Half of Ki­wis ‘just get­ting by’: re­port

The New Zealand Herald - - NEWS - Holly Ryan

New Zealand’s econ­omy is thriv­ing but the mood of the coun­try is not overly con­fi­dent, with al­most half of New Zealan­ders say­ing they are only just get­ting by day to day ac­cord­ing to new re­search.

A re­port by ASB Bank and re­search agency TRA, ‘Align­ing with progress in New Zealan­ders lives’, asked more than 1000 Ki­wis what progress meant to them, and whether they felt they were pro­gress­ing in their lives.

Just over half of those sur­veyed felt they were mov­ing ahead, how­ever 26 per cent felt they were stand­ing still and 18 per cent said they were go­ing back­wards.

The re­search also showed 42 per cent of New Zealan­ders thought money was an is­sue, and they were only just get­ting by day to day.

ASB chief econ­o­mist Nick Tuf­fley said this was likely a re­sult of the coun­try’s hous­ing is­sues with most in­di­vid­ual gains be­ing off­set by in­creases in rent or house prices.

“When you look at most mea­sures, in­equal­ity has been pretty sta­ble for a few decades but where there is a real is­sue is that in­come and equal­ity may not have changed much, ma­te­rial de­pri­va­tion may not have changed much but hous­ing costs have,” Tuf­fley said.

“Hous­ing costs have gone up dis­pro­por­tion­ately com­pared to in­come, so for buy­ing or rent­ing, that’s where we’re see­ing those is­sues.”

Although wage in­creases for in­di­vid­u­als might have been rea­son­able, when com­pared with ris­ing house and rent prices, this was likely to give peo­ple the im­pres­sion of stand­ing still, Tuf­fley said, although moves were be­ing made by the Gov­ern­ment to ad­dress this.

One of the main find­ings of the re­port was that for most peo­ple, progress wasn’t fo­cused on the tra­di­tional boat, bach and BMW, but on the smaller ev­ery­day things such as a cof­fee in the morn­ing, pay­ing off bills, and get­ting enough sleep.

ASB gen­eral man­ager of mar­ket­ing Shane Evans said it had been in­ter­est­ing to see how the def­i­ni­tion of progress had changed over the gen­er­a­tions.

“I think it’s easy for us to get caught up on the big things in life like buy­ing a car or a house, but it’s ac­tu­ally the day to day things that en­able us to feel like we’re mov­ing for­ward and have that mo­men­tum.”

Progress was also viewed dif­fer- ently across gen­er­a­tions, with the mil­len­nial age group view­ing new toys as progress, com­pared with the older gen­er­a­tions that viewed avoid­ing hard times as progress.

Ac­cord­ing to the re­port, the older in­di­vid­u­als were, the less progress they ex­pe­ri­enced, drop­ping 5 per cent ev­ery 10 years on av­er­age.

“We see mil­len­ni­als may be more fo­cused on want­ing to buy a car or house, and for them that’s the next step,” Evans said.

“But then as you get older you’re more fo­cused on en­sur­ing you’re main­tain­ing rather than get­ting ahead, so it’s less about the ‘things’ and more about f am­ily and main­tain­ing a good life­style.”

The re­port was un­der­taken by ASB to en­able the com­pany to bet­ter de­liver on re­sults for its cus­tomers, Evans said.

Nick Tuf­fley

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