12 Apr 2020

Most New Zealanders willing to extend Covid-19 lockdown 'pain' - survey

11:58 am on 12 April 2020

Almost two-thirds of New Zealanders are willing to have the current lockdown extended so Covid-19 can be eradicated, a new survey has found.

Auckland's southern motorway on the morning of 26 March, on the first day of the nationwide Covid-19 lockdown.

Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Research New Zealand has been taking the pulse of the nation since the lockdown began.

Research NZ partner Emanuel Kalafatelis told Sunday Morning that the latest survey, undertaken this week, also shows strong support for a 10pm nationwide curfew. There have also been marked increases in people's fears about losing jobs and paying their mortgages and rents, he said.

Kalafatelis said people were asked if they would be willing to remain in lockdown for at least another two weeks beyond 22 April when it is due to finish.

Sixty percent agreed they would, 14 percent disagreed, and 26 percent didn't know. He said 60 percent showed a high level of support.

"There's a lot of debate at the moment about the health imperatives versus the economic imperatives, but I think what these results are telling us are that people are wanting this to be dealt with obviously once and for all and so they're prepared to put up with some pain.

"It will be interesting to see if that sentiment changes in the opposite direction."

Last week, 87 percent felt most New Zealanders were observing restrictions on movement. This week it has fallen to 79 percent.

"What that's telling me is that more New Zealanders are thinking that other people are not observing the restrictions. Perhaps that's got to do with some of the media coverage we are seeing."

In relation to police getting tougher, 85 percent agreed and 72 percent said a 10pm curfew should be introduced to restrict any unnecessary travel.

Police check motorists going on motorway in Auckland the day before the Easter long weekend begins.

Police check motorists' destinations on a motorway ramp in Auckland. A survey suggests strong support for a curfew to prevent people being on the roads without a good reason. Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Young people are showing the highest levels of concern about the lockdown and they are the ones who are struggling to stay in their bubble.

More parents are worried about how young children are coping with their restricted lives. The figure rose to 85 percent compared with 82 percent who were concerned the previous week.

There has been a spike in terms of fears over job losses, with 67 percent worried compared with 57 percent the previous week.

Worry about paying the mortgage went up to 64 percent, from 57 percent, while rent payments are a concern for 64 percent from 53 percent the previous week.

Larger than usual queues outside of Countdown Greenlane a day before the supermarkets shut on Good Friday.

Larger than usual queues outside of Countdown Greenlane a day before the supermarkets shut on Good Friday. Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

"They're big increases," Kalafatelis said.

He was surprised that more people are worried about gaining government financial support for their businesses - up from 72 percent to 74 percent.

"I would have hoped that would have gone down as more businesses were accessing the services government is providing."

Another surprising survey finding is that 54 percent of people are still uneasy about the country's food supply.

  • If you have symptoms of the coronavirus, call the NZ Covid-19 Healthline on 0800 358 5453 (+64 9 358 5453 for international SIMs) or call your GP - don't show up at a medical centre

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