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IAG-Ipsos poll: Kiwis pessimistic that we will meet climate change challenge

15 July 2018

A new opinion poll has found that while New Zealanders accept that climate change is coming, and acknowledge the need to prepare, few believe enough will be done.

One thousand New Zealanders agreed to take part in the Ipsos poll commissioned by New Zealand’s largest general insurer, IAG. The poll took place between 15 and 22 June and has a margin for error of plus or minus 3.1%.

The IAG-Ipsos poll found that 89% of New Zealanders think we will see more frequent and extreme storms, 87 per cent expect inundation of coastal locations owing to sea level rise, 85% expect more droughts and 79% believe we will see extinctions of plant and animal species.        

Eighty four per cent of those polled think that humanity can reduce climate change but 60% are unclear whether we will do so and only 10% believe that we will take appropriate action.

Those polled thought New Zealanders need to work together to fight climate change, with 65% thinking the Government has a responsibility to take action. Twenty five per cent say the Government is most responsible.

Key insights

Only 43% thought New Zealand’s current response is on the right track, only 33 per cent thought the Government response to date has been good and only 21%approved of the international response so far.

Seventy nine per cent believe New Zealand needs to start now, 64% believe we need to meet or exceed our international commitments and 78 per cent say we should act even if other countries don’t.

Seventy five per cent of us agree we will need to rethink land use, 75% think some people will need to move from where they currently live, and 73% agree we will need to support those who are been negatively affected.

Seventy nine per cent of New Zealanders believe the approach to climate change should be non-partisan and pragmatic and that we need certainty before acting.

Seventy two per cent of New Zealanders thought that climate change is an important issue to solve and 60% have become more concerned in recent years. But only 10% placed climate change in their top three issues of concern.

 'A timely reminder'

Craig Olsen is Chief Executive of IAG New Zealand.

“IAG commissioned this opinion poll because we wanted to know what New Zealanders were thinking and to encourage them to get behind this issue and the Government’s Zero Carbon Bill.”

“It’s a timely reminder that we all need to work together to combat the effect of climate change, this is not something that New Zealanders can assume someone else will fix, and business needs to play its part.

“I was proud to join 59 other New Zealand business leaders at the launch of the Climate Leaders Coalition on Thursday as we showed our support for the Government’s Zero Carbon Bill.  IAG is committed to do our bit to keep within two degrees Celsius of warming.

“We know that climate change will have a substantial impact on New Zealand, including the way we use our land and where people live.  We need to help ensure that we adapt to these changes in a way that protects the prosperity and wellbeing of affected communities.

“The enormity of the challenge in front of us as a nation was put into sharp focus by the poll findings that found that 84% of New Zealanders think that we can reduce climate change but only 10% think that we will.        

“We want to see a clear and sustainable plan for how New Zealand reduces its emissions and adapts to the impacts of climate change.”

The IAG-Ipsos poll has been published as consultation on the Government’s Zero Carbon Bill takes place. The consultation period ends on 19 July.

The poll follows as the Insurance Council warns 2018 is already looking like the worst year in New Zealand history for damage caused by natural disasters.

It comes a year after President Donald Trump announced his intention to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

To view our video about the climate change survey results, click here​.

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