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Research Results

Climate concern levels growing again

26 Apr 18

Climate concern levels growing again
64 in every 100 adults now thinking climate change is urgent or a problem for now

Concern that climate change is an urgent problem or one to be managed now is at its highest level in six years.

64% of adults nationwide believe climate change is a problem, 29% of them saying it is urgent.

30% say it is a problem for later or not a problem, according to a nationwide March 20-27 Horizon Research survey.

Concern is 12% below its 76% peaks in 2006 and 2008, but up 12% since 2012 and 10% since the last Horizon tracking poll was conducted in 2014.

The results mean around 2,044,000 adults are concerned about climate change and around 960,000 say it’s a problem for later or not a problem.

Youngest and eldest least concerned

While 50% of 18 to 24 year-olds think climate change is a problem for now or urgent, 45% of them think it is a problem for the future, making them and those aged 75+ the least concerned of all age groups.

52% of people aged 75+ also thought it a problem for later or not a problem.

Concern over climate change was highest among those aged 35-44 (75%) and 25-34 (71%).

Concern by occupation

By occupation, labourers and agricultural and domestic workers were the most concerned (77%, with 35% thinking it urgent).

Next most concerned were students (72%) and senior government officials and professionals (72%).

63% of business managers and executives were concerned, along with 66% of business proprietors and self-employed.

There is an indication that the least concerned (57% said it was a problem for the future) were those working in a sector with the highest greenhouse gas emissions, farm owners and managers. However, lease note significance testing suggests that farm owners and managers hold different views from the general population, but the sub-sample is small and the result is given as an indication only.

All main parties’ voters concerned about climate change

A majority of voters for each of all the main parties in Parliament are concerned about climate change.

54% of those who gave National their party vote at the 2017 general election, 74% of Labour, 96% of Green and 54% of New Zealand First voters think climate change is a problem for now or urgent.

Just 16% of ACT voters think this way.

Survey detail

Horizon Research surveyed 1,164 adults nationwide between March 20 and 27, 2018. Respondents are members of Horizon’s specialist national online research panel. The survey is weighted by age, gender, educational level, personal income, employment status and party voted for at the 2017 general election to provide a representative sample of the 18+ population at the most recent census. At a 95% confidence level the maximum margin of error is +/- 2.9%.

Further results and detail

The survey also includes responses to the following questions:

  • Have you heard of the Zero Carbon Bill in New Zealand?
  • Do you support or oppose the Government's decision to bind the country to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050?
  • Generally, are you personally prepared to help the country reduce its greenhouse gas emissions?
  • Which of these ways to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions would be acceptable to you personally if they would reduce the rate of global warming? (20 options, including some policies now in the UK climate plan were listed)
  • Would you support or oppose all parties in Parliament agreeing to a net zero emissions target and five-year plans to achieve that target?
  • Overall, how quickly would you like climate change managed, in order for the Government to reach its net zero carbon target by 2050?

For further information and to purchase this research please contact

Graeme Colman


Horizon Research


Telephone: +64 21 848 576