Healthcare, crime and cost of living also major worries for participants in first research by international company.

Kiwis biggest concerns in life are about housing, followed by worries about poverty, healthcare and crime, according to new research.

In its first survey of New Zealanders, intenational research company Ipsos discovered the biggest issues facing the nation and which political parties they think will fix them.

More than 40 per cent of people surveyed for the Ipsos' Issues Monitor said they were concerned about the cost and lack of supply of housing.

Poverty and inequality was the second most pressing issue, with 29 per cent of the 610 respondents saying they were concerned about it, followed by healthcare (27 per cent), crime (24 per cent) and the cost of living (22 per cent).


The survey found that 38 per cent of Kiwis believed Labour Party was the political party most capable of solving the housing crisis, compared to 21 per cent who believed National could fix the problem.

Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford said the national housing crisis was hurting too many New Zealanders.

"From those left homeless, to those living and suffering the health effects of poor quality housing, to those locked out of the Kiwi dream of home ownership."

The previous government had denied there was a housing crisis, he claimed. He had promised to build 100,000 affordable KiwiBuild homes and thousands of state houses and modernise "archaic" rental laws to give tenants more security.

He said the number of desperate families seeking help from government agencies due to rising housing costs was increasing.

The results of the survey come after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern yesterday announced the Government would put $100 million towards tackling homelessness in its budget.

House values in the Auckland region rose by 1.6 per cent to an average value of $1.05 million in the three months to January 2018, a recent QV Property report showed.

The average weekly rent for new rentals had also increased sharply, climbing 3.6 per cent from $385 in the fourth quarter of 2016 to $399 at the end of last year, a Herald analysis of data collected from bonds lodged with the Tenancy Tribunal found.


Ipsos New Zealand research director Jonathan Dodd said the results showed while housing was a big worry for all New Zealanders, older people were more likely to be worried about healthcare and youth were concerned about the cost of living.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Housing Minister Phil Twyford announce the Government's intention to invest $100m into tackling homelessness in this month's Budget.

When the findings were compared to those from the latest Australian Ipsos Issues Monitor, running since 2010, it was clear Kiwis were much more concerned about affordable housing and poverty. However, Aussies were twice as likely as Kiwis to be concerned about the economy.

The Salvation Army's Lieutenant Colonel Ian Hutson said many people - including families on low incomes and young people - were affected by rising housing costs.

"They feel like this is not the New Zealand we knew or this is not the New Zealand we want."

Hutson said every day several homeless families were turning up at each of the charity's outreach centres around the country to ask for help.

"Housing costs are arguably the key driver of poverty. It certainly underpins that," he told the Weekend Herald.

Jan Rutledge, manager of De Paul House on Auckland's North Shore which provides homeless families with emergency housing, said many of her clients came from overcrowded homes or properties that were unsuitable, such as garages or tents.

Others had spent months couch-surfing.

"I'd say it's been less than 10 years when we've shifted from most New Zealanders to be able to achieve home ownership or secure tenure to it no longer being possible," she said.

Parents on benefits or earning a low wage found it particularly difficult to get an adequate rental.

National's housing spokeswoman Judith Collins credited the current residential building boom to her party's range of initiatives to boost construction during its eight years in power, including overhauling the Resource Management Act and introducing HomeStart Grants.

Policy changes made by the Labour-led Government, like introducing capital gains tax on investment properties, could stall the construction industry, Collins said.

The data was collected via online interviews conducted with 610 Kiwis.