Most Kiwis still trust the Government and health authorities to successfully manage the Covid-19 pandemic, although business owners and the self-employed have become far more sceptical, a new survey has found.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is also seen as clearly a better leader to manage the pandemic than National Party leader Judith Collins.
Following the second wave of infection and lockdowns, overall trust and confidence in the Government and Ministry of Health's response to the pandemic edged down 3 per cent, according to the survey by consultants Horizon Research.
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It was 82 per cent in mid-July 2020 and was now 79 per cent in late August.
This was down from a high of 91 per cent during the alert level 4 lockdown in April 2020.
While trust and confidence has largely held up across all adults participating in the 1300-person survey, it was among business owners and the self-employed that if fell drastically.
Their trust dropped from 71 per cent in mid-July to 49 per cent in late August.
Among business managers and executives, trust had also fallen but not as markedly, dipping from 73 per cent in mid-July to 67 per cent in late August.
Despite the fall among business owners, trust among every other occupation either only fell slightly or held steady and even increased.
The groups whose trust had increased included those aged between 18 and 24 years, technical, mechanical and skilled workers, homemakers, those flatting and boarding and people with incomes between $150,000-$200,000 a year.
New voters and people who voted for the Act Party and New Zealand First in the 2017 Election also now had more trust in the management of the pandemic.
Only National voters - from among those who voted for a party that made it into Parliament after the 2017 Election - have less trust.
However, 64 per cent of them still trust the Ministry of Health and Government management of the pandemic.
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Horizon Research noted that Just before and during the survey period the extent of testing of border staff for Covid-19 before the second wave was being strongly debated.
Opposition parties had also released their Covid-19 policies for the October 17 general election and a four-day extension of the Auckland restrictions had been announced.
Survey participants also clearly ranked Ardern the best leader to manage pandemic.
Sixty-four per cent of respondents rated her leadership the best compared to just 18 per cent for Collins.
The next highest of six leaders surveyed was David Seymour of ACT, with 5 per cent, followed by 3 per cent for Winston Peters, 2 per cent for James Shaw and 1 per cent for Marama Davidson.
Eight per cent of respondents said none of these leaders were best to manage the response.
In an improvement for National, the 18 per cent who saw Collins as the best leader for the pandemic was up on the 12 per cent rating in June of previous leader Todd Muller.
However, Collins had not won over all of those who voted for her party at the 2017 general election, with 36 per cent of these believing Ardern was the best to manage the pandemic.
Among the occupation groups, only farm owners and managers thought Collins would be best person to manage the pandemic response.