06 Apr 2020
There are some positive signs today that the lockdown is working with the Director General of Health, Dr Ashley Bloomfield, saying that we can be "encouraged" by the lack of dramatic increase in case numbers (an increase of 67 Covid-19 cases from yesterday). This is promising as the rate of cases – in addition to the level of community transmission, and the results of extra testing at regional level to give a more localised view – is one of three factors the Government is looking at as it considers whether the lockdown could be lifted in 16 days. However, as some of the key highlights from our most recent survey, undertaken over the weekend show, New Zealanders still have a number of major concerns, particularly surrounding job security and the increasing likelihood of a recession.
Concerns about financial wellbeing have risen to pre-lockdown levels
Three-quarters of New Zealanders believe it will take a long time for the economy to recover once the coronavirus has died down. A similar number also believe that this is going to lead to an economic recession. Last week, after the Government’s update of the financial package to include more New Zealanders, there was more optimism about economic wellbeing. However, this has subsided over the weekend – following the closure of Bauer Media and news that Fletcher Building intends to cut pay by 70 percent – with more Kiwis believing that the situation will impact their own job security and household income, and that they need to be more proactive about financial planning and security for the future.
Lockdown fairness – what do Kiwis think?
The vast majority of Kiwis support the lockdown and think it is a fair measure to take against Covid-19. However, there have been media reports of some not playing by the rules resulting in mixed opinions of other people’s behaviour – only 38% agree that the behaviour of others during the lockdown has been good.
Contact tracing using personal data
Around the world we are seeing articles and reports on contact tracing using personal data. The Director General of Health said in today’s press conference this is something that is being considered for New Zealand. However, only half of Kiwis would be comfortable sharing their personal data for contact tracing if it meant a nation-wide lockdown could be avoided.
Managing mental health
Last week’s survey highlighted the rising concern towards others’ mental health and wellbeing. We were therefore keen to understand how Kiwis were managing their mental health day-to-day: 52% said they were making an effort to connect with others, slightly less (49%) were exercising more, with two-fifths (40%) said they were getting more sunlight.
Media habits have changed significantly since the lockdown
As noted above, New Zealanders are looking to connect with each other to help manage their mental health. So it’s not surprising to see nearly half of Kiwis (49%) using more instant messaging systems and social networks since the lockdown. Understandably, there has also been a rise in New Zealanders sourcing information (e.g. through news websites) and entertainment such as online videos (e.g. YouTube).
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