Christchurch – Concerns surrounding the economy and unemployment skyrocketed to unprecedented heights in May 2020 in response to the covid-19 pandemic, according to national research company Ipsos.
While economy and unemployment are among the top three issues facing New Zealanders, there are some signs of improvement, with the economy dropping seven percentage points and unemployment 10 percentage points. Housing rounds out the top three issues.
Three quarters of New Zealanders agreed to keeping the borders closed in the pre-lockdown period in March. Support increased in Level 4 (87 percent) and Level 3 (85 percent) and in Level 1 (the current wave), 80 percent support border closure until the virus is proven to be contained.
The Ipsos New Zealand Issues Monitor asked 1000 New Zealanders to select from a list of 20, the three most important issues facing the country and the ability of the country’s political parties to best manage these issues.
Other key findings from the survey include:
- The Labour-led coalition government’s performance retains a high rating in July 2020 (7.3 out of 10). This is a slight drop from May, where the government received a rating of 7.6 out of 10, the highest rating since winning the 2017 General Election.
- The Labour party is perceived as being the most capable of handling 18 out of the 20 issues facing New Zealanders. Environmental pollution / water concerns and climate change are the two issues where the Green Party is seen as most capable.
- There is strong support (80 percent) for keeping the borders closed until the virus is proven to be contained. Among those in favour of opening borders, there is more support for opening the border to the Pacific Islands than Australia.
- Full elimination in the country where international visitors are arriving from (24 percent) and two weeks mandatory quarantine in a government managed facility (21 percent) are the top two ways that New Zealanders say will give them complete confidence that it is safe to open up borders.
- Ahead of September’s election, New Zealanders’ level of comfort with voting in an election during a pandemic have increased from 60 percent to 83 percent as alert levels have dropped from Level 4 to level 1.