Kiwi adults readily admit to lying, cheating and stealing, a
new study shows, raising questions about the type of example
they set for the country's youth.
A Colmar Brunton survey has revealed that 81 per cent of
adults admitted cheating of some kind, including 36 per cent
cheating in a relationship and 22 per cent at work.
Spencer Willis, leader of the study, suggests it is no wonder
our young people are following suit, with comparative figures
showing only eight per cent of young people have never
Not only are adults cheating on their partners, but they are
lying to them too.
"Twenty-four per cent of adults surveyed last December told a
lie to their partner; with almost half admitting they'd done
so within the past month, and almost three-quarters feeling
guilty about it despite the large majority (84 per cent)
saying it was justified," says Mr Willis.
Lying to avoid hurting someone's feelings was the most
excusable lie, with only seven per cent of people saying this
was never ok.
In comparison, only 12 per cent of people thought it was ok
to lie to a spouse or partner about having an affair.
To top it off, a whopping 60 per cent of adults have stolen
something - with almost half of those admitting the item was
from a shop.
"Adults are more likely to acknowledge that many arbitrary
situations constitute stealing, such as taking stationery
from work, taking items home from a fast food restaurant,
downloading music, and being lazy at work - whereas younger
people had a more black and white view of what it means to
steal," Mr Willis said.
"These results mirror what we found among young New
Zealanders, and are concerning.
"While we may not be talking big items, as any psychologist
will tell you, children learn through observation and that
leaves the responsibility on adults to set the right
Despite admitting this bad behaviour, 91 per cent of adults
are satisfied with their personal ethics and character, while
admitting lying, cheating and stealing does hurt one's
Only 57 per cent of respondents to the survey felt they were
better than most people they know.
Colmar Brunton interviewed 280 adults aged over 30 during
December last year through their online clique panel.