Kiwis trust in Government has gone up while their trust in churches and charities has dropped, new research reveals.

A Colmar Brunton survey asked 1000 people across the country how much they trust key groups such as Government ministers, police, medical practitioners, churches, charities, small businesses, the media, and bloggers.

Asked whether they trust Government to do what is right for New Zealand, 65 per cent now answer yes, compared with 48 per cent in 2016.

A total of 59 per cent say they trust the Government to deal successfully with national problems, up from 47 per cent in 2016, and 49 per cent think New Zealand citizens' interests are equally and fairly considered by the government, up from 39 per cent.


"This large boost in trust surrounding government was unexpected and really positive," said Dr Simon Chapple, director of Victoria University of Wellington's Institute for Governance and Policy studies, which commissioned the research.

"In other countries we are seeing a decline in trust in democratic political institutions, so it's interesting that we seem to be going in the other direction. The test will be whether those levels of trust can be sustained."

Chapple noted trust in the police and courts is also significantly up.

"On the down side, there was a statistically significant decline in trust in both churches and charities. Trust in other social institutions was broadly stable."

The data also points to differences in overall trust levels across age groups, with older people being more trusting.

Of those aged 60 or older, 62 per cent reported a high level of trust generally in people, compared with 38 per cent high trust in the 18-29 year old group, and 44 per cent for those aged 30 to 59.

"It is unclear if we observe this pattern because people trust more as they age or whether younger people today are generally less trusting than young people a generation ago. But overseas evidence suggest that trust levels may be falling in younger generations."

The interviews were conducted between February 26 and March 4, with respondents aged 18 or over. Overall nearly half the respondents, 47 per cent, said they have a relatively high level of trust in most people. A smaller number have middling levels of trust while around one in 10 say they are distrusting.


The executive summary and overview of results are available online.