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Research Results

Kiwis tell government what to focus on

15 Mar 24

Kiwis tell government what to focus on
Health, food prices and affordable housing top priorities for Kiwis

Kiwis are telling the government to focus most on improving health, rising food prices and affordable housing.

Horizon Research presented a list of 42 issues and asked respondents which were the most important for the current government to take action on in 2024.

Each respondent selected on average 14 issues from the list. This is lower than the average of 20 issues selected in a similar July 2023 survey asking which issues were important in deciding their party vote in that year's general election.

The chart below shows the top 10 issues chosen. The top five issues were:

  • Improve the health system - chosen by 66% - this is the equivalent of 2,667,000 adults,
  • 63%  rising food prices – 2,538,000 adults,
  • Affordable housing 54%2,185,000 adults,
  • Reduce crime 49% - 1,990,000 adults, and
  • Youth crime and fuel prices each 47% - 1,913,000 adults.

The issues to focus on are similar to vote-influencing ones asked in  2023, with the top 4 issues being the same. In July 2023, education was the 5th ranked issue people said would influence their vote. In February 2024, improving primary and secondary education ranks 12th.

Across age groups there are differences in which issues are important.

People under 35 years chose on average 12 issues. Rising food prices (62%), affordable housing (58%0 and fuel prices (51%) were the top three issues for this group.

People aged 35-54 years chose on average 13 issues. Rising food prices (69%), improve health system (66%) and affordable housing (54%) were the top three issues for this group.

People aged 55+ years chose on average 15 issues. Improve health system (82%), law and order (64%) reduce crime (64%) were the top three issues for this group.

Respondents were asked which political party they voted for in 2023. Across the main political party voters the top 10 issues are in the tables below.

On average people who voted for Te Pāti Māori chose the most issues (16 on average).

Below are rankings for all issues surveyed.

Some environmental issues rank in the top 20, including the quality of water in rivers, streams and lakes (10th), ocean fisheries (13th) and climate change (16th).

Te Tiriti o Waitangi related issues are also a priority for large numbers of adults.

Full isues priorities list:

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 8 February 2024.

Sample size

1,035 adults.


The total sample is weighted on age, education, ethnicity, personal income, region and Party Vote 2023 to match the NZ 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.

Further information:

Julia Ord, Manager, Horizon Research, email