Kiwi adults are little better than kids when it comes to lying, cheating and stealing - raising questions about the type of example they are setting for the younger population.
A Colmar Brunton survey found the level of dishonesty among adults "disturbing".
The survey revealed 81 per cent of adults admitted to cheating of some kind, including 36 per cent who admitted cheating in a relationship and 22 per cent who cheated at work.
The most common examples of cheating at work included intentionally wasting time and not doing the work assigned.
Spencer Willis, who led the survey, said almost a quarter of adults surveyed told a lie to their partner, half within the past month. While almost three-quarters felt guilty about the lie, 84 per cent believed it was justified.
Reasons deemed acceptable included lying to avoid hurting someone's feelings.
Only 7 per cent believed it was never OK and 12 per cent thought it was OK to lie about having an affair.
Mr Willis said it was little wonder young people were following suit, with a similar survey showing that only 8 per cent of young people had never cheated.
Theft was also a common trait, with 60 per cent of adults having stolen something from a shop or the workplace.
"Adults are more likely to acknowledge that many arbitrary situations constitute stealing, such as taking stationery from work, taking items home from a fast food restaurant, downloading music, and being lazy at work - whereas younger people had a more black-and-white view of what it means to steal."
Despite admitting to the bad behaviour, 91 per cent of adults are satisfied with their personal ethics and character.
Colmar Brunton interviewed 280 adults aged over 30 years old during December using an online panel.
The survey had a maximum margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 per cent.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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