When compared to other countries around the world, New Zealand has been found to be less racially prejudiced during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a new study.
Research by Massey University has examined the relationship between social media use and prejudice towards foreigners, in particular Asians, and beliefs about Covid-19 in multiple countries.
The study found New Zealanders showed less racial prejudice toward Asian people than those in the United States, Spain and Italy during the pandemic.
Lead researcher Stephen Croucher has put the results down to two key reasons, the main one being varied Governmental responses.
“The key things we’ve found thus far in the US, New Zealand, Spain and Italy is that New Zealanders generally tend to score lower on prejudice toward Asians during the Covid pandemic than Spaniards, Italians and Americans,” says Mr Croucher.
“When it comes to government generally the New Zealand Government has a more centralised response and focus towards the Covid pandemic.”
Mr Croucher says it’s also about how the virus has been labelled in each country.
“Here its Covid-19 or coronavirus. In the US it’s Covid, it’s corona, it’s Wuhan virus, China virus, Kung flu. All of this leads to anxiety and prejudice and uncertainty because people are worried."
The research also found New Zealand’s results differed to other countries because of the media.
“If you look to the other three countries that we’ve studied thus far, their media spectrum is very much from the left to the right, very liberal and very hardcore conservative media.
“In New Zealand I don’t want to say we’re apolitical media, but we’re a little less divergent…which frames the Covid pandemic differently.”
But, Mr Croucher points out, that it doesn’t mean racial prejudice is non-existent in New Zealand.
“Everybody is prejudiced to a certain extent even though we may not want to admit it, so there was of course some, but compared to the other countries we’ve analysed, a whole lot less than the others.”