Quarter of Kiwis disagree NZ is clean, green - survey

More than a quarter of Kiwis don't think New Zealand lives up to its "100% pure" tourism brand, the findings of a new nationwide survey suggest.

This year's HRV State of the Home Survey, conducted by research company Buzz Channel, found 27% of the 1040 people surveyed didn't agree New Zealand was clean and green.

A further 30% didn't give a definitive answer or chose to remain neutral on the subject.

"It's the growing awareness about the state of our rivers and waterways that influenced many people to question New Zealand's clean green status," said Auckland University of Technology sociologist Professor Charles Crothers, who helped produce the survey.

"Two thirds of those people who did not agree that New Zealand was clean and green said polluted rivers, and the impact of dairy farming and factories on waterways, was a factor in their decision."

The findings come as Al Jazeera broadcasts its major documentary investigation, "New Zealand: Polluted Paradise", and soon after major US newspaper The Wall Street Journal highlighted how our two biggest industries, dairy and tourism, were now being placed at odds.

The Tourism Export Council, a lobby group, has joined more than a dozen other groups in pushing a proposed freshwater rescue plan.

A new scorecard showed the Greens, Maori Party, The Opportunities Party backed the plan in full, and five of seven parties favour ending public irrigation subsidies, while National and New Zealand First declined to state their position.

The clean and green findings were the third and final lot of results to be released from the annual survey.

It also asked respondents about their views on sustainability and about the quality of their household water.

While the majority of people believe New Zealand's drinking water is good, almost 40% thought the quality of our waterways is an urgent priority which needs fixing.

Sustainable Coastlines chief executive Sam Judd said it would take the efforts of all New Zealanders to keep the country's waterways and coastlines healthy.

"We are on a mission to enable people to look after coastlines and waterways through education, large scale clean-ups and restoration projects."

On the positive side, Prof Crothers said the survey found the vast majority of Kiwis were becoming more environmentally minded and focused on sustainability.

"Almost three quarters would like to live in an energy efficient home with sustainable elements such as solar power and recyclable water," he said.

The importance of solar power had increased 5% from 2016, with 27% of respondents saying it was "important" or "very important" when considering a home to live in or when renovating.

While only 6% of New Zealanders already have solar power, four in 10 people believe it is "the way of the future" but don't have it installed at their homes.

Similarly, just over 40% said they would like to install solar panels but it is currently too expensive.

"For many people, they don't know enough about solar power or how it works," Prof Crothers said.

"However, the growing awareness about the importance of solar power is clear, with a common comment from respondents being that all new builds should be fitted with solar panels."

The margin of error for the survey sample, covering Kiwis aged between 18 and 74, was plus or minus 3.6% at the 95% confidence level.

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