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Issues Concerning New Zealanders Change Following The First 100 Days Of A New Coalition Leadership

 The latest Ipsos New Zealand Issues Monitor reveals that fewer New Zealanders believe crime / law and order is one of the top issues facing our country.

In 2018, Ipsos New Zealand started tracking the key issues facing New Zealand. In this wave of the Ipsos New Zealand Issues Monitor, we asked 1,000 New Zealanders to select from a list of 20, the three most important issues facing the country and to rate the ability of the country’s political parties to best manage these issues.

Despite slowly trending downwards, the primary concern for New Zealanders remains inflation / cost of living, with 59% of New Zealanders identifying it as a key issue.

Housing / price of housing and healthcare / hospitals related concerns have now surpassed crime / law & order to become the second equal issues at 33%. Crime / law & order has significantly fallen in prominence as an issue, to the fourth highest issue New Zealanders are concerned about at 27%.
The economy remains the fifth highest issue identified by New Zealanders at 25%.

Key findings include:

  • A number of issues have significantly decreased in prominence since the last measure held ahead of the election last year. These include crime / law and order, petrol prices and taxation.
  • However, a number of issues have significantly increased since the previous measure, including transport / public transport (which, notably, is even higher amongst those living in Auckland), Issues facing Māori (again, significantly higher amongst those of Māori ethnicity), unemployment and defence / foreign affairs.
  • Perceptions of whether some issues are important differ significantly between those who voted for parties on the left of the political spectrum, vs those who voted right. The biggest differences are in poverty / inequality, climate change and issues facing Māori, all significantly more likely to be seen as an issue by left wing voters than right wing voters.
  • Different issues are prominent across the generations, too. While inflation / cost of living is the top issue for most New Zealanders, its importance does decrease with age. Healthcare / hospitals shows the opposite trend, while it is ranked 5th for youth, it is the top issue for those aged 65 and over. Housing / price of housing also decreases in level of concern with age. Interestingly, of all the age groups, the oldest is most likely to prioritise climate change.
  • New Zealanders’ overall mean rating of the new Coalition Government’s performance sits at 4.6 – on par with the rating of Labour government (4.7) just before the general election in October 2023. However, there has been a significant increase in the proportion giving a low rating (0-3 out of 10).
  • When asked which political party New Zealanders believe is most capable of managing these issues, National remains to be seen as most capable of managing all five of the top-5 issues: inflation / price of housing, crime / law & order, housing / price of housing, healthcare / hospitals, the economy and petrol prices / fuel. National is also perceived to be best placed to address 15 of the top 20 issues.
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Carin Hercock, Managing Director, Ipsos New Zealand, said: “Inflations continues to dominate the issues worrying New Zealanders, but for the first time we have analysed concerns on issues based on voting in the recent general election. This shows that while those on the political ‘Left’ and ‘Right’ are closely aligned on the top three issues – inflation, housing and healthcare, they are far more polarised when it comes to poverty and inequality, climate change and issues facing Māori.”

Amanda Dudding, Research Director, Public Affairs, Ipsos New Zealand, added: “The differences in the views across generations is really interesting. We tend to think that youth are our eco-warriors, but in terms of the big issues facing our country, climate change is much higher for our older generation. This older generation is also less concerned by inflation and cost of living and more focused on healthcare.”


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