In contrast to the global outlook, New Zealanders are more optimistic about the future economic climate, according to the latest annual Global Predictions Survey by market research titan, Ipsos. However, a significant 82% of Kiwis expect that prices will escalate more rapidly than incomes in 2024, and two-thirds predict an increase in unemployment in the new year.
The report, a comprehensive survey of 25,000 respondents across 34 nations, indicated that a sizeable 73% of New Zealand participants believed 2023 was a disappointing year for their homeland. These results were collected after the 2023 general election but before the unveiling of the subsequent coalition government’s 100-day plan and cabinet members.
Despite the gloomy retrospective analysis, 73% harboured hopes that 2024 would fare better for them personally. In contrast to the economic worries, this represents a glimmer of personal optimism.
Environmental apprehensions, particularly regarding climate change trends, were a consistent topic in the responses, with 82% of New Zealand respondents expecting an increase in global average temperatures next year. This prediction was coupled with a 74% expectation of more severe weather events on New Zealand soil in comparison to 2023. Notably, 58% anticipate a significant natural disaster striking a major New Zealand city within 2024.
Before the disclosure of the recently elected government's cabinet and 100-day plan, 46% of respondents predicted the institution of more challenging carbon emission reduction targets by the New Zealand government— a prediction running 9 percentage points below the global average.
Shifting to social issues, 75% of New Zealanders predict an increase in immigration in 2024, yet 58% doubt an accompanying rise in tolerance among New Zealand citizens. Under this section, a notable 45% of respondents envision reducing their social media use in the coming year, while only 30% expect to see Donald Trump reinitiate his role as the US President. At the same time, a meagre 22% harbour hopes about the cessation of the Ukraine war in 2024.
The subject of Artificial Intelligence (AI) yielded interesting disparities between New Zealand perceptions and the global cohort. While 64% of the universal sample fear job losses due to AI, the proportion drops to 56% among New Zealanders. Conversely, 42% of Kiwis anticipate new job creation through AI. On the medical front, New Zealanders fell far below the global average in expecting healthcare professionals to adopt AI for patient treatment, with only 45% believing this scenario against a global expectation of 56%.
Carin Hercock, Managing Director of Ipsos New Zealand, reflected on the survey outcome, noting, "With high inflation and severe weather events creating widespread damage in NZ it isn’t surprising that three-quarters of New Zealanders think '23 was a bad year for the country. However, they remain more hopeful than the global average, that the economy will improve in 2024. New Zealanders will be heading into 2024 conscious of their spending, while also more wary than the global average of an expected natural disaster hitting one of our major cities."