New Zealanders are three times as likely to think the world
is getting worse than that it's getting better, a new survey
The online survey of 1000 New Zealanders by Australian firm
Lonergan Research has found that 50 per cent of New
Zealanders think the world is a worse place today than when
they were younger, and only 17 per cent think it's better.
About a fifth (22 per cent) of those aged 18 to 24 - the most
optimistic group in the survey - think the world is getting
A matching survey of 1000 Australians found that 'Generation
Y', those aged 25 to 34, feel slightly more positive than
their Kiwi contemporaries. Twenty six per cent of the
Australians in that age group think the world is better now
than when they were younger, but only 21 per cent of New
Zealanders share that view.
However, only 16 per cent of the over-50s on both sides of
the Tasman think the world has become a better place.
People who thought the world was a worse place today were
asked whether they thought this was because of more
automation, less human interaction, people becoming more
self-centred and greedy, moral decline, more corruption,
people becoming lazier, the economy getting worse, more
natural disasters or something else.
The most popular answers were that people were becoming more
self-centred and greedy (80 per cent), moral decline (69 per
cent), the economy getting worse (64 per cent) and less human
interaction (60 per cent).
Half (49 per cent) still felt part of "a close-knit
community" and only 46 per cent don't know most of their
neighbours, implying that more than half do.
New Zealanders' biggest fears for the next 80 years were
environmental: 84 per cent were concerned that the variety of
wildlife might disappear and 77 per cent were concerned that
enjoying the great outdoors might disappear.
Most said technological changes so far had been positive for
communications and consumer choice, and 48 per cent felt that
things would only get better with every technological
improvement in the future.
Almost a third (30 per cent) said they would love to see
robots replace humans if it would end human error, and 32 per
cent said they would welcome a robot into their family if one
was designed to be capable of emotion.
Two-thirds (65 per cent) believed New Zealand would no longer
be part of the Commonwealth 80 years from now.
The survey was conducted for multinational eyewear company
OPSM to mark its 80th year in Australasia.
Massey University sociologist Paul Spoonley said successive
older generations for thousands of years had believed the
generations coming after them were behaving worse than they
"The thing that interested me in this survey was that people
thought it was a worse place because people were more
self-centred and greedy," he said.
"I wonder whether there was a global financial crisis
influence on that. We are right in the middle of something in
which the finance sectors and the banks have been seen as
encouraging people to be greedy.
"So I saw this as a glass-half-full message that people
wanted to go back to stronger community values."
Do you consider the world you live in today to be a better
place, a worse place or about the same as when you were
Age Per cent "better"
Source: Lonergan Research