Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks to media during a press conference (Photo: Hagen Hopkins - Pool/Getty Images)

Public backing for NZ Covid-19 response rises to 87% – new poll

The government decision to extend alert level four by five days has widespread public endorsement, according to a new survey.

Overwhelming support for the measures taken by the Ardern-led government in response to the Covid-19 pandemic has remained intact despite the extension of lockdown, rising from 84% to 87%, according to those surveyed by Colmar Brunton.

The poll, which surveyed 600 people over Monday and Tuesday of this week following the prime minister’s announcement of an extension to the lockdown, found the number who “strongly approve” of the response lifting from 55% at the start of April to 68% now.

Jacinda Ardern announced on Monday afternoon that cabinet had decided to extend the strict “alert level four” by five days until after Anzac weekend. With some calling for the strict alert level to be lifted as soon as possible and others urging an extension for a full fortnight, Ardern said they had settled on a “balanced approach”, which the director general of health, Ashley Bloomfield “not only supported, but also recommended”.

The result again shows New Zealand public backing for the actions of the state comfortably ahead of sentiment in the G7 club of the world’s richest countries, where the average is 50%. Support in the US, according to the poll by Kantar, Colmar Brunton’s parent company, has dropped by seven percentage points to 46%.

Asked about the reasons for New Zealand’s perceived success, 80% of those polled ascribed it to effective and early action. Sixty-two percent said they “feel a greater sense of national pride than they did before the crisis”. That’s up from 47% at the start of April.

Over nine in 10 New Zealanders (93%) said they are abiding by the lockdown requirements, essentially unchanged from 92%. However, the number of New Zealanders who describe the behaviour of others as poor has dropped from 27% to 6%.

The results echo polling by Stickybeak for The Spinoff earlier this month which showed an increase in support for the government’s response, to 85%. The poll also revealed that 97% of the country by their own account either mostly or entirely complied with the conditions of the level four lockdown.

The Colmar Brunton poll also reveals enthusiasm for buying local. Sixty per cent of those surveyed said that were keener now to support New Zealand businesses, with 44% saying they will holiday more than they did pre-Covid across New Zealand, while 41% say they will spend less time overseas.

“Our relative success in uniting against Covid is feeding into a sense of national pride, and the beneficiaries may well be local businesses and well-known New Zealand brands,” said Colmar Brunton’s Sarah Bolger in a press release.

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