9 Jun 2023

Law and order now number two issue for voters, but most still concerned about the cost of living

3:44 pm on 9 June 2023
Police and firefighters were called to the scene of an alleged attempted car theft in an apartment building on Hobson Street in central Auckland on Sunday. Police arrested a man at the scene and took him away.

Older or retired New Zealanders were much more worried about crime, at 54 percent (file image). Photo: RNZ / Lucy Xia

Fear about rising crime has hit a record high in the latest political survey, now featuring as the number two issue for voters in New Zealand.

However, the cost of living and inflation continue to be of most concern.

The Ipsos New Zealand Issues Monitor gauges how people are feeling about different issues, how that picture has changed, which party they would trust most to fix certain issues, and what they think of the job being done by the current government.

Inflation and cost of living have been consistently rating at the top, but law and order has crept into the top five over the past year, now flagged by 40 percent in the May overview as a matter of concern - a record high in the Ipsos survey. Inflation has been rising steadily but for the first time since September 2020, levels of concern have dropped slightly.

Housing and healthcare come in together at number three, and then climate change. Education has also crept up the ranks from past surveys.

Sixty-three percent of those surveyed said the cost of living was the most important issue to them; New Zealanders aged between 25 and 34 were "significantly more concerned" about it - at 77 percent, but were less concerned about crime, registering with just 27 percent in that age group.

On the flip side, older or retired New Zealanders were much more worried about crime, at 54 percent.

There was also a major drop-off in New Zealanders' rating of the government's performance since the last survey in February.

People were asked to rate the government for the job it was doing from zero to 10; at the 2020 election the average rating was 7.3, but has been in steady decline since then - registering a rating of 5 in May this year.

On average, people in Auckland (4.68) and Bay of Plenty (4.24) rated it much lower than the general population.

The survey also asked people which political party they would most trust to manage any particular issue, and they chose National for three out of the top five: Inflation/cost of living, crime/law and order and housing (that included the price of housing). Labour was preferred to manage healthcare and hospitals, and the Greens climate change. In the top 10, National was rated more highly in six.

It also compared the result to Australia, where cost of living was also at the top of the list. For Australians housing was next, followed by healthcare, the economy and petrol prices.

The latest survey was conducted from 23 to 30 May, surveying 1002 New Zealanders aged 18 and older.

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