Kiwis positive about 2010 - survey
Last updated 12:46 22/12/2009

New Zealanders believe the worst of the global recession is over and are optimistic about their prospects for next year, according to an annual Mood of the Nation survey.

In the sharpest turnaround in outlook in the seven-year history of the UMR Research survey, 68 percent of people questioned said they believed next year would be better than 2009, with 20 percent saying they thought things would get worse.

At the end of last year, when the recession was tightening its grip, 44 percent of people expected 2009 to be worse than the previous year.

To gauge the mood of the country, 750 people over the age of 18 were questioned about a wide range of issues, including the economy, politics, corporate performers, government departments, and general satisfaction with key personal indicators.

The survey found a steadily increasing optimism about the economy as the year progressed. By mid-year optimists outnumbered pessimists, and by year-end 61 percent expected the economy to continue to improve.

Results were similar for people's expectations of living standards. At the beginning of the year, only 25 percent of respondents expected their living standards to get better. By December, 44 percent thought they would improve - the highest level since 2007.

Looking forward to a vision of life in 10 years' time, New Zealanders were more optimistic about the economy than ever before.

Expectations about the state of transport infrastructure also increased to a new high of 36 percent, up from 29 percent a year ago, and the highest since the survey began.

Other key areas, such as race relations, policing, and the education system were relatively unchanged.

The least faith was in the health system, with 35 percent of people expecting it to get worse.

On a personal level, New Zealanders seemed very satisfied with their lives.

Their satisfaction with housing, community, environment, safety, and opportunities to succeed in life all came in at 91 percent, with personal health and education close behind.

Satisfaction with work and finances rated 80 percent and 79 percent satisfaction respectively.

The Fire Service was the most popular government department or agency covered in the survey, with 91 percent of people believing they were doing a good job. Second place went to police, on 78 percent.

The worst performers in the survey were the Ministry of Maori Development, Te Puni Kokiri, on 22 percent satisfaction, the Ministry of Social Development, on 28 percent, and ACC, on 29 percent.

New Zealanders listed the most important problems facing the country as the economy, followed by unemployment, and then crime and violence in third place.

When it came to moral issues, the most acceptable from a long list of options was divorce. The least acceptable was the cloning of humans. Also considered unacceptable were polygamy, marital affairs, suicide, and the death penalty.

On a subject perhaps closer to the hearts of many New Zealanders, rugby came out tops as the sport 64 percent of respondents said they were most interested in.

The All Whites' victory in qualifying for the World Cup late in the year saw interest in soccer almost double, from 37 percent at the beginning of the year to 60 percent in November.

From here.