Ipsos NZ Issues Monitor - Fuel price concerns

Despite the pinch of increasing fuel prices New Zealanders feel more positive about the Coalition Government

The latest Ipsos New Zealand Issues Monitor reveals that housing (45%) continues to be nominated as the most important issue facing the nation. Fuel prices (31%), however, are now twice as likely to be a concerning issue than before. The cost of living (29%), healthcare (25%) and poverty (24%) continue to be the other top concerns for New Zealanders.  

The Ipsos New Zealand Issues Monitor regularly asks more than 600 New Zealanders to select from a list of 20 issues the ones that they feel are the three most important issues facing the country. This is the third wave of the Issues Monitor in 2018.

While four of the top five issues have been same as those nominated in July and February 2018, the issue of fuel prices has leap-frogged from 15th position in February to 8th position in July is now in 2nd position, with 31% citing this to be an important issue.

The latest results also show that of the top five issues faced by New Zealanders and Australians, the common issues are housing (45% NZ – #1 issue vs. 23% AUS - #5 issue), cost of living (29% NZ - #3 issue vs. 34% AUS - #1 issue) and healthcare (25% - #4 issue NZ vs. 32% AUS - #2 issue). There were however notable differences with the other top issues for the two countries including:

  • Fuel prices-are twice as concerning in NZ (31%, the #2 issue) than in Australia (16%, the #7 issue).
  • Poverty is more concerning in NZ – 24% in NZ (#5 issue) vs. 15% in Australia (#10 issue). 
  • Crime is more concerning in Australia – 18% NZ (#6 issue) vs. 27% in Australia (#3 issue). 
  • The Economy is more concerning in Australia - 13% in NZ (#10 issue) vs. 24% in Australia (#4 issue).

With a mean score of 5.7 out of a maximum possible score of 10, the current coalition government is perceived to be doing a better job at present than the National-led coalition government was in July 2017 (4.9). This score has increased from 5.4 in July 2018 to 5.7 in October 2018, indicating that New Zealanders are feeling more positive about the coalition government. It should be noted that this survey was conducted just prior to the Jami-Lee Ross events.

Labour is also viewed as the political party that is most capable of managing three of the top five issues facing New Zealand today, namely housing (37% Labour vs. 23% National), healthcare (38% Labour vs. 25% National) and poverty (41% Labour vs. 19% National).

The Labour Party (37%) is also perceived to be stronger compared to National (22%) in terms of communicating the issues they feel are most important to New Zealanders and how they will work to solve them.

However, National is viewed as better equipped in managing the issue of fuel prices (20% Labour vs. 32% National). Both the parties are almost on par in terms of capability of managing the cost of living (30% Labour vs. 32% National).

Carin Hercock, Managing Director, Ipsos New Zealand, said: “Housing, healthcare and poverty were the three issues New Zealanders were most concerned about for our first two waves of the Ipsos Issues Monitor in 2018, however, fuel prices and inflation, which are likely to be closely related, have now leap-frogged healthcare and poverty to be the number two and three issues respectively. Our survey was conducted when fuel prices were at their highest so New Zealanders were obviously feeling the impact and will be welcoming the reduction in fuel pricing being signalled this week. We will continue to monitor the issues that matter to New Zealanders in 2019.”

About this Study 

A total of 610 New Zealanders over the age of 18 answered Ipsos New Zealand Issues Monitor questions that were part of the latest Ipsos New Zealand Global Advisor survey which ran from Tuesday 2nd October to Monday 8th October 2018. This survey is run approximately 3-4 times per year.

The Ipsos New Zealand Issues Monitor questions provide all respondents with the opportunity to say what they think are the three most important issues facing New Zealand at the current time. Additionally, people are also able to have their say about which political parties they think are most capable of managing the most significant issues facing our society and also rate the government on its performance over the previous six months.

More broadly, the latest Ipsos New Zealand Global Advisor survey also covered topics that included Entrepreneurial Spirit, trust levels and Perils of Perceptions. This study did not have any external sponsors or partners. It was initiated and run by Ipsos, because we are curious about the world we live in and how citizens around the globe think and feel about their world.