The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted individuals around the globe, both in how we live our daily lives, as well as in our outlook on life. Although New Zealand has been largely successful in keeping the pandemic at bay, the collective attitudes, values and beliefs of our Kiwi neighbours have shifted in the last 12 months.

Over the course of 2020, McCrindle conducted three pulse surveys with 1,000 New Zealanders to understand how COVID-19 has changed, and continues to change, people’s values and beliefs.

Despite the ups and downs of 2020, New Zealanders have remained hopeful and resilient

Throughout a challenging year, New Zealanders have remained largely hopeful. In response to the unfolding situation around COVID-19, the most common emotion in all three pulses has been hope (45% April, 37% Aug, 40% Nov). Although New Zealanders have remained hopeful throughout the pandemic, they have also felt anxious (39% April, 37% Aug, 36% Nov) and frustrated (27% April, 32% Aug, 31% Nov).

Although New Zealanders have experienced a range of emotions in response to the unfolding situation around COVID-19 this year, they have remained resilient overall. In April, New Zealanders were most likely to believe themselves to be extremely/very emotionally resilient (54%). At the same time, 43% of New Zealanders believed themselves to be spiritually resilient.

As the year has unfolded, however, emotional resilience has decreased (54% April cf. 46% Aug, 47% Nov) while spiritual resilience has increased (43% April cf. 48% Aug, 51% Nov). This suggests that while New Zealanders are beginning to feel emotionally weary after 9 months of uncertainty, they are increasingly drawing strength from their spirituality.

New Zealanders are looking to prioritise family and relationships over consumption

When thinking about the long-term impacts that COVID-19 has had on different areas of their life, almost half of New Zealanders (45%) believe the pandemic has actually had a positive impact on their family and relationships. After the pandemic, more than half of New Zealanders (56%) are looking to continue prioritising their relationships.

New Zealanders believe there are a number of actions individuals can take to create a more equitable and just future for their country. New Zealanders believe individuals should adopt a ‘simpler lifestyle’ with less consumption (65%), make conscious decisions to support NZ small businesses (63%) and invest more in health, housing, education and environment (61%).

New Zealanders hope their country will place more of a priority on the vulnerable in society and the environment in the future

While the pandemic may have had both positive and negative impacts in individuals lives, it has also created an opportunity to consider the country’s priorities for the future. As New Zealand moves beyond the pandemic, New Zealanders hope there will be a higher priority placed on the vulnerable in society (52%) and the environment (49%).

For more on this research: The COVID19 NZ Values Study

A three-part national survey that looks into New Zealanders’ attitudes, values, and beliefs in light of the global coronavirus pandemic. Commissioned by the Wilberforce Foundation and conducted by McCrindle Research, the surveys were conducted in April, August and November 2020.

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