Over half of Kiwis think politics and the economy are rigged against them

Anti-TPPA protesters outside Parliament in 2015. A new poll shows six in 10 Kiwis think the economy is rigged against them.
WARICK SMITH/FAIRFAX NZ

Anti-TPPA protesters outside Parliament in 2015. A new poll shows six in 10 Kiwis think the economy is rigged against them.

A new poll shows that a majority of the country think the economic and political system are rigged against them.

The Ipsos poll, taken in May of 2017, shows that women and those earning less are even more likely to consider the system broken.

But Kiwis are less disenchanted than those in other countries and just a quarter think the country is in "decline".

Still, the numbers make for bracing reading for any politician.

READ MORE:
*Feisty, protectionist populism? New Zealand tried it
*Shamubeel Eaqub: 2017, welcome to the era of populism
*Truth, lies, and democracy
*Chris Trotter: Can Winston Peters' populism with a smile survive in the age of anger?

Fully 56 per cent of Kiwis questioned agree that traditional parties and politicians don't care about people like them.

Theresa May had a lot more trouble than expected in the last election, as many saw the country going in the wrong ...
Reuters

Theresa May had a lot more trouble than expected in the last election, as many saw the country going in the wrong direction. Could Bill English be in for a similar shock?

Just 16 per cent disagreed with that sentiment, and the unemployed were far more likely to think the system was rigged. In other countries like Australia dissatisfaction was higher.

But the economy got even worse marks than the politicians.

Six in ten - 64 per cent - agreed that the country's economy was rigged to advantage the rich and powerful.

Women and those earning less than $30,000 were significantly more likely to agree with that, and those earning over $100,000 were significantly less likely to agree.

Ad Feedback

"There definitely does seem to be some sense that there is a mood for change," said Ipsos's Nicola Legge.

"There is a sense that the economy is most benefiting those who need it least, with politicians having lost sight of the needs of everyday Kiwis. Low income households especially are feeling the strain."

"There are also signs that as we prepare to go to the polls in September many are open to a leader that will break the mould and release us from more of the same."

"While we are not alone in the world with these views, it would be wrong to assume we are primed for a sea-change such has that experienced in other countries in the past year."

Political scientist Bryce Edwards said everyone who was part of the "system" - left or right - should  heed the warning.

"Until now, it has looked like New Zealand has been immune from the world-wide increase in radical politics and rebellion against the establishment. This poll shows that such political upheavals could yet come to New Zealand," Edwards said.

"This poll could be taken as a wake up call that not all is well in New Zealand. Levels of satisfaction are clearly in question at the moment."

Edwards said how this might play out on an election might be hard to predict, as many of the disenchanted would simply not vote.

"But there will be some looking for some sort of electoral outlet for their concerns. And the best positioned parties are going to be NZ FIrst with Winston Peters and Shane Jones, and TOP to some degree."

It was likely that MMP, by allowing smaller parties to gain some power, had created something of a release valve which might account for the lower level of dissatisfaction in New Zealand compared with other countries.

"The system does respond to some degree. But the fact that we still haven't seen any new parties come into Parliament since 1996 that are formed from people who aren't already in Parliament does suggest that it is not as flexible as we might think."

He said that while other countries seem closer to electing a 'strongman' figure, New Zealand was not immune.

"The fact that half of New Zealanders would appear to welcome an anti-democratic politician ruling the country should be a huge concern. This suggests that politics really is in a very unhealthy state."

"New Zealand might think it's immune from ever having a Trump-like figure come to power, but this polls suggests that such a danger isn't so farfetched."

The online poll questioned a weighted sample of 507 adults over May 2017. It found no significant difference in dissatisfaction between age groups.

 - Stuff

Comments

Ad Feedback
special offers
Ad Feedback