Issues New Zealanders care most about – sustainability poll

In Better Futures Colmar Brunton is  “Celebrating a decade of tracking New Zealanders’ attitudes & behaviours around sustainability”.

Trends show an increase in people concerned about the effects of climate change, and a commitment to live a sustainable lifestyle.

In a poll run between 4 and 11 December 2018 asked what issues people care most about.

  • Build up of plastic in the environment 72% – up 9
  • The cost of living 68% – no change
  • The protection of New Zealand children 67% – down 1
  • Suicide rates 67% – up 3
  • Violence in society 65% – down 4
  • Pollution of lakes, rivers and seas 64% – up 4
  • Caring for the ageing population 63% – new
  • The protection of my personal data online 62% – new
  • Availability of affordable housing 61% – up 2
  • Not having access to good affordable healthcare 60% – up 2

Trend of New Zealanders who express high level of concern around the impact of climate change on New Zealand

  • 2009 – 36%
  • 2010 – 31%
  • 2011 – 29%
  • 2012 – 33%
  • 2013 – 34%
  • 2014 – 41%
  • 2015 – 40%
  • 2016 – 45%
  • 2017 – 48%
  • 2018 – 55%

Commitment to living a sustainable lifestyle:

  • 2015 – low 17%, medium 59%, high 24%
  • 2016 – low 10%, medium 65%, high 25%
  • 2017 – low 10%, medium 60%, high 30%
  • 2018 – low 5%, medium 53%, high 42%

Who will always/mostly go meat free:

  • 2014 – 4%
  • 2015 – 5%
  • 2016 – 6%
  • 2017 – 7%
  • 2018 – 10%

Switching to an electric car or hybrid:

  • 34% thinking about switching
  • 22% thought about it but probably won’t
  • 27% don’t want to switch
  • 14% haven’t thought about it or don’t know

‘Sustainable’ travel practices:

  • 71% shop locally
  • 67% walk for short journeys
  • 57% drive in a more fuel-efficient way
  • 20% take public transport
  • 20% cycle for short journeys
  • 19% carpool for work
  • 9% pay to offset carbon on flights
  • 6% scooter for short journeys

Impact of plastic:

  • 85% say reducing disposable packaging is the right thing to do
  • 77% say they can make a difference by reducing use of disposable packaging
  • Only 1% who buy lunch use reusable containers all the time.

‘Kinder’ businesses:

  • 86% “It is important for me to work for a company that is socially and environmentally responsible”
  • 90% “If I heard about a company being irresponsible or unethical, I’d stop buying their products or using their services”

On employers caring about society:

  • 67% agree their employer has values they believe in
  • 65% agree their employer actively supports society
  • 66% agree they would recommend their workplace to others


Leave a comment


  1. Corky

     /  13th February 2019

    Hmm..I wonder if these figures are correct. Or are those polled better informed about what is acceptable group think..and what’s trending on social media?

    • Patzcuaro

       /  13th February 2019

      Translation, I don’t agree with the poll results so there must be something wrong with the methodology or everybody else is mistake. Sounds like Trump.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  13th February 2019

        I think so.

      • Corky

         /  13th February 2019

        Lost in translation…I don’t care about the polls. They have no relevance for me.

        However, you should read my comment again before ‘projecting.’

        How is society moulded? Where does it start?

  2. Zedd

     /  13th February 2019

    Fascinating that a majority now say, they are concerned about the environment, BUT still attack the Greens; for having highlighted these issues for decades & mostly ignored !

    To make it worse.. there is still talk of a ‘Blue-green’ party; Money, Money, money… oh yes & lets mention, the environment too ? :/

    • PDB

       /  13th February 2019

      The ‘Greens’ got taken over by fringe far-left groups some time ago & deserve all the criticism they get today and the people of NZ have in the main always cared about the environment so that’s nothing new. Any new environmental focused political party should be encouraged.

      • Zedd

         /  13th February 2019

        ‘The ‘Greens’ got taken over by fringe far-left groups’ sez PDB

        …& you base this on.. personal knowledge OR just right-wing propaganda ?

        I personally know, that the Green party are a ‘broad church’.. not all are on ‘fringe far-left’ (as you claim). BUT the majority do see the left-wing agenda, as closer to their ‘Green-wing/Enviro.’ fundamental view.

        Maybe one day… (in the far off future ?) many folks will finally see, that ‘Hey the Greens were correct all along.. we cant eat, drink or breath in: MONEY’ :/

        • Zedd

           /  13th February 2019

          look at Patz pic below.. sez it all; just keep dumping all the trash (out of sight, out of mind), BUT as a previous Green MP once said “There is NO magical place called ‘Away’ where it all goes to”

          The next great MASS extinction.. could just be over the horizon ?
          “Believe it or Not.. or ignore it at OUR peril !!”

        • Griff.

           /  13th February 2019

          Simple really Zedd
          The greens were polling around 14% before that stupid woman opened her mouth and pushed her benefit fraud of the taxpayer as a good idea.
          Many moderate greens resigned from the party and will never go back.

          • Zedd

             /  13th February 2019

            I tend to agree that Metiria’s actions (as you describe) were not her best.. but Marama took ‘the torch’ & has continued moving forward.
            Methinks that the ‘moderate greens’ (your words) who deserted, are likely still supporting the green Kaupapa regardless ?!

            It actually seems that ‘centre-Right’ are the side now losing more of their support.. :/ 😀

            • PDB

               /  13th February 2019

              ‘but Marama took ‘the torch’ & has continued to burn the party down to the ground’.

              There, fixed it for you.

    • Griff.

       /  13th February 2019

      Do the math Zedd
      Environmental concerns rate higher than the percentage of those who vote left .
      Rather than attacking a blue green party you should be supportive of extra green leaning voices being represented even if they are not dedicated socialists.
      You are in effect working against our society heading towards more environmental awareness in the halls of power.

      • Zedd

         /  13th February 2019

        As Ive said before, maybe a GREEN-blue party maybe a better option; putting the environmental issues first. BUT this goes against most Right-wing agendas: Money first & last !? :/

        oh dear…

        • PDB

           /  13th February 2019

          It is obvious you only care about the environment if it suits your political agenda – for a change Griff is correct.

          • Zedd

             /  13th February 2019

            ‘It is obvious you only care about the environment if it suits your political agenda’ sez PDB

            If you say so… 😀

  3. Pink David

     /  13th February 2019

    How about we measure it, it’s quite easy.

    “90% “If I heard about a company being irresponsible or unethical, I’d stop buying their products or using their services””

    How many people have stopped using oil, and all the products from it?

  4. Patzcuaro

     /  13th February 2019

  5. Finbaar Rustle

     /  13th February 2019

    I really struggle with polls.
    Polls are run by companies wanting to stay onside with their customers.
    Pollsters like all businesses know that challenging the customer is fatal.
    So if polls are heavily influenced by the need to please the target audiences
    how can they ever be a true reflection of peoples real thoughts?
    Polls to me are to keep the target audiences in their comfort zone
    their bubble of security maintaining the feeling that we are right
    and that any change will be small, relatively painless and on our terms.
    The farcical aura of authenticity they paint for themselves with their inevitable
    “the poll is accurate to within 97.3% is their own self credibility rating.
    BTW this article I just wrote is accurate to within 99.9%
    Because I said so.
    You don’t need to prove any thing you just say it.
    As long as the target audience believes it its a winner.

  6. Alan Wilkinson

     /  13th February 2019

    Weird. Reads like people trying to say what is expected of them. Be interesting to see if their actions match their words. My bet would be they don’t.

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  13th February 2019

      When they say ‘”buy lunch”, they don’t say if that’s in a cafe or takeaways.

  7. David

     /  13th February 2019

    Ridiculous poll, why not ask
    “you told us you care about the planet would you stop eating dairy products and never take a flight”.
    “you told us you care deeply about the burning of fossil fuels would you be willing to give up all your social media presence and delete all the shared photos if you knew that cloud storage counts for 5% of all US energy consumption where these farms are hosted and a lot of US power is generated by burning coal”
    Folk care right up until the point that they are required to do something about it that impinges on their quality of life.

    • Griff.

       /  13th February 2019

      You misrepresented someone’s argument to make it easier to attack.

      By exaggerating, misrepresenting, or just completely fabricating someone’s argument, it’s much easier to present your own position as being reasonable, but this kind of dishonesty serves to undermine honest rational debate.

  1. Issues New Zealanders care most about – sustainability poll — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition

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