2 Aug 2020

Politicians, journalists rated NZ's least trusted figures

From Sunday Morning, 2:25 pm on 2 August 2020

Trust in politicians remains low, with only 22 percent of New Zealanders giving them the thumbs up in recent polls.

The Beehive in Wellington during the Covid-19 alert level four lockdown.

The Beehive in Wellington during the Covid-19 alert level four lockdown. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

Research NZ managing partner Emanuel Kalafatelis said national and local body politicians had received low trust and confidence ratings over the past 10 to 15 years - and the latest survey showed they were still the least trusted group.

Emanuel Kalafatelis

Research NZ managing partner Emanuel Kalafatelis. Photo: supplied

"It's the nature of the job, but at the same time we did elect them to represent us and represent our best interests, so it's a bit of a slap in the face when we rate our trust and confidence in them at only 22 percent," Kalafatelis said.

"Particularly given some of the things that have been happening in the lead-up to this year's general election, in terms of resignations and dismissals even, the idea of a code of conduct for parliamentarians may in fact be a good idea."

Only 35 percent of people surveyed had trust in people who work for the government.

People surveyed also had trouble trusting journalists, who came in as the third lowest ranked group of professionals. Confidence in the fourth estate was at just 23 percent.

That contrasts with 89 percent confidence in the fire and ambulance service and 65 percent confidence in teachers. Doctors, nurses and the police also scored well.

Lawyers ranked between the trusted and untrustworthy, with a 43 percent confidence rating.

Supermarket staff appear to be seen in a new light, after they soldiered on during the Covid-19 lockdown. They gained a trusted tick from 79 percent of those surveyed, with people saying supermarket staff had made a significant contribution to keeping coronavirus infection rates low.