New Zealand General Social Survey: 2008

Embargoed until 10:45am  –  29 October 2009


This first release of data from the New Zealand General Social Survey (NZGSS) provides new information about key social and economic outcomes in one dataset. The survey allows for analysis of key population groups across a range of areas of life at the same time. It confirms that some population groups are at higher risk of poor outcomes for both traditional measures (income, employment, and qualifications) and new measures (housing quality, social isolation, safety, and discrimination). These include the unemployed, those in single-parent families, and those with low household incomes.

The NZGSS includes areas where there has been little or no official information available, such as housing, social isolation, environment, discrimination, and emergency preparedness.

  • Over 90 percent of people agreed that it is good that people in New Zealand can have different values and ways of living. However, 1 in 10 people had been discriminated against in the past 12 months.
  • Less than half of people lived in households that had stored enough water for three days in case of emergency.
  • Half of people reported one or more problems relating to their house, street, or neighbourhood.

The NZGSS acts as a policy-monitoring tool, enables international comparisons to be made, shows the impact of social changes, allows for new topics to be investigated, and tells us what New Zealanders think and feel about their lives.

  • Around 1 in 7 people said they did not have enough money to meet their everyday needs.
  • More than 80 percent of people had some sort of contact with family living outside their household, at least once in the last month. Despite this, one-quarter of people felt they did not have enough contact with non-resident family.
  • Most people (86 percent) were very satisfied or satisfied with life overall (a result that is broadly comparable with other countries, including Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia).
 Cathryn Ashley-Jones  29 October 2009
 Acting Government Statistician ISSN 1179-5050