Ipsos NZ Issues Monitor July 2020

This report highlights the key issues faced by New Zealanders and how this has changed over time. Additionally, this report covers the following: • Performance of the government as perceived by New Zealanders • Ability of different political parties to manage different issues • Top 10 issues: New Zealand vs Australia • People’s views on keeping the border closed

The author(s)

  • Amanda Dudding Director, Public Affairs Research
  • Carin Hercock Managing Director
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There are signs recovery has begun but concerns for the economy and unemployment remain high.

Auckland, 09 July 2020 – Concerns surrounding the economy and unemployment skyrocketed to unprecedented heights in May 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. While they remain in the top 3 issues facing New Zealanders, there are some signs of improvement, with the economy dropping 7 percentage points and unemployment 10 percentage points. Housing rounds out the top 3 issues.


The Ipsos New Zealand Issues Monitor asked 1,000 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. The New Zealand Issues Monitor has been running since February 2018.


The top three issues facing New Zealanders in July 2020 are the economy, followed by housing / cost of housing and unemployment. Healthcare / hospitals, poverty / inequality and Inflation / cost of living occupied the fourth, fifth and sixth positions respectively.


Other highlights from the key findings 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%) 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%) and two weeks mandatory quarantine in a government managed facility (21%) 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% to 83% as alert levels have dropped from Level 4 to level 1.

The author(s)

  • Amanda Dudding Director, Public Affairs Research
  • Carin Hercock Managing Director

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