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Research Results

People feel worse off, locking wallets in 2011

16 Jan 11

Credit: Sunday Star Times
People feel worse off, locking wallets in 2011
30% expect their financial position to worsen this year

New-found austerity is revealed in an HorizonPoll survey commissioned by the Sunday Star-Times.


The HorizonPoll, covering 2055 respondents between January 7 and 13, 2011, finds many are worrying over their personal finances and job prospects:


  • 41.5% say their household’s financial position is worse than a year ago


  • 30% expect their personal financial situation will worsen this year (28% improve, 39.4% stay the same)


  • 12% are extremely worried and another 34.6% worried by their personal and household financial situation, with only 13.4% not worried at all


  • 3.9% (about 64,000 adult New Zealanders) think they will lose their jobs this year

Kiwis say they tightened their belts and paid off debt last year, and say they expect to do this even more so this year.


The Sunday Star Times' full report on a nation locking its wallets is here.


The survey is weighted by age, gender, ethnicity, personal income, region and part vote 2008 to provide a representative national population sample. The maximum margin of error at a 95% confidence level is +/-2.2%.


Household financial situation:


Some 41/6% think their households are worse off than last year, 37.7% say it’s the same and 19.6% only say its better.


Those most feeling worse off are aged 55 or older (47%) while those feeling least worse off are 18-24 year-olds.


Half those not in the workforce feel worse off, while 34% of those in work feel their household is financially worse off.


Business  managers and executives are more likely to be feeling better off than others (25%), but business owners and the self employed  are the most likely to feel worse off (49.6%), perhaps reflecting the low rates of economic growth in the past year.


The elderly are also more likely to report their personal finances are going to be worse off in the next year. Some 43% of people aged 65-74 say they’ll be worse off this year, 34% of those aged 55-64 and 33% of 45-54 year-olds, compared with the national result of 30% worse off, 28% better off.


No-one earning $200,000 or more a year feels they will be worse off personally this year: in fact 69.5% think they will be better off, along with 36% of those earning $100,000 to $150,000.


Among those on middle annual incomes of $50,000 to $70,000, 21% think they’ll be personally financially worse off this year, 44.2% stay the same and 33.8% better off.


Who is worrying


Some 12%, or about 386,400 adult New Zealanders, say they are “extremely worried” by their personal and household financial situation, and another 34.6% (about 1.1 million) are worried while 34.6% are not very worried. Only 13.4% are not worried at all.


Again, 45-54 year-olds are most worried (53.7%), along with 35-44 year-olds (52%) and 55-64 year-olds (46.8%).


By income, the most worried have annual incomes of $20,000 or less (53.4%), while those earning $100,001 to $150,000 and $200,000 or more are the most likely not to be worried at all (25% and 28.8% respectively).The most concerned, by occupation, are 49 out of every 100 business proprietors and self employed and home makers (not otherwise employed, also 49%).


Worry by party vote:


Some 55.8% of Labour voters at the last election are worried about their personal finances, 54.4% of New Zealand First voters, 50% of Green voters, 57% of United Future,  58% of Jim Anderton’s Progressives, 43.3% of Maori Party – and  57.5% of a group who may be electorally important this year - those who did not vote at the last election.


Some 40.6% of National voters are worried, but only 15.3% of ACT voters.


  • To purchase detailed resuls and analysis of this economic mood survey, and other indepth research services, contact Grant McInman, Manager, Horizon Research Ltd, e-mail:, telephone 64 21 486 4163.

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