New Zealanders call for a change in government

Almost half of New Zealanders want a change in government and 43% feel that the country is headed in the wrong direction

New Zealanders call for a change in government

The author(s)

  • Jonathan Dodd Ipsos Marketing, New Zealand
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New Zealanders are more than twice as likely to feel it is time for a change in government and those in financially constrained circumstances are clearly feeling that the government is not doing enough, according to a new survey from market and social research company Ipsos.


When asked “With an election coming up this year, do you feel it is time for a change of Government?”:

  • 48% said ‘yes’, more than twice the number saying ‘no’ (19%).
  • A third were undecided.

Government change

New Zealanders  are disappointed by the government’s performance over the past year, with the government earning an average performance score of 4.9 out of 10.

  • Only 11% rated the government’s performance 8 or more out of ten.
  • Almost twice as many (19%) rated the government between zero and 3 out of ten.

Notably, the government has been rated exceptionally poorly by those on in more constrained circumstances, with 33% of retirees and 35% of the unemployed rating the government performance as less than 3 out of 10 (average performance scores of 4.4 and 3.9 respectively).

Goverment rating

Nicola Legge, Ipsos NZ Head of Public Affairs research, says that the government’s neutral score has both good and bad sides for National: “This result shows that the government is failing to inspire or show true leadership, but nor has it hit rock-bottom after its problems with Todd Barclay, mental health services, homelessness and other problems. However, if this was a commercial brand we would be advising a major overhaul in the face of such a weak score.”  


Although most New Zealanders feel that they are happy with their lot (25% feeling ‘very happy’ and 59% ‘fairly happy’), a sizeable 17% are unhappy, and those most likely to be calling for a change of government are also less likely to feel happy, with 32% of unemployed and 24% of retirees being unhappy with their lives.


Some 70% of New Zealanders feel that the current economic situation is good, but the unemployed are also understandably less positive, with 52% saying it is ‘bad’ compared to 25% of employed people.

Economic situation

Looking towards the future in general, Ipsos has found that a large number of New Zealanders feel that the country is generally headed on the wrong track, with 43% feeling this way. 


Again, we found that those with fewer means at their disposal are feeling less positive, with 57% of retirees and 59% of the unemployed feeling the country is headed the wrong way.

Right or Wrong Direction

The issues of most concern to New Zealanders reflect the growing social disparity that has been occurring.   Regardless of preference for a change in government, New Zealanders share concerns about poverty, crime, health, unemployment and immigration control.

What worries NZers

Says Legge:

“The fact that most New Zealanders feel reasonably satisfied with their personal situation and the current economy, yet are wishing for a change of government, reveals a distinct undercurrent of concern for the country as whole.  We believe this reflects the underlying Kiwi belief in everyone being cared for and having a ‘fair go’.  As we increasingly see more and more New Zealanders struggling for the basics and an increasingly entrenched underclass of the poor, concern is rising and alternative governments are being considered.”

For more information please contact:
Nicola Legge
Research Director (Public Affairs) at Ipsos New Zealand.
Direct: +64 9 538 0551, Mobile: 021 615 290

Jonathan Dodd
Research Director at Ipsos New Zealand.
Direct: +64 9 538 0509, Mobile: 021 538 634

Methodology: A random sample of 500 New Zealanders aged 16 to 64 years was interviewed online from the 4th to the 9th of July.

The author(s)

  • Jonathan Dodd Ipsos Marketing, New Zealand