Election 2020: Stuff-Massey Survey shows pay packets down, straining budgets – Stuff.co.nz

New Zealanders’ household budgets haven’t changed much, but their ability to pay the bills has, according the Stuff-Massey University Election Survey.

The survey, which is not a scientific poll, but which was answered by more than 75,000 New Zealanders, found 27 per cent of households reported their income had taken a hit as a result of Covid-19.

But while pay packets had fallen for more than a quarter of households, more than 75 per cent of those surveyed said Covid had not affected their household budgets yet.

About 13 per cent reported they were having a very hard time with their budget. According to these data, households are now in danger of facing a Covid crunch.

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Judith Collins and Jacinda Ardern will be fighting over who can best help balance the household budget.


Judith Collins and Jacinda Ardern will be fighting over who can best help balance the household budget.

More broadly, almost 70 per cent of the population said their lives had been moderately or hugely affected by Covid-19.

Associate Professor Grant Duncan from the University of Massey said the possibly of a Covid-related economic crunch pre-election presented risks for the Jacinda Ardern-led Government.

“The two major policy issues that people were turning to in the survey were health and economic policy. If we assume that there is no Covid outbreak, economic policy will continue to dominate,” he said.

“On this front the present government is facing some serious risks: of businesses going bust, wage subsidies expiring, unemployment heading north. Come election day, a lot more people could be feeling unhappy or hacked off.”

Duncan also pointed to the current High Court case concerning the legality of the Government’s Covid lockdown, if it delivers a verdict unfavourable to the Government, before the September 19 election.

“But if the judgement comes out before the election and it was to find that actually a lot of businesses were unlawfully forced to shut down and people arrested, all bets are off.”

About 13 per cent of households said they were having a very hard time with their budget.


About 13 per cent of households said they were having a very hard time with their budget.

The results come as the National Party has nose-dived to 25.1 per cent in a Newshub-Reid Research poll on Sunday night. The Stuff-Massey University Election Survey suggested the ascension of Judith Collins to the leadership of the National Party had likely galvanised the party base.The same Newshub poll had Labour winning more than 60 per cent of the vote.

“Even with the most rigorous methodology, one in 20 polls will always be a rogue and this is clearly one of them,” National Party’s campaign chairman Gerry Brownlee said

Duncan said the recent polls showed just how genuinely volatile sentiment among the New Zealand public currently is.

“There is such a thing as a statistical outlier, but I don’t think we should blame the polls or the pollsters, but what the polls are telling us is that public mood is volatile. It tells you that there is genuinely volatility.”

The economic numbers in the Stuff-Massey survey, Duncan suggests, mean there could be a ‘slow burn’ facing the Government over the next few weeks.

“Even if we avoid another Covid outbreak we face a slow burn over the Covid-related problems. It’s going to be that impact on the lower income people who are normally more likely to vote for Labour who could be most affected by a downturn,” he said.



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