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NZers fear cost of climate change - survey

File photo / NZ Herald
File photo / NZ Herald

Climate change is not high on the list of concerns for New Zealanders, according to a new survey.

The UMR Research poll done on behalf of the Greenhouse Policy Coalition, which represents some of the larger greenhouse gas emitters, found climate change rated ninth in order of importance out of a list of 10 common issues, such as cost of living, heath, education and employment.

The survey of 500 New Zealanders also showed that 43 per cent disagreed the country should take part in a global emissions trading regime if it cost people $5 each a week, up from 38 per cent last year.

However, 39 per cent saw climate change as a serious issue, up 3 per cent on a similar survey carried out last year.

At the same time, the number of people who believe climate change is man-made is rising.

While last year more than 50 per cent of New Zealanders either doubted or denied human actions' adversely affected the change of climate, that sank to 39.3 per cent in the latest survey.

"The survey shows that while many people feel climate change is an issue we need to deal with, they see other priorities as more important and are very concerned about any policies that impose further costs on them," the coalition's executive director, David Venables, said.

The coalition urged the Government to continue to moderate the impact on the emissions trading scheme (ETS) on consumers and businesses.

"We also note the first ETS annual report, released last week, indicates the scheme is working to the Government's satisfaction with these measures in place," he said.

The survey also found:

* 26.8 per cent of people agreed New Zealand should reduce its emissions, even if it meant reducing the standard of living -- up from 23.4 per cent last year;

* 19.4 per cent agreed New Zealand should cut emissions even if it costs jobs -- up from 18.1 per cent;

* 44.2 per cent agreed with the statement "controlling emissions is mostly about saving our planet -- we shouldn't be quibbling too much about money", down from 45.1 per cent last year;

* 69.9 per cent were in favour of switching to sustainable technologies even if there was a cost -- up from 65.6 per cent;

* 40.3 per cent agreed with the statement "I feel fully informed about the ETS" -- up from 33.0 per cent;

The poll was conducted in July and had a margin of error of 4.4 per cent.

- NZPA

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