Roy Morgan Research updates its polling on what the real issues are. They are dominated by ‘Poverty and the gap between the rich and poor’, ‘House prices & Housing affordability’ and ‘Housing shortages & Homelessness’ as the vote nears

Roy Morgan Research updates its polling on what the real issues are. They are dominated by ‘Poverty and the gap between the rich and poor’, ‘House prices & Housing affordability’ and ‘Housing shortages & Homelessness’ as the vote nears

Content provided by Roy Morgan Research

Our latest research shows Poverty and the gap between rich and poor, House prices and Housing affordability and Housing shortages and Homelessness are the key issues for New Zealanders voting in the upcoming New Zealand Election.

This news is based on independent research carried out with over 1,000 New Zealanders over the last few weeks.

New Zealanders concerns dominated by Poverty and the gap between the rich and poor, House prices & Housing affordability and Housing shortages & Homelessness as New Zealanders get set to vote in NZ Election

New in-depth research exploring the concerns of New Zealanders found in the run-up to the election concerns about Poverty and the gap between the rich and poor, House prices & Housing affordability and Housing shortages & Homelessness have grown on the home front in recent months although the key global issues remain war, terrorism and poverty.

Most important problems facing New Zealand

Quantified thematic analysis of the verbatim responses of a nationally representative sample of 1,003 New Zealanders found the economy and things economic were once again the biggest theme to emerge.

Economic issues like poverty and the gap between the rich and poor and housing issues including house prices, housing affordability & housing shortages and the homeless or homelessness have all grown in importance for respondents over the past few months and dominate the issues facing New Zealand with early voting for the election starting next week on Monday September 11, 2017.

Economic Issues were mentioned by just under 28% of respondents (up 1% since May) with an additional 26% (up 3%) mentioning Housing/Homelessness Issues as the most important problems facing New Zealand again totalling more than half of all respondents.

Three further themes emerged:

Social issues like Crime, Social welfare, Youth issues were mentioned by 16% of New Zealanders;

Government, Public Policy and Human rights issues were mentioned by a further 11%; and

Environmental issues, dominated by Climate change, were mentioned by 8% of New Zealanders.

Most important issues facing the World

When considering the wider World, the largest themes to emerge were concerns related to War & Terrorism. These issues including Terrorism, War and Conflicts, Religious conflict and Lack of World peace were mentioned by just over 25% of New Zealanders and a further 23% mentioned Economic issues these figures were virtually unchanged from earlier in the year in May.

The third biggest theme was Environmental issues mentioned by over 17% of New Zealanders followed by Social issues on just under 15% and Government/Public policy/ Human rights issues mentioned by 11% of respondents as the biggest problems facing the World.

Source: Roy Morgan interviewed a representative cross-section of 1,003 New Zealanders in August 2017.

The previous charts above show the quantified thematic analysis of New Zealanders concerns. Respondents were asked: What do you think is the most important problem facing the World today? and then What do you think is the most important problem facing New Zealand today?

Poverty/The gap between rich and poor is again the single biggest issue facing New Zealand

Single issue analysis of the responses shows the specific issue of greatest concern for New Zealand is Poverty and the gap between rich and poor, mentioned by just under 17% of New Zealanders. This is more than any other single issue and up nearly 3% on the figure in May.

The next two most often mentioned single issues were:

House prices/Housing affordability mentioned by 16% (up 2%) of New Zealanders; and

Housing shortages/Homelessness mentioned by just over 10% (up 1%) of New Zealanders;

Once again a key difference between New Zealand and Australia is that Unemployment is mentioned by only 1% of New Zealanders compared to 9% of Australians asked the same question in May.

Source: Roy Morgan interviewed a representative cross-section of 1,003 New Zealanders in August 2017.

Terrorism, Poverty/ The gap between rich and poor, and Climate change the top World problems

The single biggest World problem is Terrorism which was mentioned by just under 15% (up 4%) of respondents ahead of Poverty and the gap between rich and poor which was mentioned by over 14% (up 1%) of respondents and Global warming/Climate change mentioned by just under 13% (up 4%) of respondents.

The largest Social problem facing the World is Social apathy/Lack of values which was mentioned by just under 8% (up 2%) of respondents while concerns have lessened about US President Donald Trump now mentioned by 7% of respondents (down 4%) as the single biggest problem the World faces.

Michele Levine, CEO Roy Morgan, says New Zealands Election is a contest between the fresh ideas provided by new Labour Leader Jacinda Ardern and the steady hand of a National Government which has presided over nine years of relatively strong growth:

New Zealanders head to the polls in under two weeks to elect a new Government and the key issues for electors are once again Poverty and the gap between the rich and poor mentioned by just under 17% of respondents as the biggest problem facing New Zealand and the related Housing issues of House prices & Housing affordability (16%) and Housing shortages & Homelessness (10%).

The latest Roy Morgan New Zealand poll released in mid-August showed new Labour leader Jacinda Ardern has revitalised the Opposition and given Labour a real chance of defeating the incumbent National Government led by new Prime Minister Bill English.

Jacinda Ardern has reiterated the Labour commitment to tackling New Zealands housing issues by building 10,000 houses a year; Housing remains a huge issue in New Zealands largest cities of Auckland (where House prices 21% is more of an issue than Homelessness 9%) and capital city Wellington (where House prices is actually less of an issue than the national average at 14% and Homelessness at 14% is a great concern).

In addition Jacinda Ardern has emphasised the importance of improving the economys productivity and reducing poverty and inequality by investing in people; Labours pledge to provide free tertiary education is a key plank of this policy.

In contrast, the incumbent National-led Government led by Bill English has emphasised the strong period of economic growth it has presided over New Zealand has consistently been one of the worlds fastest growing developed economies in recent years. At a recent election debate Bill English described the choice at this election as being between the vagueness and uncertainty of a Labour-led Government or building on our economic strength under National.

When it comes to the World, War & Terrorism mentioned by over 25% of respondents, remains the biggest problem with New Zealanders worried most about Terrorism (15%) following a spate of terrorist attacks earlier this year and Wars & Conflicts (6%) are also a huge problem with the rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula a big concern for many.

Other prominent issues include Poverty and the gap between rich and poor mentioned by 15% of New Zealanders as the biggest problem facing the World and Global warming /Climate change which is mentioned by 13% of New Zealanders up from 9% in May. In contrast only 2% (unchanged) of respondents mention the issue as the most important problem facing New Zealand.

Before New Zealanders head to the polls in just over two weeks Roy Morgan will be undertaking a more detailed analysis of this important survey particularly as it relates to the key issues in New Zealand analysed by political affiliation an important resource for understanding what is driving voters to decide who to vote for.

The research was conducted in New Zealand, during August 2017 with a representative sample of 1,003 men and women aged 14 or over. Respondents were asked: What do you think is the most important problem facing the World today? and What do you think is the most important problem facing New Zealand today?

These findings come from a special Roy Morgan study of New Zealanders attitudes towards issues facing New Zealand and the World in the future. The research conducted was both qualitative (in that people were asked to use their own words) and quantitative (in that the open-ended responses were analysed and coded so that the results could be counted and reported as percentages).

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

We welcome your comments below. If you are not already registered, please register to comment.

Remember we welcome robust, respectful and insightful debate. We don't welcome abusive or defamatory comments and will de-register those repeatedly making such comments. Our current comment policy is here.


Comment Filter

Highlight new comments in the last hr(s).

Is there really a housing crisis when up and down the country there are properties for sale for less than 100K? Consider this place in Bluff for 75K:

Okay it's pretty cold there but it is close to the beach! I could imagine living there, writing my political manifesto, while a cold southerly wind whips the shoreline.Tramping in Stewart Island sounds appealing too.
Too cold? Head further North to Murupara, just a 45 minute commute to Rotorua:

Want to live in a bigger town, head to Wanganui:

All these properties would be around $100 a week in mortgage costs on the total purchase price. And it's not like these places are ghost towns or hell holes. People do actually live and work and enjoy life in these places I am sure. It's interesting that social apathy/lack of values is perceived as a most important World problem rather than a NZ problem.

The real problem people seem to have in the world today is a feeling of exclusion. Africans feel excluded from Europe and NZers feel excluded from Remuera. This has been a trend for awhile now, reducing exclusion in all areas of life. Women were excluded from men's activities, LGBT people were excluded from many things. Now no more, no one should be excluded from anything, be it a job role or a bathroom or a desirable suburb.

Zach, even Lorde admits we have a housing crisis and claims that she contributed to it when she bought her Ponsonby pad for $3M 2 years ago.

I can see why Lorde likes Ponsonby as i have been working there recently. It has quite a different dynamic, full of interesting and beautiful people. It's actually pretty vibrant and inclusive while being exclusive at the same time.


I sure hate the word 'vibrant'. Our local council discovered the word about 10 years ago and can barely write a sentence without using it; we have vibrant shopping streets and vibrant parks and vibrant public toilets and I'm just waiting for the disused cemetery at the top of my road to be declared vibrant.

It is a peculiar word as it has a different meaning depending on who is wielding it. People might not actually like being described as vibrant. For instance, if someone wrote, "the vibrants are restless tonight". Describing a people or group as vibrant is pretty patronizing even when used in a positive way.

If someone wrote "the vibrants are restless tonight", they are more likely illiterate than discriminatory.

I think it is the opposite, they are super-literate, in that they have created a noun out of an adjective. English is not for them a staid and set in stone language but rather a living and evolving thing. I'm pretty sure it is acceptable English usage.

Very soon the word vibrant is going to drop out of the lexicon as anything other than derogatory. Dynamic is a similar word but totally different. Many places could be described as vibrant but not necessarily dynamic. Is vibrant simply an energy without a practical purpose?

Oh, I like this vibrant discussion.
'Restless Vibrant' is going to be my next social media handle, thanks.

Murupara is a gang town. They were giving away sections down there a few years back so the owners could get out of posting the rates.

I've read the same thing about parts of Papakura and Wanganui and other places. Is the problem really that widespread? Seems to me we have a gang problem rather than a housing problem.

I would say that people don't want to live in Bluff or Murupara because they don't want to be living away from friends, family, work opportunities, higher salaries, events, concerts, cities, better education, higher quality of healthcare and larger communities of people.

Auckland is too expensive for Aucklanders, move to Tauranga or Hamilton, now Tauranga and Hamilton too expensive for Tauranga-roians and Homiltonians, move to Wanganui, you know what is coming next.


The key issue for most people to have enough income for a decent living and to ensure a promising future for their children..And they are all at the mercy of the governments and the politicians to make that happen. They hope, every three years, and this time is not any different..

I think the problem we are facing now is that places where capital gain is likely have become too expensive. The likelihood of capital gain is a measure of desirability. People don't want to be forced to buy in a place that is not going up in value. However often people are wrong. Hobart was considered a backwater but is now a hot property market - I called that over a year ago.
If we are going to continue with Globalism there is likely money to be made still. Entire cities have gentrified and will continue to do so. The satellite cities will be the next targets, are already, and then all the cities and towns in the desirable Anglo diaspora countries. Even Bluff will become desirable.

Do we want a $2.75 per day tax cut or a Labour Govt that will make a real difference?

If you put it that way, a bird in the hand is worth to in the BUSH

Interestingly enough, these all seem to be things National promised action on but ultimately let Kiwis down on. I voted for them for some of these reasons, and their campaign promise around them.

These are not Key issues because Key did nothing about them - let's call them crucial issues as these are just some of the things that have disgusted voters including former Nat supporters:

Shocking child poverty levels
Tens of thousands of 18 to 25 year olds unemployed
Massive student debt
Thousands of homeless
Under funded police
Under funded health sector
Under funded education sector
Far too many immigrants
Too many offshore buyers from China pillaging our housing stock
Wage increases of less than 1%
Poor productivity
Total NZ debt now over half a trillion
Property sector attacked with bright line, LVR, depreciation etc
The rich getting richer
The middle class beaten down

Your access to our unique content is free - always has been. But ad revenues are diving so we need your direct support.

Become a supporter

Thanks, I'm already a supporter.