A new survey gauging New Zealanders’ biggest concerns indicates that Kiwis are now more worried about fuel prices than poverty, healthcare and every other issue except for housing.
Just over 600 Kiwis were interviewed in October for the Ipsos New Zealand Issues Monitor, with the results of the survey released this week. The agency provided a list of 20 potential concerns, and participants were asked to choose their top three.
“It is quite surprising in terms of the rate that fuel prices have increased as an issue for New Zealanders,” Ipsos managing director Carin Hercock told TVNZ 1’s Breakfast today. “At the beginning of the year it was sitting way down the list at No.15. And it’s really leap-frogged up to No.2 on the list.”
But it’s important to note that the survey was taken at a time when fuel prices were at their highest, she noted. Since then, petrol prices have dropped.
“There was a lot of social media talk about it, a lot of political talk about it, so people have really started to worry about it,” Ms Hercock said. “I think it’s an issue that people feel in their back pockets, so it’s top of mind for a lot of people.”
It was not a surprise that housing continues to be the top concern for New Zealanders, she added, pointing out that the issue was vague enough in the survey to include people concerned about finding rental properties, up to people hoping to buy a home or keep up with mortgage payments.
But despite retaining the top spot, concerns over housing have dropped slightly over the past year, along with concerns over healthcare and poverty, Ms Hercock pointed out.
“It may be that people think those issues are being addressed and now petrol prices come in,” she explained.
New Zealanders’ least concern out of the 20 options listed was terrorism.
Rounding out the top five concerns for New Zealanders were the cost of living, healthcare and poverty.
A similar Ipsos survey in Australia has shown some similar concerns – with cost of living, healthcare and housing also in the top five. But Aussies are also most concerned about crime and the economy, while petrol prices did not register in the top five.
The New Zealand survey also found that Kiwis find Labour to be most capable of managing their concerns over housing, healthcare and poverty, while National as seen as being more capable at addressing concerns over petrol prices.