Trust and confidence in members of Parliament has increased, but in the public mind MPs are still second-to-bottom of a list of 10 types of jobs and organisations.

MPs rank slightly ahead of journalists, the least-trusted group, and behind local council members, lawyers and civil servants, who are all below the half-way mark in a survey of public trust and confidence.

At the other end of the scale - the occupational groups and organisations which inspire the greatest public trust and confidence - are the ambulance service, the Fire Service, doctors and nurses, the police and school teachers.

Teachers are amongst the groups that inspire the greatest public trust and confidence. Photo / Thinkstock
Teachers are amongst the groups that inspire the greatest public trust and confidence. Photo / Thinkstock

Research New Zealand asked 500 adult telephone survey respondents to order the work groups and organisations from zero, those in which they had no trust and confidence, to 10, full trust and confidence. The survey results report the percentages of respondents who scored each group or organisation between 7 and 10, which the researchers considered was the range between which a group could be said to have the trust and confidence of the public.


The question was first asked in 2013 and repeated in a survey last month amongst other topics.

In 2013, MPs ranked bottom on 18 per cent, but have climbed to 25 per cent, ahead of journalists who remained at 23 per cent. Civil servants were the only other group to gain in public trust, rising to 44 per cent, from 42 per cent.

The police suffered the greatest absolute drop in public trust, falling 9 percentage points to 75 per cent, followed by teachers, down 6 points to 75 per cent. These were statistically significant changes, as were the 4 percentage point reductions for doctors and nurses, the Fire Service and the ambulance service.

There were no significant differences in levels of trust and confidence for each group between survey age groups, genders, regions and income levels. The survey's maximum margin of error was 5.1 per cent.

The research company's director, Emanuel Kalafatelis, said, "These results reflect little major change in rankings between the two years; not that we would expect to see much change in this regard.

"However, what is interesting is the slight improvement in trust and confidence for MPs. We will be keen to see if this is sustained."

The Research New Zealand media release, including the trust and confidence graph, can be seen here: