New Zealand still has a long way to go in its understanding of Asia: Survey
An Asia New Zealand Foundation survey finds New Zealand still has a long way to go in its understanding of Asia, despite high recognition of the region’s economic and cultural importance. Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) said they knew little or nothing about Asia. This was despite the fact the vast majority of people (82 percent) felt it was important for New Zealand to develop economic and cultural ties with the region, and despite Asia being seen as the second most important region to New Zealand (behind Australia).
Prepared by Colmar Brunton, the survey results are based on 1001 randomly selected telephone surveys carried out in August 2015, and a follow-up online forum. The survey has a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percentage points. About 70 percent of those surveyed were New Zealand European/Pakeha, 11 percent were Māori, 4 percent were Asian.
Yet, at a personal level, the survey also shows New Zealanders feel increasingly connected to Asian people. In 2015, about half (51 percent) of people reported having at least a fair amount to do with Asian peoples and cultures – up from 30 percent in 1998. Only a minority of people – 25 percent – felt Asian people did not mix well with New Zealanders; this is the lowest level ever recorded by the survey. Those who had more involvement with Asian cultures or knowledge of Asia reported more positive views about Asia and Asian peoples.
But the survey findings also showed increased concerns about investment from Asia and the impact of Asian buyers on the housing market. In 2015, nearly half (47 percent) of those surveyed believed New Zealand was allowing too much investment from Asia (up from 41 percent in 2014). Similarly, 48 percent believed Asian people were responsible for rising house prices (up from 39 percent in 2014). Three-quarters of respondents recalled negative media coverage of Asia-related events in the period leading up to the survey.