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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 cheated.
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 example."
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 character.
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.