Vote Compass: Majority of Kiwis don’t want to let international students return

Data from TVNZ’s Vote Compass tool reveals most New Zealanders don’t want to see international students return immediately to New Zealand.

Results from 44,703 responses to Vote Compass Aug 30-Sep 3. Chart combines strongly agree/somewhat agree and strongly disagree/somewhat disagree. Source: 1 NEWS

More than half (54%) of the population oppose the idea, the Vote Compass results suggest.

While 29% think New Zealand should let students back in right now, 16% are either neutral or don’t have an opinion.

International students pay as much as six times more to study at our universities than New Zealanders, injecting $4.6 billion into our economy. 

However, Covid-19 and the pandemic’s resulting travel restrictions have stopped them entering the country.

Danny Osborne, a political psychology lecturer from the University of Auckland, says: “I think it’s a good reflection of the general mood in the country right now.”

“Obviously with this recent outbreak people are very concerned about the virus, so bringing more people into New Zealand is just a risk that many New Zealanders aren’t willing to take.”

Breaking it down

National voters are more likely to favour allowing international students back into the country than other voters.

However, Osborne notes Labour (19%), Act (27%) and Green (24%) voters are far less likely to want to allow them back.

“There’s just not much support on the other side for international students to come in,“ he says.

To take part in Vote Compass, a survey tool which shows users how their views match up with party policies, go to

Developed by a team of social and statistical scientists from Vox Pop Labs, Vote Compass is a civic engagement application offered in New Zealand exclusively by TVNZ. The findings are based on 44,703 respondents who participated in Vote Compass from August 30, 2020 to September 3, 2020. Unlike online opinion polls, respondents to Vote Compass are not pre-selected. Similar to opinion polls, however, the data are a non-random sample from the population and have been weighted in order to approximate a representative sample. Vote Compass data have been weighted by gender, age, education, language, region and past vote to ensure the sample’s composition reflects that of the actual population of New Zealand according to census data and other population estimates.