Take away the dishwasher, but please leave the car

By Amelia Wade

Survey reveals generations have different ideas on the important things we own. Photo / Jacqui Madelin
Survey reveals generations have different ideas on the important things we own. Photo / Jacqui Madelin

New Zealanders would rather wash their dishes by hand than be without their cars or telephones, a survey reveals.

A poll of 750 New Zealanders by UMR Research shows cars are seen as the most necessary possession.

The survey asked people whether they thought items such as cars, computers, TVs, landline phones, mobile phones, high-speed internet, microwaves and social networking sites were necessities of life or something they could go without.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the survey revealed that the items people found most valuable were the dominant technologies at the time they grew up.

Older people valued their television sets and landline telephones, while younger people valued mobile phones, digital music players and social networking sites.

Ninety per cent of 30-44 year olds thought a car was essential.

Overall, 87 per cent of those surveyed said they could not go without their cars.

The next most important items were the landline phone (75 per cent), home computer (69 per cent), cellphone (65 per cent) and TV set (61 per cent).

More men (56 per cent) than women (42 per cent) considered a microwave oven a necessity.

Men also needed a home computer, high-speed internet and a Sky TV connection more than women did.

Eighteen per cent of those aged under 30 said social networking sites were a necessity, compared with only 2 per cent of those over 60.

And while 21 per cent of under-30s said digital music players were essential, only 3 per cent of over-60s agreed. Those over 60 see more value in a landline phone, more than 90 per cent considering it essential, rating it more important than a car.

For pensioners, a landline was the greatest necessity - 91 per cent said it was essential.

Reflecting the difference in technological essentials between generations is Megan O'Brien, who has a car, computer and an internet connection, but has only recently been hooked up to a landline.

The 20-year-old, who flats with others, says modern technology enables her to keep in touch without having a landline phone.

"I don't think we need it," she said. "I've got my cellphone, Facebook and internet.

"Everyone still asks for your cellphone number, no one ever asks for your home phone."

She said she would much rather be contacted on Facebook than a landline.

"I don't think I would even know their landline number."

CAN'T GO WITHOUT

* Car.... 87 per cent

* Landline phone.... 75 per cent

* Home computer.... 69 per cent

* Mobile phone.... 65 per cent

* TV set 61.... per cent

* High speed internet.... 57 per cent

* Microwave.... 49 per cent

* Dishwasher.... 22 per cent

* Sky TV.... 18 per cent

* Social networking sites.... 10 per cent

* Digital music player.... 10 per cent

- NZ Herald

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