Northland doctor rockets into No 2 spot but politicians as trustworthy as sex workers

Politicians are as trustworthy as sex workers and Willie Apiata, VC, is - again - the most trusted of all New Zealanders, according to an annual survey on the country's most trusted people and professions.

The 10th annual New Zealand Reader's Digest Trust Survey revealed a skew towards sports stars and emergency service workers as those whom Kiwis put the most faith in.

Mr Apiata took out the top spot as the most trusted of 100 well-known Kiwis, followed by Northland doctor and champion of Maori health care Lance O'Sullivan and All Blacks captain Richie McCaw.

Photos: Top 10 most trusted Kiwis


Mr Apiata also won the accolade in 2008, 2009 and 2010, making him the most trusted Kiwi since the survey's inception.

Firefighters, paramedics, rescue volunteers and nurses were the five most trusted of 50 professions, while politicians, sex workers, door-to-door salespeople and telemarketers were at the opposite end of the list. Journalists were 43rd, between call centre workers and real estate agents.

Politicians didn't fare well in the trustworthy people stakes either with Hone Harawira, Kim Dotcom, Michael Laws, David Cunliffe and Winston Peters at the bottom of the list.

Kim Dotcom. Photo / Greg Bowker

Prime Minister John Key came in at 86th, a drop from his position at 80 last year.

Mr Apiata said he felt honoured by the award and thanked those who voted for him.

"I am always humbled by the continued support of our fellow New Zealanders," he said.

Fire Service deputy national commander Paul McGill said: "It is good to see the public places a high value on the dedication all firefighters have to public safety."

He said most of the country's 10,000 firefighters were volunteers.


St John chief executive Peter Bradley said it was "fabulous" to see emergency services featuring strongly in the survey.

"Our paramedics are in the unique position of going into people's homes and places of work to help them at times of great need so to have earned the public's trust and confidence ... is an excellent validation of the approach we are taking."

The Reader's Digest journalist who covers the survey, Monique Balvert-O'Connor, said it was a testament to Dr O'Sullivan's community work that he was propelled to second place - the first time he had ever featured in the list.

"New Zealanders are stuck on Willie Apiata. It's not so surprising when you look at the calibre of his character, but what is surprising is when you have someone coming from the cold and going straight into second place ... [Dr O'Sullivan] skyrocketed up there."

Balvert-O'Connor said Kiwis believed that people who were successful in their fields and who contributed to the community were the most trustworthy.

"They are people who do really well and you see them as being on your side rather than on someone else's side or on their own side."

The annual survey is conducted by Catalyst Consultancy & Research, which polled more than 600 people on how they rated and trusted a list of Kiwi newsmakers on a scale of one to 10.

Other notable New Zealanders on the list included Lorde at 61.

Next story: The 50 coolest Kiwis ever (+photos)

Reader's Digest Most Trusted Survey

1. Willie Apiata VC, solider
2. Lance O'Sullivan, doctor, 2014 New Zealander of the Year
3. Richie McCaw, All Blacks' captain
4. Judy Bailey, charity worker
5. John Kirwan, former All Black player
6. Kevin Milne, former TV host
7. Valerie Adams (formerly Vili), shot-putter
8. Jim Hickey, TV weather presenter
9. Alison Holst, food writer
10. Peter Snell, former athlete
11. Peter Leitch, businessman, charity worker
12. Jerry Mateparae, Governor-General
13. Peter Jackson, film director
13. Dan Carter, All Black player
15. Sarah Ulmer, cyclist
15. Colin Meads, former All Black
17. Sam Johnson, leader of Student Volunteer Army
18. Hamish Bond, rower, Olympic gold medalist
18. Brian Lochore, former All Black captain and coach
20. John Campbell, TV journalist
21. Graham Henry, former All Black coach
21. Dave Dobbyn, musician
23. Mike McRoberts, TV journalist
23. Mahe Drysdale, rower
23. John Walker, former athlete
23. Jo Seagar, chef
27. Toni Street, TV presenter
27. Nigel Latta, psychologist
27. Stephen Tindall, businessman
30. Lisa Carrington, rower
31. Eric Murray, rower, Olympic gold medallist
32. Ian Grant, parenting expert
33. Sian Elias, chief justice of New Zealand
33. Sue Chetwin, CEO Consumer NZ
35. Sir Ray Avery, scientist, businessman and philanthropist
36. Dean Barker, yachtsman and Team NZ skipper
36. Neil Finn, musician
36. Simon Barnett, TV and radio presenter
36. Simon Dallow, TV presenter
36. Annabel Langbein, cookbook author, TV personality
36. Brendon McCallum, Black Caps captain
36. Rhys Darby, actor, comedian
36. Pippa Wetzell, TV host
44. Scott Dixon, IndyCar driver
45. Stephen Donald, All Black player
46. Peter Gluckman, scientist
47. The Topp Twins, entertainers
48. Susan Devoy, Race Relations Commissioner
49. Peta Mathias, chef
50. Simon Gault, chef
51. Bret McKenzie, comedian, musician
51. Jemaine Clement, comedian, musician
51. Jim Mora, radio personality
54. John Graham, former All Black, educator
55. Richard Taylor, filmmaker
56. Helen Clark, former Prime Minister
57. Jonah Lomu, former All Black
58. Kiri Te Kanawa, opera singer
59. Robyn Malcolm, actor
60. Te Radar, comedian, TV personality
61. Ella Yelich-O'Connor (Lorde), singer
62. Garth McVicar, Sensible Sentencing Trust spokesman
62. Polly Gillespie, radio personality
64. Tony Kokshoorn, Grey District Mayor
65. Chris Cairns, former cricketer
66. Ruben Wiki, former rugby league player
67. Wendyl Nissen, columnist and author
68. Mary Holm, financial writer and newspaper columnist
69. Rosie Horton, philanthropist
69. Anne Salmond, writer, anthropologist
71. Lucy Lawless, actor
72. Lianne Dalziel, Christchurch mayor
73. Kim Hill, radio journalist
74. Alan Gibbs, entrepreneur
75. Mike Hosking, TV and radio journalist
76. Marcus Lush, TV and radio personality
76. Lockwood Smith NZ High Commissioner to UK
78. Alan Bollard, former governor of the Reserve Bank of NZ
79. Grant Kereama, radio personality
79. Leighton Smith, radio personality
79. Mike Bush, Police Commissioner
79. Graeme Hart, businessman
79. Billy Graham, motivational speaker
79. Mai Chen, lawyer
85. James Wallace, businessman, philanthropist
86. John Key, Prime Minister
87. Gareth Morgan, philanthropist, businessman
88. Gary Taylor, environmentalist
89. Bob Jones, businessman
90. Pita Sharples, Minister of Maori Affairs
91. Metiria Turei, Green Party co-leader
91. Russel Norman, Green Party co-leader
93. Michael Fay, businessman
94. Matt McCarten, Labour chief of staff
94. Bunny McDiarmid, Greenpeace executive director
96. Winston Peters, New Zealand First leader
97. David Cunliffe, Labour Party leader
98. Michael Laws, former Wanganui Mayor
99. Kim Dotcom, internet entrepreneur
100. Hone Harawira, Mana Party leader

Next story: The 50 coolest Kiwis ever (+photos)