A recent survey on key issues concerning New Zealanders has shown that housing accessibility and affordability are at the forefront of people's minds.

The first of the quarterly New Zealand Issues Monitor reports, run by global market research company Ipsos, interviewed 610 respondents over the age of 16.

It sought to track what New Zealanders were concerned about, who is worried about what and which political parties are seen to be best able to improve matters.

Key results show that from 20 issues, the top six are dominated by housing accessibility and affordability, selected by 41 per cent of people; followed by poverty and inequality on 29 per cent and healthcare on 27 per cent.

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These are followed by crime and law on 24 per cent, inflation and cost of living on 22 per cent, and drug and alcohol abuse also on 22 per cent.

The first of the quarterly New Zealand Issues Monitor reports interviewed 610 respondents between the ages of 16 and 65+ years old. Graphic / Ipsos
The first of the quarterly New Zealand Issues Monitor reports interviewed 610 respondents between the ages of 16 and 65+ years old. Graphic / Ipsos

Ipsos New Zealand research director Jonathan Dodd said the results showed big generational differences among New Zealanders.

"Older people [are] more concerned about healthcare and younger people much more concerned with the cost of living than their elders.

"Interestingly, the huge concerns about housing are felt across all income groups – whether you're rich or poor, housing is the big worry for New Zealanders."

Wealthier households were more concerned about crime, mentioned by 26 per cent of those earning more than $100k, and 34 per cent of poorer households - those eraning less than $30,000 - were more concerned about healthcare.
Men and women also varied on their concerns: after housing, men being more concerned with crime (27 per cent), whereas 34 per cent of women were more concerned with poverty and inequality.

The Ipsos survey also asked respondents to name the political party they believed was most capable of managing each of the issues.

Of the six most-cited issues, Labour was seen as the most capable for five of them, and National was just 1 per cent more likely to be cited as the best party for solving crime problems.

"It's understandable that the Labour Party is seen as the best party to solve five of the top six problems, given their recent election success, but it is interesting to note that around a third of people were unable to state that any party was well suited to address some of these issues," Dodd said.

"It will be interesting to observe any changes over the next few waves of this monitor."

Results also show that students are significantly more concerned about the environment, and the self-employed with drug and alcohol abuse. Part-time workers are more worried about healthcare.

Unemployment is understandably a higher-ranked issue for those seeking work, and the retired are notably more concerned about drug and alcohol abuse.

Compared with Australia, where the survey has been running for eight years, Australians are mostly concerned with healthcare, crime and living costs. They are also twice as concerned with the economy as New Zealanders.

• To view the full survey go to The New Zealand Ipsos Issues Monitor.