizon Research study finds that policies to stop co-governance are having an influence on large numbers of those intending to vote for ACT and National, and among males more than females.

The survey also exposes a large divide between Māori and European/ Pakeha voters on co-governance and honouring the treaty of Waitangi (Tiriti o Waitangi).

These issues are being factored into party-vote choices by more than a million eligible voters.

Horizon finds:


· 26% saying stopping co-governance policies is one of the most important issues helping them decide their party vote at the October 14 general election.

· 15% say continuing with co-governance policies is important to deciding their party vote.

Honouring the Treaty of Waitangi

· 23% say Honouring Treaty of Waitangi commitments is an important influence

Racial harmony

The survey also finds 31% saying racial harmony is important to vote choice.


The co-governance, treaty and race related issues are not the top ranked among 41 issues from which those surveyed could select. The top five were health (64%), rising food prices (62%), affordable housing (56%), crime (55%) and education (55%).

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However, at 26%, stopping co-governance is “most important” in helping decide the votes of around 1,036,000 adults.

Continuing those policies influences 603,000.

Stopping co-governance policies has greater influence on men (31%) than women (22%).

Stopping the policies is influencing 35% of voters in households earning more than $150,000 a year, compared with 26% overall and 21% in middle income households ($50,000 to $150,000).

Ending co-governance, expressed through ACT’s “ending division by race” policies, has huge importance to those intending to vote for it: 62%. Just 2% of intending ACT voters say honouring the treaty is a vote-driver and 3% say continuing with co-governance is.

It will also be an important influence for those intending to vote National (40%) and New Zealand First (45%).


There is a large divide between Māori and other ethnic groups.

· 46% of Māori say honouring the treaty is an important influence on their party vote choice, compared with

· 20% of New Zealand European/ and

· 12% of Asians.

Honouring the treaty is important to 36% of Pacific peoples.


At 31% racial harmony has more influence than stopping co-governance (26%) or continuing it (15%).

At 48%, racial harmony is of most influence for those whose ethnicity is “other European” (Europeans other than New Zealand European/ Pākehā).

It is important to 34% of Māori and 30% of NZ European/Pākehā.


Research method

An online survey of adults living in New Zealand aged 18 and older.

Sample sources

Members of two nationwide Horizon Research panels (general population 18+ and Māori population 18+) and a third-party panel (used for source diversity) responded to this survey.

Fieldwork dates

19 to 24 July 2023.

Sample size

1,071 adults overall.


The total sample is weighted on age, gender, personal income, ethnicity, region and 2020 party vote to match the adult population.

Maximum predicted margin of error

±3% at the 95% confidence level.

Population estimates in the report

These are based on the Stats NZ June 2022 population estimate of 3,967,760 people aged 18 or more.

AsianIndianMāoriMiddle Eastern/ArabicNZ European/PākehāOther EuropeanPacific peoplesOther
CO-GOVERNANCE/HONOURING TREATY49%19%33%60%26%50%59%42%56%
Racial harmony31%22%21%34%25%30%48%29%28%
Stopping co-governance policies26%7%18%17%26%28%28%16%44%
Honouring Treaty of Waitangi commitments23%12%22%46%0%20%30%36%13%
Continuing with co-governance policies15%8%10%24%0%14%17%15%13%
N (unweighted)1,0715133183879085  
ACTGreen PartyLabour PartyMāori PartyNational PartyNew Zealand FirstThe Opportunities PartyI don't know
CO-GOVERNANCE/HONOURING TREATY49%63%53%44%65%45%52%43%38%
Racial harmony31%33%27%34%46%30%36%27%26%
Stopping co-governance policies26%62%2%7%14%40%45%9%18%
Honouring Treaty of Waitangi commitments23%2%48%33%58%8%5%26%24%
Continuing with co-governance policies15%3%38%23%39%5%3%24%7%
N (unweighted)1,07115614327548224422598
MaleFemaleAnother gender
Racial harmony31%28%34%39%
Stopping co-governance policies26%31%22%13%
Honouring Treaty of Waitangi commitments23%21%25%39%
Continuing with co-governance policies15%17%12%39%
N (unweighted)1,07153352612
AllLess than $50,000 per year$50,000 - $150,000 per yearMore than $150,000 per year
Racial harmony31%30%30%35%
Stopping co-governance policies26%26%21%35%
Honouring Treaty of Waitangi commitments23%22%25%26%
Continuing with co-governance policies15%10%18%22%
N (unweighted)1,071302481159

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