The majority of New Zealanders think the government should fund dental care for adults who have lower incomes.
That’s according to the latest round of data from TVNZ’s Vote Compass tool, which has now been used by more than 150,000 people.
People were asked if “the government should cover the cost of dental care for adults with low incomes”.
The majority - 70 per cent of voters - said they somewhat or strongly agreed with the statement, while just 17 per cent were against it.
The rest either didn’t have an opinion or were neutral.
Auckland University’s Dr Lisa Chant says it’s a topic that appears to have resonated with voters.
“I wonder if part of that's about the fact that most people have experienced dental pain,” she said.
“Maybe that means people have a real empathy for people who can't get dental care.”
Darryl Evans, the chief executive of the Māngere Budgeting Services Trust, says dental care is considered a luxury for many.
“Unfortunately [for] our families, if they're hit with dental costs, it's simply beyond even their wildest dreams,” he said.
Evans said many people who are struggling to make ends meet opt to have teeth taken out instead of repaired, as it’s more cost-effective.
Breaking it down
Green (58%) and Labour (42%) voters are more likely to strongly agree that dental coverage should be provided to low-income adults in comparison to ACT (16%) and National (14%) voters.
To take part in Vote Compass, a survey tool which shows users how their views match up with party policies, go to tvnz.co.nz/votecompass.
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 58,669 respondents who participated in Vote Compass from August 30, 2020 to September 8, 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.