Drivers of Trust in Public Institutions in New Zealand

image of Drivers of Trust in Public Institutions in New Zealand

In New Zealand, the government’s response to the COVID-19 crisis is considered effective as it protected people’s lives with limited disruption to society and the economy. A key factor in achieving these results was a focus on collective goals, grounded in the high-trust relationship that exists between New Zealanders and their public institutions. Still, high levels of trust should not be taken for granted. As new challenges emerge and old ones reappear, people in New Zealand expect the government to build on the lessons from the pandemic to improve service delivery and the resilience of public institutions. This report provides recommendations for further strengthening trust, including making public services more responsive, integrating long-term thinking into policy making, countering the spread of mis- and disinformation and reinforcing New Zealand’s integrity system.


Institutional trust and its drivers in New Zealand

This chapter describes trust levels by gender, education, ethnicity, migrant background, and geographical location. It also presents multivariate analysis of the drivers of trust in New Zealand in the public service, the local government and the parliament. It finds that the responsiveness of services is the most important driver of trust in the public service. In turn, openness and reliability are key drivers of trust in local government councillors. Political efficacy and reliability are key drivers of trust in the parliament. The chapter also addresses additional characteristics that help to understand levels of trust in New Zealand, such as high cultural diversity and dependence on natural resources.



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