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(Image: Tina Tiller)
(Image: Tina Tiller)

SocietyDecember 20, 2023

What do NZers reckon 2024 has in store?

(Image: Tina Tiller)
(Image: Tina Tiller)

Of the 1,000 people surveyed, most said that 2023 has been shit and 2024 will be shit too. But they also remained optimistic that their personal lives might improve.

After the election but before the three-headed beast was properly formed, a poll asked 1,000 New Zealanders what they thought of 2023, and what they expect is going to happen in 2024. This survey is run every year by Ipsos, one of the largest market research and polling companies in the world. They also polled 24,000 people in 33 other countries like Argentina, Malaysia, Japan and France, so we can compare ourselves to them. 

This is a poll of people’s opinions, not research based predictions of what is likely to happen. So consider the below a vibe check of everyday New Zealanders’ reckons. 

2023 was bad, and 2024 is also going to be bad

Was 2023 bad? Chart: Ipsos, December 2023

The general consensus (73%) is that 2023 was bad, and 2024 isn’t going to be much better for New Zealand. Why? The economy, stupid. Of the people surveyed, 68% expect interest rates to go up, and 67% expect unemployment to go up too. Even more (82%) expect prices to rise faster than incomes. (Also, see below: climate change is here).

The global average for thinking 2023 was “bad for my country” was 70%, which is way down from 90% in 2020, but higher than the 65% that thought this was pre-Covid. Globally, optimism for the year ahead has risen from an average of 65% last year to 70%.

Not so bad for me though

Most people think 2024 is going to be better for them personally. Chart: Ipsos, December 2023

Only about half of the New Zealanders thought that 2023 had been bad for them and their family, and despite thinking that 2024 is going to be worse for the country, 73% feel optimistic that it will at least be a better year for them personally. It’s a smidge (3%) higher than the average across the 34 countries.

Japan wins this section, with only 38% thinking that 2023 has been bad for “me and my family”.

Climate change is here, but the chances of the government doing more about it are low

NZers are more concerned about climate change, but less likely to think our government is going to do more about it than the other countries surveyed. Chart: Ipsos, December 2023

The majority (74%) of New Zealanders think more extreme weather events will hit the country in 2024, and 58% think a natural disaster will hit a major city in 2024. 82% expect that the average global temperature will increase. 

Less than half (46%) thought that the New Zealand government will likely introduce more demanding targets to reduce carbon emissions more quickly. About the same amount (45%) of people thought there were going to be more restrictions introduced to reduce the amount people drive cars. Given the transport minister’s recent moves, it seems they were too hopeful.

We are not so scared of AI

Will AI steal our jobs? Chart: Ipsos, December 2023

New Zealanders were below the global average (56% vs 64%) in thinking that AI would lead to many jobs being lost, that doctors will use AI to decide patient treatments (45% vs 56%), and that robots are going to look, think and speak like humans (45% vs 50%). 

We’re also pretty sceptical that a rogue AI programme will cause significant global chaos – only 27% of the New Zealanders thought this was likely, making us the seventh least concerned country.

Worries about AI are highest in southeast Asia, particularly in Indonesia where 84% of people think AI will take jobs, and 73% think doctors will use AI to determine treatments, and 80% think robots will look, think and speak like humans. Hungary and Japan are the least concerned with these issues, sitting between 19 and 50%.

We are pretty hopeful about the rest of the world

Another global pandemic? Nahhh say NZers. Chart: Ipsos, December 2023.

Only 39% of us think there’s going to be another global pandemic, the fourth lowest reckon of the 35 countries. Malaysia is the most worried, with 68% thinking it’s likely. 

We’re the eighth most hopeful country that Donald Trump won’t be re-elected (only 30% thought this will happen). In India 51% of people think it’s likely he will be re-elected, and China’s reckons come close at 49%.

There’s one overseas issue we’re not so optimistic about – the war in Ukraine. Only 22% thought the war is likely to end in 2024, compared with a global average of 31%. 


Not much hope for equity. Chart: Ipsos, December 2023.

Only 32% of New Zealanders thought it was likely that people here will become more tolerant of each other. Less than half think that women will be paid the same as men, but there was no question on ethnic pay gaps, the biggest in New Zealand.

Managing director of Ipsos New Zealand, Carin Hercock, thinks that the results indicate we are heading into 2024 conscious of our spending and wary of natural disasters – basically the way we’ve been feeling throughout 2023.

Keep going!