Forget the pimped-up absurdity of the “New Zealand is one of the world’s happiest countries” spin.
Everyone who’s ever lived in New Zealand knows it has some of the OECD’s worst rates for preventable child deaths, youth suicide, crime, homeless people, poverty, high property prices, children living in poverty, mental illness, family violence, and substance abuse (crystal meth and cannabis).
Now a Massey University has finally laid to rest some of the myths about the New Zealand psyche, and it makes for grim reading…
The survey was conducted by Massey University in conjunction with Fairfax Media’s Stuff.co.nz and surveyed 39,644 self selecting respondents.
It asked questions such as “Do our politicians truly represent you?“, “Are we doing enough to tackle inequality?“, and “Do we need more or fewer immigrants?”
The author, Grant Duncan said
It will be interesting to see how much the wave of popular political discontent observable in other countries may be beneath the surface in New Zealand, or whether Kiwis have a more hopeful and progressive view of where their country’s heading”
The results show the majority of respondents have a disillusionment with the NZ system of government (a peculiar form of voting system that gives too much power to minor players, and places list MPs in parliament without a single vote for the individual candidates) that was out of touch with people.
An overwhelming majority of people are unhappy with inequality in New Zealand, and think there is a major housing crisis in the country.
Xenophobia writ large: too many immigrants
If you’re an intending migrant you may be alarmed to hear that the majority of New Zealanders think there are too many immigrants entering the country. Rather than be valued for your overseas skills and experience, you are expected to knuckle down and do things ‘the Kiwi way’.
If the Kiwi way’ includes perpetuating the issues mentioned above in paragraph 2, you may be wondering what makes them worth keeping and exactly what is so precious about the Kiwi way.
Here’s the author’s take on the research
…About half the sample (and more than half of women and those under 40) opted for “a complete change of government”, even though Labour supporters were under-represented. Over two-thirds thought that the system of government itself is either “completely broken” or “working but needs to change”.
Only 23 per cent said we want a leader who won’t change things much. Forty-seven per cent said the mood of the country is “discontented” and only 23 per cent said “contented”. The older the age group, the more the respondents chose “contended”.
About half of the sample agreed that our political leaders are “out of touch with the people”. Only 21 per cent disagreed. Only 31 per cent agreed with the statement that “New Zealand is a land of equal opportunity”. More than half disagreed.
So, what could be underlying the discontent? The answers suggested by the survey are predictable, but strong.
Seventy-three per cent agreed that inequality is “too high and/or growing fast”, while slightly more (74 per cent) agreed that “there is a major housing crisis in New Zealand right now”.
Health, housing and environment (in that order) were the three most widely chosen issues likely to influence voters at the election.
Immigration came in at number five, and respondents expressed reservations about foreigners. Fifty-five percent agreed that the numbers of immigrants arriving are “too high”, and 53 per cent agreed that new arrivals should be told “do things the Kiwi way”. A whopping 72 per cent said that New Zealand should “strictly control foreign ownership of property”. These responses increased with age.
Grant Duncan completed a PhD at the University of Auckland, and has worked at Massey University’s Albany campus (Auckland) since 1993. He teaches in the politics program, primarily in the areas of public policy and political theory. His research interests concern political subjectivities, and he is an active commentator on public affairs in New Zealand. source
You may also be interested in NZ news reports from 31 July 2017
Healthcare sector suffering skills shortage: Huge growth in healthcare vacancies has left employers struggling to fill roles. Auckland is suffering a particular shortage in aged care workers, while Wellington is desperate for counsellors and psychologists, according to new figures released by Seek
‘I might’ve been killed’: Why I gave up dealing meth “A Kiwi man has opened up about the horrors of living a life filled with drugs, gangs and how he broke the cycle to get his life back on track. Talking to Vice, the man, who wished to remained anonymous, revealed he was born into a life riddled with violence and crime. Growing up he witnessed horrible beatings, including a man being chucked out a two-storey window and women having their teeth knocked out. The man’s pathway to selling meth started as a kid when was paid $50 to just sit in a car during a robbery…”Kiwis don’t realise this, but people go missing in New Zealand. They stay missing too.”
Fatal Hamilton stabbing: Teen girls arrested: “Three youngsters arrested in relation to the fatal stabbing of a Hamilton man were all girls, police have confirmed. They are aged 12, 13 and 15. Norman Kingi, 54, died in Waikato Hospital after suffering fatal stab wounds on Ranui St on Friday night”
Man admits armed robbery of trio in Tauranga McDonald’s car park: Armed with a .22 rifle, Shaun Merro Taikato jumped into the back of a car as the startled occupants munched on their McDonald’s. Taikato demanded cash, and although one of the three occupants eventually managed to jump from the moving car, two others would go on to endure the most frightening experience of their lives.
Man robbed at knife-point while seeing escort at Redwood Hotel: “An escort is believed to be part of a late-night knife-point robbery of one of her clients. A man and the escort were in a room rented at the Redwood Hotel, on the corner of Main North and Prestons roads in Christchurch, about 1am on Sunday.”
Club rugby players accused of assaulting opposing player’s mother as she cheered her son: “Punches were thrown on and off the field, with a player’s mother allegedly being assaulted, at a heated club rugby final in Auckland at the weekend. After an earlier “scuffle” between players during the match, two players from the losing Otahuhu Rugby Club reportedly jumped a fence and began punching and kicking a mother who was celebrating her son scoring a try, a club official said… our boys scored a try and a mother on the sideline was cheering her son who scored the try and then two players apparently jumped the fence and assaulted her,” Cooks said. “And one other apparently, who didn’t jump the fence, was throwing them flags and things to attack the woman with,” Cooks said. “They also assaulted another woman who was trying to help her.””
‘Racist’ Howick stops special school: Report reveals racist views harboured by a well-off Auckland community…An independent report into opposition to the school was meant to ”cut through the emotional outrage”, but instead described fear and loathing in Howic”