New Zealanders' quality of life rating slips

Tuesday 6 April 2010, 9:03AM
By New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development

Some 83% of New Zealanders rate their quality of life good or better in a new nationwide survey.

This down 6% on 2008 and 9% on 2007, while the number rating their quality of life as poor to fair is up from 8% in 2007 to 17% in 2010.

The results for individuals seem to relate to incomes or the size of their household so could mainly reflect the impact of the recession, according to the New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development.

It has commissioned ShapeNZ to conduct the national online benchmarking survey three times since 2007.

The 2010 results, covering 1066 respondents in February-March, are weighted to represent the national population and have a maximum margin of error of + or - 3%.

In one income group, earning $200,000+ a year, 100% say their quality of life is “excellent” or “very good”. The lowest excellent rating (10%) is among those earning $20,001 to $30,000 a year.

Those reporting the highest quality of life in the 2010 survey, describing it as “very good” or “excellent” have personal incomes of $100,000 a year or more.

This includes 100% of those earning $200,000+, followed by 82% for those earning between $101,000 and $150,000.

Those reporting the highest quality of life:

• work in transport or storage (88%), property or business services (85%) and education (70%)

• are aged 75 or older (76%), 65-74 years (63%) and 18 to 24 (58%), and

• live in a one-couple household with no children or no children at home (63%).

This compares with 53% of the national population rating their quality of life as good or excellent.

In the 2010 survey those most likely to rate the quality of their lives as “fair” or “poor”

• have incomes of less than $20,000 a year (20% fair + poor rating)

• work in personal and other services (25%)

• are not in paid employment (22%) or work in communications services (23%)

• are Asian (25%), Maori (22%) or Indian (21%). (This compares with 12% of European/Pakehas), and

• are single parent families with three or more children at home (34%) or have extended families (25%).

New Zealanders living in the main cities rate their quality of life highly. Some 96% of people living in Auckland, Wellington and Dunedin cities’ current boundaries rate their quality life as good, very good or excellent.

In the main centres, when very good and excellent responses only are considered, Wellington City has the highest quality of life score (68%) followed by North Shore City (67%).

On this basis, Auckland and Dunedin cities score 66%, followed by Christchurch City (60%), Hamilton City (53%), Manukau City (52%) and Waitakere City (50%). The different between results for these last three and national results are statistically insignificant.

Business Council Chief Executive Peter Neilson says there is a consistent pattern that those with higher incomes are happier about their quality of life.

“This should once again reinforce the view from our earlier research that New Zealanders want both higher incomes and a better quality of life. They don’t see them as alternatives,” Mr Neilson says.

“Catching up with Australian incomes is necessary if we are to meet our income and quality of life aspirations.”