Who do we trust in New Zealand? 2016 to 2019 - Victoria University

Who do we trust in New Zealand? 2016 to 2019 - Victoria University
Who do we

in New Zealand?
     2016 to 2019
     Simon Chapple & Kate Prickett
Who do we trust in New Zealand? 2016 to 2019 - Victoria University
  Who do we

in New Zealand?
                   2016 to 2019
                   Simon Chapple & Kate Prickett

 4 Foreword
  5 Methodology
 6 Summary
  8 Interpersonal   trust: We asked about
    overall trust in people
 9 Group trust: We asked about trust in groups
10 Institutional  trust: We asked about levels of
    trust in various formal and informal institutions
 11 Did the Christchurch shootings influence trust?
12 We asked about trust between ethnic groups
13 We    asked about trust in different
    religious groups
14 We asked about trust and guns
16 How    big are interpersonal and government trust
    differences between sociodemographic groups?

18 What    have we learned about trust in
    New Zealand since 2016?
In 2016, 2018 and 2019, in                             main aim was to answer the question of whether
                                                       the event had changed trust. In this second 2019
association with Colmar Brunton,
                                                       survey we added further questions on trust in
the Institute for Governance and                       ethnic and religious groups, and questions on gun
Policy Studies (IGPS) surveyed                         ownership and trust related to guns, since very little
1000 New Zealanders to obtain                          information was available on these dimensions in
information on their interpersonal                     New Zealand and they are pertinent in the aftermath
and institutional trust.                               of the shootings.
                                                           This report takes an overview of all four of
When the then IGPS Director Michael Macaulay
                                                       our surveys so far – 2016, 2018 and the two 2019
made the decision to first collect the survey in
2016, he envisaged regular data collection every
                                                           We are very grateful for the work that Colmar
two years. When the survey was run again in 2018,
                                                       Brunton has done. I also wish to acknowledge
we found unanticipated rises in trust in various
                                                       Michael Macaulay for initiating this survey. I am
dimensions of government. As Director, these
                                                       deeply grateful to my colleague Conal Smith and
changes led me to decide to run the survey at higher
                                                       my co-author Kate Prickett for their ongoing and
frequency, in part to be able to say more about the
                                                       extensive help with this publication. Finally, our
drivers of trust changes.
                                                       thanks go to all of those who participated in our
    Our 2019 survey was conducted between 25
February and 10 March. On 15 March the mosque
shootings in Christchurch occurred. Because of         Dr Simon Chapple
the shootings, the IGPS made the decision to           Director, Institute for Governance and Policy Studies
commission an immediate follow-up survey. The

4 – Institute for Governance and Policy Studies
The surveys are intended to                                                            Quotas were applied at the sampling and
                                                                                  selection stage for this survey. Results were also
provide a representative picture
                                                                                  weighted to be representative of New Zealand by
of the New Zealand population.                                                    age, gender, ethnicity and region.
The questions for the survey were                                                      Not all New Zealand households have internet
designed by the IGPS and were                                                     access. 77 percent of households had internet
adapted from trust surveys run in                                                 access in the most recent 2013 Census, meaning the
various countries overseas.                                                       survey cannot be said to be truly representative of all
Data was collected by Colmar Brunton. A total of                                  groups. Having said this, we believe that the results
1000 New Zealanders aged 18 years or over were                                    provide a reasonably good picture of the population
interviewed online, randomly selected from Colmar                                 and will allow us to identify trends and changes over
Brunton’s online panel.                                                           time.
     In terms of the panel, Colmar Brunton has an                                      When comparing trust data, following standard
agreement with the Fly Buys Loyalty programme                                     practice we convert ordinal data (e.g. first, second,
to recruit their members. Fly Buys is one of the                                  etc) into cardinal data (one, two, etc) by assuming
biggest loyalty programmes in New Zealand with                                    equal intervals between ordinal response categories.
around 2.5 million members, about two thirds of                                        Additionally, we use several measures to
the New Zealand population over age 18. When                                      assess importance of differences in time and
Colmar Brunton started their panel in 2006-07,                                    between groups. The first and most important is a
they went to programme members with an offer                                      standardised effect size - the difference between
to join. From there on every year Colmar Brunton                                  two mean cardinal trust values divided by the
run a recruitment campaign approaching random                                     relevant standard deviation, the latter a measure
selection of members who are not on it to join the                                of spread in trust outcomes. We illustrate the
panel. The number of people approached depends                                    scale of differences we find in our data through
on how many are needed in each of the age/gender/                                 the qualitative terminology of very small (0.01),
ethnicity or other demographic segments. In                                       small (0.20), medium (0.50) and large (0.80)
addition, every new member joining the programme                                  effect sizes.1 The second is statistical significance,
gets a welcome email which also has a link to join the                            which measures whether the observed difference
Colmar Brunton Panel. Further, any person can join                                is probably systematic, or whether it is simply
the panel through Colmar Brunton’s website. Once                                  statistical noise. We use five percent as our cut-
they show an interest, Colmar Brunton ask them                                    off level of significance. If we were to redraw our
to register with the programme and return with a                                  sample, at least 95 times out of 100 we would find a
membership number to enter the panel.                                             substantively similar finding.

 The size of impacts on trust: Terminology used
 Qualitative term:    “Very small”         “Small”                                          “Medium”              “Large”
 Quantitative         0.01 of a trust      0.20 of a trust                                  0.50 of a trust       0.80 of a trust
 definition           standard deviation standard deviation                                 standard deviation    standard deviation
1 The qualitative lexicon also includes very large – 1.2 and huge – 2.0, but we
  do not find any such effects in our data. See Shlomo Sawilowsky. 2009. New
  effect size rules of thumb. Journal of Modern Applied Statistical Methods,
  8(2), 597-599.

                                       Who do we trust in New Zealand? 2016 to 2019 – Simon Chapple & Kate Prickett – 5
Interpersonal trust                               Which institutions
in New Zealand                                    are most trusted?
is modestly on                                    In 2019 New Zealanders trust their
the rise                                          neighbours most, equal with their
Between 2018 and 2019 the trust                   trust in government to do right for
that New Zealanders express in                    New Zealand. Trust in government
others rose by a very small to small              -related institutions has risen between
amount. Compared to other countries,              2016 and 2019. New Zealanders are
New Zealand’s interpersonal trust is at           least trusting of the way political
the higher end of the OECD.                       parties are funded.

Which groups are                                  Did the Christchurch
most trusted?                                     shootings influence trust?
New Zealanders trust Police and                   There is no evidence of any systematic
Medical practitioners the most, and               influence of the Christchurch
Bloggers the least. There has been a              shootings on trust. If the goal of the
rise in trust in Government ministers             shootings was to lower trust in New
and Members of Parliament between                 Zealand, it has failed.
2016 and 2018. High trust groups are
gaining in trust. The picture is more
mixed for low trust groups.                       Does trust in ethnic
                                                  groups differ?
                                                  Out-group trust for all ethnic groups is
                                                  the same. However, New Zealand
                                                  Europeans and Māori have higher
                                                  in-group trust.

6 – Institute for Governance and Policy Studies
Does trust in
religious groups differ?
The most trusted religious group in
New Zealand is Buddhists. The least
trusted is Evangelical Christians. In the
middle, trust in Muslims, Jews, Hindus
                                                  How big are
and Protestants and Catholics is very
                                                  differences between
Trust and guns                                    In most cases, sociodemographic
Between one in six and one in seven               differences in trust are small or non-
households have a gun. Gun owners                 existent. Together, they only explain a
are only moderately different in their            modest amount of variation in trust.
sociodemographic profile from other               There is no male trust advantage. Age
New Zealanders – more likely to be                seems to matter more. The ethnic
New Zealand European and have lower               picture is mixed and shows no
levels of education – but trust                   systematic picture of advantage for the
government less.                                  majority group over minorities. Income,
                                                  region, and education play a small to
                                                  medium sized role.

                     Who do we trust in New Zealand? 2016 to 2019 – Simon Chapple & Kate Prickett – 7
Interpersonal trust: We asked about overall

trust in people
We        asked: On a scale from 0 to 10, where 0 is not at all
          and 10 is completely, in general how much do you
trust most people?
The average value on the 11-point scale was 6.1 in                     these two numbers differ. In both cases however,
2018, when this data was first collected, and is 6.3                   interpersonal trust is considerably higher than the
in 2019. The 0.2-point trust rise between 2018 and                     OECD-wide population-weighted average of 5.7,
2019 is statistically significant. However, the effect                 published in their 2017 How’s Life? publication.2 The
size is between very small and small.                                  GSS measure ranked New Zealand 7th and the IGPS
    For 2019, our measure gave a somewhat                              measure 12th out of the 27 OECD countries where
lower level of interpersonal trust than Statistics                     data is available. Internationally, our interpersonal
New Zealand’s General Social Survey (GSS) value                        trust levels are on the higher side, but also at some
of 6.8 for 2018/9. More work is intended on why                        distance from the highest in the OECD.

Interpersonal trust has risen modestly between 2018 and 2019







          0           1                2           3    4          5           6         7         8        9           10
      Do not trust people at all                                                                        Completely trust people
     2018        2019 Note: Represents percent of annual sample in each category.

2 See OECD. 2017. How’s Life? 2017, OECD, Paris.

8 – Institute for Governance and Policy Studies
Group trust: We asked about

trust in groups
We                                       asked: How much trust do you have in the following groups
                                         to do the right thing?
                                                                                                                      trust in our first 2016 survey, including for Medical
Respondents were given a five-point scale –
No trust, Little trust, Some trust, Lots of trust,                                                                    practitioners, Police and Schools. The changes
Complete trust – and asked about trust in 14                                                                          have, however, been modest, with small effect sizes.
institutions: Medical practitioners, Police, Members                                                                  Patterns of changes through time are more mixed
of Parliament (MPs), Judges/courts, Corporations/                                                                     for those institutions with lower than average trust.
large businesses, TV/Print media, Schools and                                                                         There are downwards trust trends observed – more
colleges, Government ministers, Universities,                                                                         modest however even than the small upwards
Charities, Local government, Bloggers/online                                                                          trends for high trust institutions – for Churches
commentators, Churches, and Small businesses.                                                                         and Bloggers. Other lower trust institutions have
The ordinal scale is converted to a cardinal                                                                          stable trust – like Corporations and the Media. The
measure, with a maximum value of five.                                                                                government-associated institutions – Government
    Medical practitioners and the Police are                                                                          ministers and MPs – show something of a saw tooth,
consistently the most trusted groups in our society.                                                                  with small to medium effect sizes for trust rises
On the other hand, our consistently least trusted                                                                     between 2016 and 2018 following the election in 2017,
group is Bloggers. Trust has typically increased for                                                                  and a modest dropping off in 2019.
those groups which had the highest initial levels of

Trust increased for higher trust groups
Complete trust



No trust at all

                                  ical   Poli
                                             ce        ool
                                                                                  Sma es
                                                                                          ll      tice
                                                                                                                              es         tion
                                                                                                                                             s            al
                                                                                                                                                     Loc nt    Med
                                                                                                                                                                  ia   MPs     men
                         Med ners                   Sch           ver                    s     Jus urts    Cha          Chu           ora                 e                 ern ers Blogtators
                             t i o                             Uni                 n e s         co                              Cor
                                                                                                                                     p                n m                Gov minist
                         cti                                                  busi                                                              gover                                   men
          2016                  2018            2019 Note: Mean score on a 1-5 scale, ranked high to low in 2016.

                                                          Who do we trust in New Zealand? 2016 to 2019 – Simon Chapple & Kate Prickett – 9
Institutional trust: We asked about levels of
trust in various formal
and informal institutions
We        asked nine questions, on a four-point scale (Very little/none,
          Not much, A reasonable amount, A great deal) on trust in
various formal and informal institutions.
In 2016, New Zealanders placed the greatest trust                                                          as to successfully deal with international problems,
in their neighbours to make informed choices                                                               have both also risen significantly with the effect size
about their local area. This trust has fallen by a                                                         for both lying between small and medium. Increases
statistically significant amount, although the effect                                                      in trust for government-like institutions to a large
size is between small and very small. Trust in the                                                         extent mirror rises in trust over the same period for
government to do what is right for New Zealand has                                                         MPs and Government Ministers and are presumably
risen between 2016 and 2018 and 2019 to a level                                                            the consequence of the election and change in
equal to trust in neighbours. The effect is medium                                                         government in late 2017.
sized and is statistically significant. Trust in the                                                            Compared to other institutions, trust is lowest in
government to deal with national problems has                                                              the way political parties are funded, by an effect size
significantly risen too. Here, however, the effect                                                         between medium to large. Trust in funding of political
size is small. Trust in government to consider New                                                         parties has significantly risen over the period, but the
Zealand citizens’ interest fairly and equally, as well                                                     effect size is very small to small.

     Trust in government rose
A great deal of trust


Very little or no trust

                                       s to           s to        P to                      ent                 eal l             to                  eal                 zen
                                b ourmed        N Zerrmed    a l M right              e rnmlocal         e nt dtiona        m entr NZ         e nt dional             citifairly     polding
                            ig o es  r         w o es o    c     o                  v
                                                                                   o l          s       m a         s er fn    o            m
                                                                                                                                           n at s                   Z            i
                                                                                                                                                                  N ed ally st fun n
                          Neke inf hoic Felloke inf hoic L d                   al g deaoblem overnter-noblemGov right                   ver n em                   er u Tru
                                                   c                       Loc        pr          G h in pr           d o             Go withprobl            n sid nd eq
                                                                                                  wi t                                                    c o     a
                          2016          2018          2019     Note: Mean score on a 1-4 scale, ranked high to low in 2016.

10 – Institute for Governance and Policy Studies
Did the
 Christchurch shootings influence trust?
 Our               first 2019 survey was collected
                   between 25 February to 10 March.
 The Christchurch shootings occurred on 15 March.
                                                                                 statistically significant, one positive shift (for MPs)
                                                                                 and the other a negative shift (for Bloggers).
                                                                                     Despite the scale and shock of the event,
 We decided to run the survey again to ascertain any                             the clear conclusion is that trust was rock-like in
 changes in trust. It was run between 12 and 18 April,                           response to the shootings. If the goal of the shootings
 approximately one month following the shootings.                                was to lower trust and sow suspicion in New
      The data show no change in interpersonal trust                             Zealand, there is no evidence that it has succeeded.
 following the shootings, in terms of either size or                             Conversely, in the sense of greater trust following
 significance. Interpersonal trust was 6.3 before and                            the shootings, the data provide no evidence for any
 after the shootings. Effect sizes for change in group                           national “coming together” either.
 trust measures are all below small, and only two are

   The Christchurch shootings did not affect group trust
Complete trust



No trust at all

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                  Pre-ChCh               Post-ChCh        Note: Mean score on a 1-5 scale, ranked high to low in Pre-ChCh survey.

                                         Who do we trust in New Zealand? 2016 to 2019 – Simon Chapple & Kate Prickett – 11
We asked about
trust between ethnic groups
In       the post-Christchurch shootings survey,
         we asked: How much trust do you have in
the following people, or groups of people living
                                                                                       considered. No ethnic group experiences a different
                                                                                       degree of out-group trust or distrust from any other.
                                                                                       There is evidence of higher in- than out-group trust
in New Zealand? The question was asked, on the                                         for both New Zealand Europeans and Māori. They
same five-point scale used for institutional trust, with                               trusted themselves significantly more than others
reference to four groups: New Zealand Europeans,                                       trusted them. In size, the in-group advantage is
Māori, Asians and Pacific peoples. Because we could                                    small to medium for New Zealand Europeans, and
allocate respondents into these categories, we could                                   medium to large for Māori. That there is no in-
distinguish between in- and out-group trust. Out-                                      group advantage in trust for either Pacific people or
group trust is defined as trust by non-New Zealand                                     Asians may reflect ethnic heterogeneity within the
Europeans in New Zealand Europeans, non-Māori in                                       category. For example, for Pacific peoples the actual
Māori and so on. In-group trust is defined as trust by                                 reference in-group may be Samoans, Tongans or
New Zealand Europeans in New Zealand Europeans,                                        Cook Islanders, not Pacific peoples, and for the
Māori in Māori and so on.                                                              Asian group, it may be Koreans, Filipinos or Chinese.
     The most striking result is that out-group
trust is very similar across all four ethnic groups

 Out-group ethnic trust no different across ethnic groups
 Out-group Trust

       8.6          10.6                                            49.0                                          23.2                 8.6     Pacific peoples

                                                                                                                                               New Zealand
        15.6               5.8                                      45.7                                          27.1                  5.8

        17.7                     5.2                                       50.5                                          21.7           4.9 Asians

        14.7           5.8                                            51.7                                               23.0           4.9 Māori

 In-group trust
                                                                                                                                               New Zealand
  4.3                                             52.4                                                     36.6                         6.1    Europeans

       7.2                                      41.4                                              32.2                          18.1           Māori

 3.0         12.3                                           45.8                                              34.3                       4.8 Asians

        14.7           3.7                                          52.4                                             24.5                4.8 Pacific peoples

   0%                              20%                        40%                          60%                    80%                        100%
       No trust at all           Little trust          Some trust          Lots of trust         Complete trust
 Note: Percent in each trust scale category, ranked by ethnic group size.

12 – Institute for Governance and Policy Studies
We asked about
trust in different religious groups
In       the post-Christchurch shootings survey, for
         the first time we asked: How much trust
do you have in the following people, or groups
                                                                                   is no evidence of either local anti-Semitism or
                                                                                   Islamophobia in the post-shootings’ responses,
                                                                                   in the form of any unusual trust deficit displayed
of people living in New Zealand? The question                                      towards Jews or Muslims.
was asked with reference to Catholics, Protestants,                                     For the very small religious groups in New
Evangelical Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists,                                Zealand, like Jews and Muslims, our measure is a
Atheists or agnostics, and Jews and using the five-                                very good proxy for out-group trust, since there are
point scale.                                                                       so few in the minority group. For the larger groups,
    Near identical in terms of trust are the two                                   like Protestants and Catholics, our measure does
largest religious groupings in New Zealand –                                       not detect out-group trust well, as it is likely to
Protestants and Catholics. In a very similar space                                 contain a substantial number of in-group members.
are Atheists and agnostics, Hindus, Jews and                                       If there is an in-group religious bias in trust, out-
Muslims. Evangelical Christians are especially                                     group trust of Protestants and Catholics will be
distrusted, and Buddhists particularly trusted.                                    lower than that observed here and lowered relative
The trust difference between these top and                                         to out-group trust of very small groups like Jews and
bottom religious groups is of medium size. There                                   Muslims.

Buddhists most trustworthy, Evangelicals least
 Buddhists     4.3         11.0                                    49.7                                        28.1                  6.9

      Jews     5.5            11.8                                        53.0                                    23.8               6.0

    Hindus      6.0             13.9                                        51.7                                      22.5           5.8

  agnostics     7.3                   16.5                                   45.7                                 24.3               6.1

Protestants          9.8               14.2                                      47.2                                 23.2           5.5

   Muslims      6.3                  16.5                                        49.9                                  22.2           5.1

  Catholics      7.7                   18.5                                         48.2                                21.2          4.5

Evangelicals           13.7                         23.8                                    42.1                              15.5    4.8

               0%                             20%                  40%                        60%                80%                  100%
     No trust at all              Little trust        Some trust      Lots of trust           Complete Trust
Note: Percent in each trust scale category, ranked by high-low mean trust score.

                                       Who do we trust in New Zealand? 2016 to 2019 – Simon Chapple & Kate Prickett – 13
We asked about
trust and guns
In       the post-Christchurch shootings survey,
         we asked if people had a gun, either
personally or in their household, and about trust
                                                       percent). There is no difference in the proportion in
                                                       those who did and did not own guns who consider
                                                       themselves Centre left, Centre, or Right.
in gun-owners and in the pro-gun lobby. We                  There are no differences in interpersonal trust
found that a not-insignificant minority of New         between gun owners and those who do not own
Zealanders live in a home with a gun. Fifteen          guns. Gun owners, however, have lower levels of
percent of respondents say they either own a gun       trust in the government to do the right thing. The
(hereafter “gun owners”), evenly split between         effect is between small and medium in size.
those who personally own a gun (7.7 percent) or             Speculatively, taken in their entirety, these
live in a household with someone who owned a           results may indicate the greater rurality of gun
gun (7.5 percent). Gun owners report moderately        ownership in New Zealand and the frequent rural
lower levels of education (38 percent completed        use of guns as a farm tool or as a recreational
secondary school or less, versus 29 percent of non-    hunting device.
gun owners), are somewhat more likely to own their          We use a multivariate framework that adjusts
home (79 percent versus 68 percent), are more          for sociodemographic differences between gun
likely to be New Zealand European (84 percent          owners and non-gun owners. The derived results,
versus 74 percent) and are more likely to be New       shown in the charts below, demonstrate that both
Zealand born (84 percent versus 75 percent). They      gun owners and those identifying on the political
are also less likely to live in Auckland (15 percent   right have generally higher levels of trust in both
versus 34 percent) or Wellington (6 percent versus     gun owners and in the pro-gun lobby . The positive
12 percent), but more likely to live places outside    trust gap of gun owners over non-gun owners in
those cities in the North Island (50 percent versus    both gun-related trust measures grows markedly
29 percent).                                           as we move from left to right across the political
     Gun owners are less likely to identify as being   spectrum. People to the right who own guns are
at the Left of the political spectrum (8 percent       more divided on gun-trust from those who don’t
versus 16 percent). They are more likely to consider   than are those to their left.
themselves Centre right (32 percent versus 23

14 – Institute for Governance and Policy Studies
Gun owners to the political right more trusting of gun owners
Complete Trust



No trust at all

                       Left              Centre left                Centre     Centre right           Right
     No gun in the household                 Gun in the household
  Note: Mean score on a 1-5 scale by political identification.

  Low trust in the pro-gun lobby, but higher trust on the political right
 Complete Trust



 No trust at all

                       Left             Centre left                 Centre     Centre right          Right
       No gun in the household       Gun in the household
     Note: Mean score on a 1-5 scale by political identification.

                                 Who do we trust in New Zealand? 2016 to 2019 – Simon Chapple & Kate Prickett – 15
How big are interpersonal and government
trust differences between
sociodemographic groups?
Pooling                           the two 2019 data
                                  sets, we looked
at the relationship of membership of various
                                                             as both Māori and another ethnic group are
                                                             statistically identical in trust to New Zealand
                                                             Europeans. Other minority ethnic groups are
sociodemographic groups and two representative               also indistinguishable from the majority. Trust in
trust measures – interpersonal trust and trust in            government does not vary across most ethnic
government to do what is right for New Zealand.              groups, with significantly higher trust found for
Since the various sociodemographic dimensions                the Indian and Other groups compared to New
can be related – for example, Māori are more                 Zealand Europeans.
likely to be young – we undertook this exercise in
                                                          Education: Post-graduates have higher
a multi-variate context. So, for example, a multi-
                                                             interpersonal trust levels than others, but the
variate approach means that we can examine
                                                             effect, while statistically significant, is between
the association between being (say) Māori
                                                             very small and small. There are no differences in
and interpersonal trust after stripping out the
                                                             government trust by educational level.
independent impact of being younger. To visually
illustrate some of the larger differences, predicted      Income: People in higher income households
interpersonal trust for selected variables are shown         have significantly higher interpersonal and
in the chart. The main conclusions from considering          government trust. The effect is small to
the sociodemographics in terms of the two trust              medium, and lower for government trust than
measures are as follows:                                     for interpersonal trust.

Gender: Men and women have very similar                   Political leaning: Compared to being on the
    interpersonal trust. While men are significantly         Left, being on the Centre left, Centre, Centre
    less trusting of government to do what is right          right and Right end of the political spectrum
    than women, the difference is between very               has a small to medium sized positive impact
    small and small.                                         on interpersonal trust. Patterns for trust
                                                             in government are lower on the right than
Age: The relationship between age and                        the left, and larger in size, suggesting these
    interpersonal trust falls somewhat until people
                                                             patterns may be sensitive to the ideology of the
    are in their early forties, and thereafter rises
                                                             government in power.
    strongly in a “U” shape. In terms of size, some of
    these effects are large. A “U” shape in age is also   Region: Living in Wellington and Canterbury has
    found for government trust, but age differences          a small positive effect on interpersonal trust
    are less pronounced in size.                             compared to Auckland. Regional patterns are
                                                             similar for government trust.
Ethnicity: Those who identify only as Māori
    have lower interpersonal trust than New               Birthplace: Those born in New Zealand and
    Zealand Europeans. The effect is of small to             those born overseas have the same trust levels,
    medium size. In contrast, those who identify             for both measures.

16 – Institute for Governance and Policy Studies
Our multivariate modelling accounts for 11                       sociodemographic measures, there is a much larger
percent of variation between people in interpersonal                 amount of social variation in trust for which we
trust and 14 percent of variation in government                      cannot account.
trust. Hence, even using all our observed

Socio-demographic differences in interpersonal trust
      Secondary school or less
        Undergraduate degree
         Post-graduate degree
Ownership            Owns home
           NZ European only
                  Māori only
Māori and other ethnic group
              Pacific people
             New Zealand born
                 Foreign born
           Rest of North Island
           Rest of South Island
Ideology                    Left
                     Centre left
                    Centre right
                                     0                  2                   4           6             8             10
Note: Predicted trust score on 0-10 scale based on multivariate regression models.

                               Who do we trust in New Zealand? 2016 to 2019 – Simon Chapple & Kate Prickett – 17
What have we learned about
Trust in New Zealand
              since 2016?
In      his report on the first
        2016 survey, then director
Michael Macaulay speculated
                                                       government question internationally because of the
                                                       lack of readily comparable data.
                                                            There are no male advantages in interpersonal
                                                       trust or government trust. Equally, there appears
that New Zealand is not a high                         to be no shortfall in either interpersonal trust
trust country, at least in terms of                    and government trust for most minority ethnic
political trust. He also suggested                     groups, except for interpersonal trust for those
that New Zealand might be a                            who ethnically identify only as Maori. The effect
                                                       here is between small and medium in size. Equally,
country divided over public trust:                     systematic trust differences across income groups,
“Relatively well-off white men are                     while they exist, are small to medium in size for
more trusting of government than                       both interpersonal and government trust. A further
those with lower incomes, the                          shift in our knowledge is that there appears to be a
Māori and Pasifika communities,                        larger trust division in our society between young,
                                                       middle-aged and old. But this conclusion needs
and also women”. The patterns in
                                                       further independent confirmation. We also now
the data accumulated since then                        know that there are some significant interpersonal
suggest a more complex and less                        trust differences across some regions, but again,
deterministic picture than these                       differences are small.
first tentative suggestions.                                In addition to further informing our
    The trust survey gives lower levels of overall     understanding of sociodemographic differences,
interpersonal trust than the official Statistics New   our data suggests that who is in political power
Zealand General Social Survey. The two surveys         matters. A change in government in 2017 coincides
use different sampling frames and collection           with a small to medium-sized rise in trust in various
windows. Different forms of non-response bias may      dimensions of government between 2016 and 2019.
be a further factor in the lower level of measured     There is an additional suggestion that this effect
interpersonal trust in our survey. Nevertheless,       may wear off over the duration of a government, but
in both surveys, New Zealand interpersonal trust       this hypothesis, while tantalising, requires stronger
levels are above the 27 country OECD average. Our      evidence.
updated conclusion is that New Zealand is a higher-         We also find that, following the Christchurch
end trust country for interpersonal trust. However,    shootings, New Zealand is not a society where
we are not at the top of the OECD on this trust        distrust in minority non-Christian groups is relatively
measure. We cannot directly compare our trust in       high. Indeed, the least trusted religious group in

8 – –Institute
18     Institutefor
New Zealand is a Christian group – Evangelicals –      harbour more extreme views towards these groups
and the most trusted group – Buddhists – is not        than those who report similarly low trust towards
Christian. There is little evidence in New Zealand     other groups. These more extreme views may,
society of either high anti-Semitism or Islamophobia   in turn, result in more instances of prejudiced
in terms of any unusually low trust in Jewish or       or violent behaviours towards religious or ethnic
Muslim minority groups. Also, New Zealand does         minorities. It is also possible that, after the
not appear to be a society where out-group trust       outpouring of support for the Muslim community
varies systematically by ethnic group – all ethnic     and national discussion about the place of hate
groupings trust each other equally, around the level   and racism in our society following the shootings,
of trust in Charities or Protestants.                  some respondents who might have harboured less
     Despite findings which indicate New Zealanders’   trust for ethnic and religious minorities have either
trust in religious and ethnic groups do not appear     changed their views or become more reluctant to
particularly unusual or different, we should           report those feelings.
emphasise this finding does not show that hate              Lastly, the large-scale event of the Christchurch
based on religion and ethnicity does not exist. It     shootings, aimed at reducing trust, polarising the
clearly does. Additionally, it is possible those who   community and creating religious division, has not
report low trust in religious and ethnic minorities    succeeded in its intended goal.

                        Who do we trust in New Zealand? 2016 to 2019 – Simon Chapple & Kate Prickett – 19
A public trust survey
                                                   undertaken for the
                                                   Institute for Governance
                                                    and Policy Studies by
                                                    Colmar Brunton

                                                   For further information
                                                   please contact

                                                   Simon Chapple
                                                   Director, IGPS
                                                   School of Government
                                                   Victoria University of Wellington
                                                   Phone (04) 463 5307

                                                   Colmar Brunton,
                                                   Level 9, Legal House,
                                                   101 Lambton Quay, Wellington
                                                   PO Box 3622, Wellington 6140
                                                   Phone (04) 913 3000

20 – Institute for Governance and Policy Studies
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