One Question Quiz
All the party leaders. (Image: Archi Banal)
All the party leaders. (Image: Archi Banal)

PoliticsJune 9, 2023

A new poll plots the crunchy terrain for the election ahead

All the party leaders. (Image: Archi Banal)
All the party leaders. (Image: Archi Banal)

What are the issues judged most important by New Zealanders – and which parties do we think are best equipped to deal with them?

Across political debate, headlines and anecdata, crime has moved to the foreground over the last 18 months. That is reflected in a new Ipsos New Zealand Issues Monitor, which shows law and order placed second in a ranking of the issues rated most important by New Zealanders. 

Rewind to February last year, and 19% named law and order as one of their three main issues of concern. Since then it has climbed steadily, to 40% in this latest survey (see the dotted line, below). That is the fourth consecutive high for the issue since the Ipsos Monitor began in 2018.

Carin Hercock, managing director at Ipsos NZ, noted that it reflects international trends. “Ipsos is seeing concerns about crime increase globally, making it the third-highest issue across all countries we monitor,” she said. “Many countries have seen a spike often attributed to post-Covid truancy and inflation-related poverty levels. In New Zealand it appears to be an issue that is particularly concerning for older New Zealanders, with retirees more than twice as likely to be concerned about crime than those aged under 35 years.”

Which party is considered most capable of managing the issue? A third say National, 23% say Labour, and 11% pick Act. 

Crime/law and order as a key issue, and party best equipped to manage it (Ipsos Issues Monitor, June)

Zooming out to the top issues, with about four months to run, cost of living remains top of the pile, though it has dropped a smidgen, from 65% in the last Ipsos Monitor to 63% today. 

Ipsos New Zealand Issues Monitor, June 2023

As for the parties that respondents reckoned were better placed to manage those issues, the news is good for National. Since February, they’ve overtaken Labour on housing (including the price of housing). 

Of the top five issues, National is preferred for three. In February, Labour could boast that they were judged better placed to deal with 11 of the 20 most important issues, compared with six for National. No longer. That same comparison gives National 10 of 20, with Labour seven.

Ipsos New Zealand Issues Monitor, Feb v June 2023

More grim news for Labour: the Issues Monitor also measures sentiment on the performance of the government. Respondents are asked to assess the performance over the last six months on a scale from zero to 10, “where 0 means ‘abysmal’ and 10 means ‘outstanding’”.

The average score in this new survey is 5.0, the lowest since Ardern formed a government after the 2017 election. 

Ipsos surveyed 1,002 people from May 23-30.

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