Political divide on handling of Covid

A Massey University survey indicates that perception of how well Covid has been handled varies markedly depending on political party support.

Stuff: Survey shows powerful polarisation along party lines

Associate Professor Grant Duncan told Stuff’s election podcast, Tick.Tick, that party preference was influencing how people viewed things – even topics that are seemingly non-partisan.

Duncan and colleagues led the Stuff-Massey University survey of voter attitudes, which drew more than 70,000 responses.

Asked how good a job medical professions have done in controlling the spread of the disease:

  • Labour supporters 96%
  • National supporters 69%

Asked if the overall Government response was successful:

  • Labour supporters 98%
  • National supporters 40%

The other Government parties NZ First and Greens aren’t mentioned, but they have had little to do publicly with the Covid response. It has largely been the Ardern show, with of a couple of Labour ministers in supporting roles.

Curious that slightly more Labour supporters rated the Government ahead of medical professionals.

Public safety was another area where party affiliations seemed to be swaying opinion, even when people didn’t feel personally threatened.

ACT voters, for instance, while saying that they felt safe in their own neighbourhood, were more likely to say the police were not doing a good job at protecting communities.

“If you’re an ACT Party supporter, you’re very sort of sceptical about government generally and about the state generally. And so you’re more likely, I think, to give any agency of the state a negative rating.”

Duncan said coronavirus was already having a “profound” impact on the election.

“There’s no doubt that an unexpected event this year has had a huge effect on opinion polling, and that will no doubt also be manifested on September the 19th.

“What tends to happen in situations where people feel their security is directly under threat, it often endangers greater trust in the sitting Government.

Very high poll support of Labour suggests this is true.

But it is possibly significant that only the Labour Prime Minister and Labour Ministers have been getting a large amount of exposure in dealing with Covid.

Valid questions have been asked Labour using Covid media conferences as virtual campaigning opportunities. A lot of the information given to the public during the almost daily media events is quite mundane and of little interest to most people.

A lot of voters only have a very supereficial understanding of political issues.

The survey is a reader-initiated survey, as opposed to a poll, but Duncan said it was always interesting to see what issues were coming to the fore and what was influencing the way they would vote.

Sometimes people didn’t know what they were actually voting for.

“Some people see themselves as voting for a prime minister, which technically they’re not actually doing. We vote for our local candidate and for our preferred political party – the parties themselves choose who will lead them.”

But Jacinda Ardern is very adept at promoting herself while distancing herself from the less favourable government news and from the National Party disarray and self destruction. John Key also did this very successfully.

Media also put a lot of emphasis in personality politics, tending to pick and promote just a few politicians to give significant airtime to. But this probably feeds the general public appetite for personality over policy and competence..

NZ climate change survey – most have some concern, 6% dismissive

An online survey of more than 2000 New Zealanders has found that most people have some concerns about climate change – about 70-80 per cent of the population believes climate change is real- with just 6% are dismissive, and they were more likely to be men over 55.


Stuff: Six New Zealands of climate change: Which one are you?

The survey confirmed what many middle New Zealanders will know already – often, people simply don’t think about climate change. While multiple studies have shown climate disturbance is already increasing severe drought, flood risk and fire risk, on average, people think any impacts on them are still 30 years away.

Boomers (aged 55-75) in the survey were six times more likely to dismiss climate change than New Zealanders aged 16-24 (Gen Z.

Gen Zers are 50 per cent more likely than Baby Boomers to consider the environment and/or climate change to be the most important issue facing New Zealand, but represent a cohort roughly half the size.

“That cohort (of Baby Boomers) is quite big and they vote a lot. They have a 90 per cent intention to vote, whereas for Gen Z, even when you only consider those who can vote, it’s more like 40 per cent,” says Winton. “That means there are roughly eight times more Baby Boomers who are likely to vote than there are Gen Zers, and they are six times more likely to vote actively against climate action.”

Women were less likely than men to be Dismissive, and more likely to be Alarmed or Concerned. That means the Dismissive are over-represented in the older male demographic that is most likely to be running company boards.


Alarmed (14 per cent): Fully convinced of the reality and seriousness of climate change and already taking individual, consumer, and political action to address it.

Concerned (28 per cent): Also convinced that climate change is happening and a serious problem, but have not yet engaged in the issue personally.

Cautious (8 per cent) and Disengaged (27 per cent): Average scores for Cautious and Disengaged people are almost identical, however the Disengaged have stronger belief in climate change and want stronger societal action, but display weaker behaviours and personal involvement.

Doubtful (17 per cent): Generally question climate change or don’t believe it is a problem, however their behaviours show they are not engaged in the issue.

Dismissive (6 per cent): Actively disbelieve in climate change and want a weak or no response from society. Actively oppose national efforts to cut emissions.

The online panel – polled in November and December 2019 – was modelled on the Six Americas survey developed by Yale and George Mason Universities. Polling company Dynata conducted a similar survey in New Zealand for a climate action start-up, the 1.5 Project. With the help of funding from fitness business pioneer Phillip Mills and the Tindall Foundation, the study took a sample of 3500 and whittled it to 2034 to get a representative mix of sex, age, location, ethnicity and income.

Respectful conversations between people with varying opinions are crucial on climate, but we often avoid them, says researcher Jess Berentson-Shaw, whose consultancy The Workshop studies how to have constructive conversations.

There is a hard-core group in opposition who are virtually unpersuadable, says Berentson-Shaw, but there’s also a huge majority in the middle who care, but don’t know what to do. This group steps back from issues they see as difficult and polarised, she says.

I don’t fit into those groups. I’m not alarmed, I’m concerned, but have taken some individual and some political action to address climate change and environmental issues generally. I guess that makes me out of step with a bunch of male baby boomers (who probably are over-represented on Kiwiblog).


Do a survey assessing whether Covid crisis has influenced the relationship between support for main political parties and authoritarianism

An online survey being done from University of Otago is seeking participants from the public to do a survey to assess whether the covid-19 crisis has influenced the relationship between support for New Zealand’s main political parties and authoritarianism.

It will only take 10-15 minutes and most of us have plenty of spare time at the moment.

David Farrar must have had contact that provided more details:

I am a researcher from the University of Otago. We are conducting a study on the lockdown and political beliefs. The survey takes 15-minutes and, in addition to political beliefs, we measure alcohol consumption, how it has changed people’s perceptions of young people (given the media talks about them being the group breaking the lockdown rules), belief in science, and views on conspiracy theories. We also have questions looking at peoples fear about getting covid-19 and measures of compliance with the lockdown rules.

We really need people from across the political spectrum to complete the survey, if you can help with that it would be great.

What is the Aim of the Project?

The aim of the project to assess whether the covid-19 crisis has influenced the relationship between support for New Zealand’s main political parties and authoritarianism.

What Types of Participants are being sought?

We are seeking anyone that is based in New Zealand. We are recruiting participants through both the University of Otago’s Department of Psychology Research Participation Pool and members of the general public through ads on Facebook.

What will Participants be asked to do?

Should you agree to take part in this project, you will be asked to complete a brief 10- to 15-minute online survey.

Do it here.

Survey “reveals significant gaps in adult New Zealanders’ general knowledge”

The NZ Initiative has done a survey to try to gage levels of public knowledge.

New research released by The New Zealand Initiative reveals significant gaps in adult New Zealanders’ general knowledge.

Ignorance is not bliss: Why knowledge matters (and why we may not have enough of it) argues that although information is readily available nowadays, our basic knowledge of subjects like geography, history, and maths is low.

To get a glimpse of the state of general knowledge in New Zealand, the Initiative commissioned a representative survey of 1000 voting-age New Zealanders. Respondents were asked 13 general knowledge questions.

All of the questions asked in the survey:

I’ll change this to include the answers and results later.


Survey: ‘moderate to high’ support for legal abortion

The Government is currently reviewing abortion law, which currently in practice offers choice but forces women to claim severe mental distress in order to get a ‘legal’ abortion.

Two thirds of people in a survey have shown support for the right of a woman to choose about abortion in any circumstances.

  • 65% agreed or strongly agreed with a woman’s right to choose, under any circumstance
  • 89.3% support abortion if the woman’s life was in danger

It’s a small minority but I think it’s remarkable that 10% oppose abortion if the woman’s life is in danger.

Stuff: Legalised abortion generally supported by New Zealanders – Auckland University survey

University of Auckland PhD student, Yanshu Huang, analysed the attitudes of 19,973 people who took part in the 2016/17 New Zealand Attitudes and Values study, a national longitudinal study of people aged over 18.

Huang, a research assistant at the university’s Public Policy Institute, said the results suggested “the majority of New Zealanders are supportive of legalised abortion” and were “quite open” to legislative change.

The findings, published in the New Zealand Medical Journal on Friday, found “moderate to high” support for legalised abortion regardless of the reason, and “high” support when a woman’s life was under threat.

Changing perceptions and the conversation around abortion law reform prompted Huang to look at not just how many people support legalised abortion, but what factors influenced their support.

The research was completed as part of Huang’s doctoral dissertation at the School of Psychology.

As well as rating their attitudes, participants were asked their age, gender, ethnicity, religious affiliation, parental status, number of children, relationship and employment status and level of education.

Overall, men expressed “only slightly” less support than women for legalised abortion for any reason, Huang said.

Being older, identifying as religious, being of lower socioeconomic status and having lower levels of education were also linked to being less supportive of abortion, regardless of the reason.

Those who identified as religious expressed less support no matter what the circumstance.

That isn’t surprising – but the numbers suggest that many people who identified as religious support abortion, especially when the woman’s life is in danger.

Minister for Justice Andrew Little welcomed the results of the research.

“This is an important public conversation, and one in which women’s voices, experiences, and safety must be prioritised,” he said.

Little said he looked forward to “progressing both the public and policy discussions” around abortion law reform in the coming months. ​

October 2018: Law Commission abortion law reform briefing received

Justice Minister Andrew Little received today the Law Commission’s briefing on alternative approaches to abortion law.

“Our abortion law is over forty years old, starts with the proposition that an abortion is a crime. In February, I asked the Law Commission for advice on treating abortion as a health matter could look like,” Andrew Little said.

“I acknowledge that the subject of abortion is a personal one for each MP. I will be taking time to talk to my colleagues across all parties about the Law Commission’s briefing before progressing further,” Andrew Little said.

The Law Commission’s briefing examines what abortion law could look like if abortion was treated as a health issue. The paper outlines:

  • three models for when abortion is available
  • changes to:
    • the criminal aspects of abortion law
    • access to abortion services, where abortions are performed, and by whom
    • the oversight of abortion services
  • related issues, such as women’s informed consent, counselling services, and conscientious objection by health practitioners.

The Law Commission’s briefing paper is available at here: www.lawcom.govt.nz/abortion

Abortion statistics: Year ended December 2018

There were 13,282 abortions performed in New Zealand in 2018, similar to the year before.

In 2018, 19 percent of known pregnancies (live births, stillbirths, and induced abortions) ended in an induced abortion. This ratio has decreased since its peak in 2003 (25 percent) but has been relatively stable since 2012.

Women in their 20s were most likely to have an abortion in 2018, accounting for 52 percent of all abortions.

Abortions for women under 20 have been decreasing since the peak in 2007. In 2018, 10 percent of abortions were for women under 20, compared with 23 percent 11 years ago.

In comparison, the proportion of abortions for women 30 years and over has been increasing. In 2018, 38 percent of abortions were for women aged 30 and over, compared with 28 percent in 2007.

In 2018, 19 percent of known pregnancies (live births, stillbirths, and induced abortions) ended in an induced abortion. This ratio has decreased since its peak in 2003 (25 percent) but has been relatively stable since 2012.

More women are having abortions earlier. In 2018, 60 percent of abortions were performed before 10 weeks of pregnancy. This compares with 46 percent in 2008, and 38 percent in 1998.

I get the sanctity of life arguments, but with abortions the life of the woman is involved, with a foetus being fully dependent on the woman for the chance of life.

A statistic I haven’t seen is how much the number of abortions affects the eventual number of lives/babies.

Contraception is almost universally accepted as a prudent means of birth control, and also an essential means of limiting population increases.

As far as ‘lives’ are concerned, there seems to be no practical difference between:

– a woman using birth control, then ceasing birth control and having two children, then preventing any further pregnancies through birth control

– a woman having an abortion, subsequently using birth control, then ceasing birth control and having two children, then preventing any further pregnancies through birth control

If birth control or abortion defers the timing of having a family until a parent or parents are better able to care and rear, that must generally be a positive.


Survey into Medicinal Cannabis use

A survey of users of medicinal cannabis has been launched. This should get useful information, but as a lot of medical cannabis use is likely to be illegal it may be difficult to get a comprehensive picture.

MCANZ launches its first study of Medical Cannabis users in NZ.

An unprecedented research project to discover how and why New Zealanders are using cannabis medicinally has been launched today by Medical Cannabis Awareness New Zealand.

The study, New Zealand Medicinal Cannabis Use Research Survey 2019, is an online survey of patients using cannabis for medical reasons based on Australia’s Cannabis As Medicine Survey and has been designed in conjunction with University of Otago researcher Dr Geoff Noller. It has been granted ethics approval and is MCANZ’s first research project.

“During the Select Committee process last year, it became apparent that no one had any data on the trends in illicit medical use, such as the rate of criminalization or even a decent snapshot of what conditions were most common for illicit medical use,” says MCANZ Coordinator Shane Le Brun.

“The only research relevant was a Ministry of Health study on cannabis use dating from 2012-2013, and frankly, medical use was only an afterthought in that research,” says MCANZ Le Brun.

“This research is a first for MCANZ and we’re delighted to be working with  Dr Noller. This first survey will give us a snapshot of current medical use in New Zealand and establish trends and areas that will need focus in the setting up of New Zealand’s new medicinal cannabis regime.” says Le Brun

“The intent is for this study to be conducted every 2 years, so the first study will serve as a baseline for the future, particularly to measure the impact of the Medical Cannabis Scheme,” says Lead investigator  Dr. Geoff Noller.

“The study covers topics ranging from perceived medical efficacy, knowledge of harm reduction such as vaping, and the impact of criminality on medical use,” says Noller.

If you use medicinal cannabis you can do the survey here:

New Zealand Medicinal Cannabis Use Research Survey 2019

NZ plummets in energy investment ranking, Government happy

New Zealand has dropped from 14th to 46th in a ranking of attractiveness to energy investors. This isn’t surprising after the Government put significant limitations on oil and gas exploration.

‘Green’ or alternative energy prospects don’t seem to rate – I’m still unclear how we will meet al our energy needs if we transition away from fossil fuels completely as some want.

NZH:  Survey of top energy executives shows NZ has become a lot less attractive for investors

An annual survey of the world’s leading oil executives, which ranks the ease of investment into oil and gas producing countries, shows New Zealand has dramatically dropped down the list in terms of its attractiveness to investors.

The Fraser Institute, which has run the survey every year for 12 years, asks executives to rank provinces, states and countries according to the extent to which barriers to investment in oil and gas exploration and production are present.

New Zealand’s attractiveness to investors has dropped from the 14th highest country/region to 46 in the space of a year.

“This drop is based on poorer scores with respect to political stability, environmental regulations and protected areas and taxation in general,” the report said.

The Opposition is critical.

National’s Energy spokesman Jonathan Young put the blame for the drop squarely in the lap of the Government.

In April, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern banned future offshore oil and gas exploration in New Zealand with the exception of Taranaki.

The ban took the industry by surprise because it was not part of any confidence and supply or coalition agreement and had not been explicitly promised by Labour during the election campaign.

According to some industry players surveyed in the Fraser Institute report, this was a key reason for the drop in New Zealand’s attractiveness.

“New Zealand’s move to ban new offshore exploration is a deterrent for investors,” one said.

“Jurisdictions that are openly hostile towards resource development, like New Zealand, cause investors to take their investment dollars elsewhere,” said another.

Young was not surprised by this and said the ban had “scared off” potential investors and would cost the economy tens of millions of dollars.

It’s not surprising – it looks like to an extent at least it was the intent of the ban, or it must have been at least a predictable consequence.

Energy Minister Megan Woods is unrepentant:

“We’re incredibly proud of the fact that New Zealand is leading the world on a managed, long term transition to a clean energy future.”

Hardly. The Government has limited fossil fuel exploration possibilities, but I have seen little of the other side of the equation – alternatives.

“International investors will consider a range of information when making decisions about where to invest, including the likelihood of a discovery and the likely value of any potential discovery.”

Climate Change Minister James Shaw was not surprised by the survey.

He said because oil and gas exploration was being phased out in New Zealand, there was not actually much more investment in the sector that was needed.

“So it’s unsurprising that investors in that industry would be saying that over the long term it’s not a place they wanted to end up.”

Shaw needs to come up with a credible path to sufficient alternative energy to replace fossil fuels, otherwise we will either have an energy shortfall, or will have to rely more on more expensive imports of fuel.

I’d love to see polluting fuels phased out, but I would also love to see a realistic and viable plan for what will replace them. At the moment I see little more than pie in the sky idealism.

Energy of dreams – ban them, and alternatives will come. Maybe.


What are Kiwi values?

When NZ First said they were considering a bill requiring immigrants to comply with undefined ‘Kiwi values’ it raised the obvious question – what are Kiwi values?  We are a diverse bunch.

AMP/Stuff are doing a survey to try to find out what values matter to us.

WHAT IT MEANS TO BE KIWI: New Zealanders loved Kiwiana and it helped define us on the world stage. Tell us what you think are the values, old and new, that define 21st Century New Zealand, in the AMP/Stuff Survey of Values.

I encourage everyone to contribute to this survey.

It would also be good to discuss some of this here.

Which values do you MOST STRONGLY associate with Kiwis / New Zealanders today?

PRAGMATISM – Down to earth and practical, we get things done

PUNCHING ABOVE – We love an underdog, we back the little guy

WORK LIFE BALANCE – Enjoying the 40-hour work week and good quality family time

SPORTING EXCELLENCE – passionate players, coaches, supporters and fans

TEAM SPIRIT – Working together to solve problems / win

EQUAL OPPORTUNITY – Equality for everyone in health, education, housing, social status etc

CELEBRATE DIVERSITY – Of other cultures, life choices, religions

OUTWARD LOOKING – Embracing the world beyond our shores

ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT – Courageous, give things a go, we have a sense of adventure

NATURAL ENVIRONMENT – Looking after and enjoying our natural environment

MODESTY – Not blowing our own trumpet

SAFETY & SECURITY – Safe from crime, corruption, nuclear war

COMMUNITY SPIRIT – Looking after one another and helping one another

KINDNESS – Being kind to one another, supporting and forgiving

INCLUSIVENESS – Accepting and respecting one another

INDIVIDUAL CHOICE – Challenging, making our voice heard

INNOVATION – Number 8 wire mentality, thinking differently and creatively


Any others?

What about sense of humour?

We are really good promoting how modest we are and how we don’t blow our own trumpets.

Update: I am just doing the survey and I am very disappointed in this:

Which ETHNICITY do you most associate with?
NZ European
Pacific Islander
Other Asian
Other European
Other Ethnicity

In a survey in Kiwi values the ethnicity that I value is not an option! I had to put ‘other ethnicity’ as the least inappropriate.

Law harassment survey

Most criminal lawyers have experienced or seen bullying or harassment in the profession, and the majority of offenders are judges.

RNZ:  Judges worst offenders in law harassment survey

Criminal Bar Association vice-president Elizabeth Hall, who instigated the survey, said the “staggering” results were “obviously of deep concern to both the association and the Law Society”.

Types of abuse include shouting, insults and threats, and nearly one in three had experienced unwelcome sexual attention.

In nearly 65 percent of cases, the person doing the harassing or bullying was a judge.

Fewer than 17 percent of respondents made an official complaint – mainly because they believed it would not make any difference and they were afraid of the repercussions.

Of those who did complain, just 6 percent felt this fixed the problem.

  • Of the 283 respondents (181 women, 102 men), about 60 percent had been in practice more than nine years
  • 88.1 percent had personally experienced or witnessed bullying or harassment in the last four years
  • Most commonly type of bullying:
    – mockery 69.2%
    -invalid criticism 60%
    – shouting 58%
    – bullying based on age/ experience 57%
    – personal insults 45%
    – unwelcome sexual attention 28.5%
    – threats 27.3%
  • Effect of the bullying/harassment: stress, loss of confidence, anxiety, fear, moved jobs

The law profession was not alone in having with problems with harassment or abuse, Ms Hall said.

“But what is unique to the sphere of criminal practice is this very entrenched hierarchical structure governed by people who have come up through this system in which you go down to court and have strips torn off you by the judge or opposing council, you patch yourself up and do it again the next day.

“That was the practice 20 or 30 years ago – but times have changed, people have moved on and that sort of thing is no longer acceptable.”

Another questionable poll

There are many very questionable polls run online. There is no way of knowing how inaccurate or slanted or rigged they are.

Here is some strong and generally justified criticism of some polling two election campaigns ago.

Colin Craig and his dodgy polling, Ctd

Colin Craig is at it again, using dodgy polling to justify his own agenda.

…That all sounds interesting until, yet again, it turns out that it is not a representative sample and there is a margin of error of 6.9%.

Colin’s strategy is flawed.

Here is another flawed polling strategy.

POLL: Will National get your 2017 Party Vote?

Whaleoil is running a  regular poll to see where those who supported National during the 2014 election are likely to go this year.   We aim to detect any shifts throughout the year leading up to September.

If you did not vote for National in 2014, and you do intend to do so for 2017, then this poll isn’t for you.  We are looking to measure the “restlessness” among 2014 National supporters.

But it is a self selecting poll there is no control over who responds to the poll, so no way of knowing who respondents voted for in 2014.

Normally running political polls on partisan blogs is pointless.

Not just normally.

Asking our audience who they will vote for and assuming that is a fair representation of the nation would be beyond stupid.

But in this case Whaleoil is somewhat representative of the most committed and interested in politics that normally would support the centre right of politics.

There’s no way of knowing that with any accuracy.

As such, measuring a shift in our audience will be significant as an indicator of what National supporters are considering at large.

A rough indicator at best. The poll:


A decent number of responses. The poll results:


Oddly the number of responses has dropped by a about 20%. Results from all polls this year:

Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug A Aug B Sep
Other 5 5 4 5 5 4 3 3 3
WILL vote National again 53 55 48 52 57 55 68 76 78
MIGHT vote National again 23 21 20 17 15 16 13 8 7
WON’T vote National again 19 19 28 26 23 25 16 13 12

This was from a 1900+ voter sample*.  The voters are Whaleoil readers.

It isn’t a sample. “A sample survey is a process for collecting data on a sample of observations which are selected from the population of interest using a probability-based sampledesign. In sample surveys, certain methods are often used to improve the precision and control the costs of survey data collection.”

It is self selecting  survey with no way of knowing anything about the quality of those who responded.

Based on this non-scientific but strongly indicative Whaleoil poll, National will get 39-41% of the party vote in September, depending on the proportion of wasted votes being distributed from parties such as TOP and the Conservatives which will not make it to parliament.

It isn’t strongly indicative, it is roughly indicative at best. There is no indication what the assertion “National will get 39-41% of the party vote in September” is based on.

Even if the survey could have limited respondents to people who voted for National in 2014 this only tries to measure the number of people who intend to vote National again, or who intend to not vote National.

It has deliberately tried to exclude anyone who voted Conservatives, ACT, UF, NZ First, Labour, Greens or the Internet Party last election and who may now be considering switching to National.

It tries to exclude people who could have voted last election but didn’t. It tries to exclude first time voters.

It may (or may not) be a coincidence that for months Cameron Slater has been claiming that National support will drop and they are likely to go as low as the thirties, and that is what this suspect poll analysis somehow arrives at.

The survey and the analysis/assertions should be taken with a big bucket of salt. It could be as shonky as Craig’s self promoting polls last campaign.