Key findings include:
- The top-5 issues currently concerning New Zealanders in February 2023 are inflation / cost of living (65%), followed by housing / price of housing (33%) and crime / law & order (33%), and healthcare / hospitals (27%) and climate change (27%).
- Inflation / cost of living first climbed into the top spot in February 2023 and has continued to trend upwards since then. It is now at the highest level of concern since measurement began in early 2018. The National Party continues to be seen by more New Zealanders (34%) than any other political party as being the most capable of handling this issue. However, this is a significant decrease from the previous wave (40%) while confidence in Labour has risen by 5 percentage points to 31% - closing the gap between the two parties.
- Climate change has risen significantly in prominence as an issue, with more New Zealanders identifying it as a key concern since tracking began in February 2018. As a result, it has re-entered the country’s top-5 issues for the first time since July 2019.
- Concerns about housing remains steady, with 33% of New Zealanders placing it in their top three issues, compared with 60% at its height in February 2021. For the first time since October 2021, more New Zealanders believe that Labour is best equipped to manage the issue (29%, compared to 28% for National).
- Crime / law have also continued to rise in prominence and is now at a new record high (33%). It was also identified as the second-equal issue facing New Zealanders – its highest placing yet.
- While healthcare / hospitals remain in the top 5 (fourth-equal), concerns about the issue have significantly decreased since the previous wave in September 2022.
- The government’s performance rating has stabilised following a steady decline since November 2020.
- When asked which political party New Zealanders believe is the most capable of managing the issues, Labour was seen as most capable of managing 2 of the top 5 issues: housing / price of housing and healthcare / hospitals, while National was seen as most capable of handling inflation / cost of living and crime / law & order.