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According to New Zealanders New Zealand’s biggest problems are still Economic Issues (41%) and the World’s most important problems are again Economic Issues (30%)

In New Zealand, a cross-section of 1,001 men and women aged 14 or over were interviewed by telephone in December 2014. Respondents were asked: “Firstly, 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?” 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).

Just before Christmas, Economic issues (41%, unchanged since August 2014) are still clearly the most important problems facing New Zealand and the biggest problems facing the World today are also Economic Issues (30%, up 1%) now just ahead of War & Terrorism/ Security Issues (29%, down 6%) according to the latest Roy Morgan Research conducted in December 2014.

New Zealand views on Problems facing New Zealand

When asked about the most important problem facing New Zealand, 41% of New Zealanders mention some kind of Economic issue. This is unchanged from August 2014 and still well ahead of Government/ Public policy/ Human rights issues (21%, up 2%), Social issues (20%, down 4%) and Environmental issues (6%, unchanged).

The most important Economic issues facing New Zealand include Poverty / The gap between the rich and the poor (20%, up 2%), Economy/ Financial crisis/ Recession/ Inflation/ Exchange rate/ High dollar (6%, down 3%), Unemployment/ Job security (6%, unchanged) and the Cost of living/ Increasing prices/ Financial hardship/ Household debt (5%, up 1%).

Other important issues mentioned by New Zealanders are the Government/ Politicians/ Leadership/ Government spending (8%, up 1%), Housing shortage/ Affordability (6%, up 2%), Social apathy/ Lack of values/ Lack of empathy/ Intolerance (4%, down 1%) and Environmental Issues/ Degradation (3%, up 1%).

New Zealand views on Problems facing the World

The biggest World problems are now Economic issues (mentioned by 30% of New Zealanders, up 1% since August 2014), followed by War & Terrorism/ Security (29%, down 6%), Social Issues (14%, unchanged) and Environmental issues (12%, up 1%).

Of the Economic issues facing the World mentioned by New Zealanders the most important are Poverty/ The gap between the rich and poor/ Imbalance of wealth (16%, down 1%), the Economy/ Financial crisis/ Recession (6%, up 2%), Cost of living/ Increasing prices/ Financial hardship/ Household debt (3%, unchanged) and Over-population (3%, unchanged).

Among the War & Terrorism/ Security issues facing the World mentioned by New Zealanders included Wars and Conflicts/ Unrest (12%, down a large 11%), Terrorism (8%, up 4%) and Religion/ Religious Conflict (7%, up 2%).

Other important issues are Health Issues (7% up 7%), Social apathy/ Lack of values/ Lack of empathy towards others/ Intolerance (6%, down 2%), Climate change/ Global warming/ Ozone layer/ Greenhouse effect (6%, up 1%) and Greed (4%, up 2%).

Gary Morgan, Executive Chairman, Roy Morgan says:

“The election of John Key and his National-led Government to a third term in late September has made little difference to the issues New Zealanders regard as important Economic issues (41%, unchanged since August) are once again the most important problems facing New Zealand. The main Economic issues are Poverty/ The gap between the rich and the poor (20%), the Economy/ Financial crisis/ Recession/ Inflation/ Exchange rate/ High dollar (6%) and Unemployment/ Job security (6%).

“Government/ Public policy/ Human rights issues (21%, up 2%) and Social issues (20%, down 4%) are also mentioned by large numbers of New Zealanders, but only a few respondents mention Environmental issues (6%, unchanged). The most important problems frequently mentioned in these areas are Government/ Politicians/ Leadership/ Government spending (8%), Housing shortage/ Housing affordability (6%) and Social Apathy/ Lack of values/ Lack of empathy towards others/ Intolerance (4%).

“When asked about the most important problem facing the World New Zealanders are very evenly split between Economic issues (30%, up 1%) and War & Terrorism/ Security issues (29%, down 6%). Both of these categories are well ahead of Social issues (14%, unchanged) and Environmental issues (12%, up 1%). The largest Economic issues mentioned include Poverty/ The gap between the rich and the poor/ Imbalance of wealth (16%) and Economy/ Financial crisis/ Recession (6%). The largest War & Terrorism/ Security issues mentioned include Wars & Conflicts/ Unrest (12%), Terrorism (8%) and Religion/ Religious conflict (7%). Clearly incidents like the so-called ‘Sydney siege’ which resulted in the deaths of two civilians in the Sydney CBD recently add to the sense of unrest and concern about transnational terrorism in the world.”


These findings come from a special New Zealand Roy Morgan survey conducted with New Zealanders aged 14+ asked what are the most important issues facing New Zealand and the World today.

In New Zealand, a cross-section of 1,001 men and women aged 14 or over were interviewed by telephone in December 2014. Respondents were asked: “Firstly, 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?” 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).


For further information:

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Gary Morgan:

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Michele Levine:

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+61 411 129 093

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Most Important Issues Facing New Zealand - December 2014

Most Important Issues Facing the World - December 2014


Most Important Problem Facing New Zealand

New Zealand

July
2013

Oct
2013

Feb
2014

May
2014

Aug
2014

Dec
2014

%

%

%

%

%

%

Poverty/ The Gap Between Rich & Poor/ Imbalance of Wealth

15

13

16

18

18

20

Economy/ Financial Crisis/ Recession/ Inflation/ Exchange Rate/ High Dollar

13

11

10

8

9

6

Unemployment/ Job Security

13

11

7

8

6

6

Cost of Living/ Increasing Prices/ Financial Hardship/ Household Debt

7

6

5

5

4

5

Low Wages

1

1

2

2

2

2

Need to Increase Exports

1

1

*

2

1

2

Foreign Ownership/ Selling our Assets

1

3

2

1

1

1

^Christchurch Recovery & Rebuilding

1

1

*

1

1

*

TOTAL ECONOMIC ISSUES

51

45

42

44

41

41

Government/ Politicians/ Leadership/ Government Spending

7

8

8

6

7

8

Housing shortage/ Housing affordability

3

6

3

5

4

6

Immigration/ Refugees

2

1

2

2

2

2

Benefits Given to the Maori/ Inequality Between Maori and Other Ethnic Groups

1

1

1

1

1

1

Education

1

2

3

3

4

1

Health Issues/ Disease/ Obesity/ Poor Health

1

1

1

1

1

1

Not enough people/ People leaving New Zealand

*

1

1

1

1

1

Health System/ Shortage of Doctors/ Health Services

1

*

1

1

1

*

TOTAL GOVERNMENT/ PUBLIC POLICY/ HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUES

15

19

19

18

19

21

Social Apathy/ Lack of Values/ Lack of Empathy Toward Others/ Intolerance

4

4

5

4

5

4

Social Welfare System

2

2

1

1

2

3

Violence/ Gangs

1

2

1

1

2

3

Breakdown of Family Unit/ Family Violence

1

2

2

2

2

2

Child Abuse/ Lack of Care of Children/ Bringing up Children Wrongly

2

2

2

2

3

2

Crime/ Law & Order

1

3

2

2

3

2

Racism/ Racial Tension

3

2

2

2

2

2

Drugs/ Alcohol Issues/ Drink Driving

2

2

4

5

2

1

Greed/ Materialism

1

1

1

1

1

1

Youth Issues such as Behaviour/ Pregnancies/ Crime/
Drinking/ Drugs/ Lack of Discipline

2

1

1

1

3

1

TOTAL SOCIAL ISSUES

18

20

21

21

24

20

^Christchurch Recovery & Rebuilding

1

1

*

1

1

*

Christchurch Earthquake & Damage

*

-

*

*

-

-

TOTAL CHRISTCHURCH ISSUES

1

1

1

2

1

*

Environmental Issues/ Degradation

1

3

4

2

2

3

Climate Change/ Global Warming

1

1

2

1

2

2

Environmental Pollution/ Water Pollution

*

1

1

2

1

1

(Other) Natural Disasters/ Earthquakes/ Tsunamis/ Floods/ Volcanic Eruptions

3

1

2

1

1

*

TOTAL ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES (INCLUDING CHRISTCHURCH)

7

6

9

8

6

6

Other

1

*

*

*

-

*

Can’t say

8

10

8

10

10

12

TOTAL

100

100

100

100

100

100

*Less than 1%. ^ (Christchurch Recovery & Rebuilding included in both Economic & Environmental Issues). 

Most Important Problem Facing the World

The World

July
2013

Oct
2013

Feb
2014

May
2014

Aug
2014

Dec
2014

%

%

%

%

%

%

Poverty/ The Gap Between Rich & Poor/ Imbalance of Wealth

17

16

18

16

17

16

Economy/ Financial Crisis/ Recession

15

17

8

7

4

6

Cost of Living/ Increasing Prices/ Financial Hardship/ Household Debt

3

3

3

4

3

3

Over-population

4

3

4

3

3

3

Food Shortages/ Feeding the People

3

2

2

3

2

1

Unemployment/ Job Security

4

3

1

1

1

1

TOTAL ECONOMIC ISSUES

45

44

36

34

29

30

Wars & Conflicts/ Unrest

7

10

11

12

23

12

Terrorism

2

2

2

2

4

8

Religion/ Religious Conflict

4

3

7

4

5

7

Peace/ Lack of World Peace

2

1

3

2

3

2

TOTAL WAR & TERRORISM/ SECURITY ISSUES

14

16

22

20

35

29

Social Apathy/ Lack of Values/ Lack of Empathy Toward Others/ Intolerance

7

5

9

7

8

6

Greed

2

4

2

3

2

4

Violence

2

1

2

1

2

2

Crime/ Law & Order

2

1

1

1

1

1

Drug/ Alcohol Issues/ Drink Driving

1

1

1

1

1

1

Racism/ Racial Tension

*

1

2

1

1

1

Lack of Religious or Spiritual Values

1

2

1

1

*

*

TOTAL SOCIAL ISSUES

16

14

16

15

14

14

Climate Change/ Global Warming/ Ozone Layer/ Greenhouse Effect

6

7

5

6

5

6

Environmental Issues/ Changes/ Degradation

2

2

1

1

1

3

Famine/ Hunger/ Starvation

3

4

2

3

2

2

Environmental Pollution

1

1

2

3

2

1

Natural Disasters – Earthquakes/ Tsunamis/ Floods/ Volcanic Eruptions

2

1

1

2

1

*

TOTAL ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES

13

14

12

14

11

12

Health Issues/ Disease/ Obesity/ Poor Health

1

1

1

2

*

7

Government/ Politicians/ Political Unrest/ Instability/

Greedy & Corrupt Governments

4

3

4

4

3

2

Education

1

1

1

2

2

*

TOTAL GOVERNMENT/ PUBLIC POLICY/ HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUES

6

5

5

7

4

9

Energy Crisis/ Fuel Shortage/ Need Renewable Energy Sources

*

1

1

1

1

1

Shortage of Resources/ Consumption of Resources

1

1

1

1

1

*

Water Shortage/ Clean Water

1

1

*

*

1

*

TOTAL ENERGY/ RESOURCE ISSUES

2

2

2

2

2

1

Other

1

1

*

1

*

*

Can’t say

3

4

7

7

5

5

TOTAL

100

100

100

100

100

100

*Less than 1%.


Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. The following table gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. The figures are approximate and for general guidance only, and assume a simple random sample. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate

40%-60%

25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%

1,000

±3.2

±2.7

±1.9

±1.4

1,500

±2.6

±2.2

±1.5

±1.1