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Election fails to address youth financial wellbeing

Election fails to address youth financial wellbeing

Young people don’t feel included in New Zealand’s financial success and believe inequality is a problem, according to a new survey conducted by Westpac’s Fin-Ed Centre at Massey University.

Massey University researchers Dr Claire Matthews and Dr Jeff Stangl recently surveyed the participants from the centre’s longitudinal study, and the opportunity was taken to ask some election-related questions.

Only 26 per cent said they felt included in the financial direction of New Zealand, while 78 per cent agreed that financial inequality is a problem in New Zealand.

“There were mixed views as to whether the outcome of tomorrow’s election will impact on their financial health, with 34 per cent believing it won’t have an impact, compared to 33 per cent who believe it will. The remainder were unsure,” Dr Matthews says.

To improve their financial wellbeing, young people said the changes that would have the most impact would be lower rent (32 per cent), lower food costs (29 per cent) and a lower tax rate (23 per cent).

“Unfortunately young people don’t feel that things are improving, with only 22 per cent believing that they and their friends are better off financially than a similar group of friends would have been 15 years ago,” Dr Matthews says.

“While 37 per cent were not sure, the largest group, or 41 per cent, did not feel they were better off. These views were also reflected in 45 per cent who are considering moving overseas in the next two years to improve their financial situation.”

Dr Matthews says that no matter which parties form the government after the election tomorrow, some focus needs to be placed on young people’s financial wellbeing.

“It’s unfortunate that 50 per cent of those who have not yet registered to vote are under the age of 30 – this is perhaps why political parties have not focused on youth-related issues during the current election campaign.

“Initiatives that improve financial literacy would help, but more tangible assistance, such as a lower tax rate for those on lower incomes, also needs to be considered. Young New Zealanders should not have to head overseas to get ahead financially.”


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