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2019 IAG-Ipsos poll: Kiwi concern grows about climate change

24 July 2019

IAG New Zealand has released the results of its second annual survey of how New Zealanders view climate change.

The poll found that the number of Kiwis who feel the issue of climate change is important to them personally has grown to 79 per cent, from 72 per cent last year.

Sixty-nine per cent said that they have become more concerned about climate change over the past few years - up from 60 per cent.

When asked about the potential effects of climate change:  

  • 86 per cent expected more frequent and extreme storms
  • 85 per cent expect the inundation of coastal locations due to sea level rise
  • 84 per cent expected more frequent and extreme floods
  • 80 per cent expected the loss of ecosystems and the extinction of animal and plant species.

When asked about the effects on people:

  • 61 per cent expect climate change to require us to make difficult trade-offs
  • 77 per cent thought some people might have to move from where they live
  • 73 per cent thought we will need to support those who have been negatively affected
  • 72 per cent thought infrastructure would need to be upgraded
  • 75 per cent thought land use would need to be reconsidered
  • 75 per cent also thought new technology would need to be adopted for transport and power generation
  • 69 per cent expected business to be hurt and jobs to be lost.

Forty-seven per cent thought climate change would create new jobs and businesses.

When asked how they would rate action on climate change to date, only 41 per cent thought New Zealand’s approach to climate change was on the right track.  They were divided on the Government’s performance: 35 per cent good versus 28 per cent poor.

  • Only 33 per cent are confident that New Zealand will be able to reduce its emissions to reach its current targets
  • Only 32 per cent are confident that New Zealand will be able to reduce the impacts that climate change will have on homes, businesses and communities.

When asked about their own actions:

  • 67 per cent said they were prepared to act to reduce the impacts that climate change will have on them
  • 54 per cent knew what they needed to do
  • Only 47 per cent felt their actions would be effective
  • Only 32 per cent had all the information they needed to reduce the impacts that climate change will have on them.

When asked about how the Government should respond to climate change:

  • 79 per cent want the Government to provide guidelines to councils on what they should do to reduce and avoid the impacts of climate change
  • 71 per cent thought it should amend laws to empower councils to take action
  • 53 per cent thought funds should be provided to help protect homes and businesses from the physical impacts of climate change
  • 49 per cent thought it should step in when insurers and banks pull back from insuring and lending to high risk locations.

When asked about local councils:

  • 74 per cent want local councils to provide information on the local impacts of climate change
  • 64 per cent want local councils to zone land specifically to reduce and avoid the impact of climate change
  • 60 per cent want local councils to only consent developments and buildings that reduce or avoid the impact of climate change.

When asked about the business response to climate change:

  • 41 per cent agreed that insurers should increase premiums for homes and businesses that face more risk
  • 40 per cent thought banks should lend less or for shorter periods to people and businesses that face more risk
  • Only 22 per cent believe insurers and banks should get those in low-risk areas to help pay for high-risk locations.

The statistically representative poll of more than a thousand New Zealanders across the country was under taken by Ipsos Ltd between June 19 and 26 and has a margin for error of +/- three per cent.

The survey results come as Parliament considers the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Bill.

Local councils in Auckland, Canterbury, Hawke’s Bay, Nelson, Otago and Wellington have declared  climate emergencies following similar declarations in Australia, Britain, Canada, Ireland, and the United States.

The Climate Leaders Coalition of which IAG New Zealand is a founding member marks its first anniversary today (July 24) as membership surges past 100 companies, making up 60 percent of New Zealand’s gross greenhouse gas emissions.

As an insurer, IAG New Zealand sees first-hand the devastating impact that a changing climate can have on customers and communities. Last year, IAG released its Climate Action Plan and scorecard which outlines targets and deadlines around five key areas that include current and future actions by IAG to help mitigate climate risk. 

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