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71% say keep public transport discounts

16 Nov 23

71% say keep public transport discounts

A new poll finds that 71% of New Zealanders want to keep the current public transport discounts.

50% strongly agree the discounts should be kept.

People from across the political spectrum support the discounts.

55% of National voters and 60% of NZ First voters want the discounts to remain.

Over 90% of Green, Labour and Te Pati Maori voters supported the discounts. Almost half, 49%, of Act voters also wanted to keep the discounts, while 29% did not.

The Free Fares Campaign, which commissioned bye survey by Horizon Research, is calling on the government to listen to the people of Aotearoa New Zealand and keep the current discounts in place with a new petition launched on Wednesday the 15th of November, 2023.

The Free Fares Campaign is a coalition of organisations advocating for free public transport for those who need it most. The coalition includes LGNZ, nine individual Councils, church groups, anti-poverty groups.

unions, student associations, and more. These discounts are vital to address climate change and the cost of living pressures faced by New Zealanders.

“The public transport discounts have been pivotal for many people in a cost of living crisis and helped people shift from cars to public transport. We need policies that enable this mode shift to address climate change and help New Zealanders and their families struggling with transport costs. Reducing transport fares to address these problems is common sense.

"There is broad, cross-partisan support from people across the country to keep the discounts. Getting rid of them would go against what Aotearoa is asking for.” Says Hana Pilkinton-Ching, a spokesperson for the Free Fares campaign.

“There is plenty of local and international evidence that points towards reducing fares as being a great option to improve mode shift. In this time of cost of living and climate change, we need our government to boldly invest in our transport system, not peel back good progress. Reducing fares has benefits across the board, from allowing better access to education, employment, important services and community hubs, to reducing congestion and pollution and increasing economic productivity and returns.3” Says Mika Hervel, a spokesperson for the Free Fares campaign.

“Public transport is one of the simplest ways to reduce emissions. Keeping half price discounts means that our public transport can continue to serve those with the highest needs, both our tamariki and older people, as well as those without access to a car and the funds needed for one. As a student, I use public transport at least once a day, and half price fares allow me to not be constrained by budgeting worries, allowing me to get literally wherever I need.” Says 17 year old Camille Sutherland.

“Getting rid of these discounts is economically nonsensical and a major step back for New Zealand. If our incoming government is really serious about addressing climate change, stewarding the economy well and supporting New Zealanders in a cost of living crisis, the discounts will stay.” Says Henry Lockhart, a spokesperson for the Free Fares campaign.

Survey report detail

Download: The survey report  and accompanying demographic data tables.

The report and tables profile those who use public transport.

Research method

An online survey of adults living in New Zealand aged 18 and older.

Sample sources

Members of two nationwide Horizon Research panels and a third-party panel (used for source diversity).

Fieldwork dates

2 to 7 November 2023.

Sample size

1,024 adults.


The total sample is weighted on age, education, gender, Party Vote 2023, region and ethnicity to match the New Zealand adult population.

Maximum predicted margin of error

±3% at the 95% confidence level.

Population estimates in the report

These are based on the Stats NZ June 2023 population estimate of 4,053,860 people aged 18 or more.