Young Kiwis OK with lying, cheating and stealing

By Wright Communications

Spencer Willis, Head of Qual and Youth Specialist at Colmar Brunton and leader of the study, says New Zealand's rate of dishonesty among the surveyed population is shockingly high.

"The most worrying thing is that it is deemed acceptable, with 87 per cent of survey participants saying they are satisfied with their personal ethics and character."

A further 63 per cent say when it comes to doing what is right, they are better than most people they know.

"There appears to be a wide gap between the way people see themselves and the way they view society, which is evident in the average participants rating their own honesty higher than the rest of society.

"When it comes to lying there is high acceptability of lying with 89 per cent saying that lying is sometimes justified.

"Unsurprisingly there is a lot of self interest in the reasons for lying, the good news being 72 per cent will more often than not feel guilty about lying," says Willis.

A staggering 92 per cent of respondents have cheated at one stage or another. The majority admit to cheating when playing card or board games but more than 50% cheat on high school homework. Almost a quarter cheat at university and around one in five cheat in relationships and in sport.

"The result is summed up by the comments of one of the survey participants," says Willis. "'Every person is constantly pressured by the media and the society to bend the rules. The image of a person who is successful due to not playing by the book is extremely popular, so everyone gives in to it at some point.'"

In terms of stealing, there are clear differences in perceptions between the younger (18-21 year olds) and older (25-30 year olds) age groups surveyed.

Willis says: "It appears that the younger group has a more 'casual' outlook on what is considered 'stealing' compared to their older peers.

"This is particularly noticeable when looking at 'grey' areas, such as being given too much change, where 41 per cent of the younger age group agrees that it is stealing, compared to 71 per cent among the older age group, reflecting the slipping standard."

Colmar Brunton's online youth panel 'Saywhat' interviewed almost 500 people aged between 18 - 30 between 20 July and 24 August this year (56 per cent 18-21 years, 28 per cent 22-24 years and 16 per cent 25 - 30 years). The gender split was 45 per cent male and 55 per cent female.  The survey has a maximum margin of error of + or - 4.4%.


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