Join the panel!

Research Results

Second COVID-19 wave and lockdowns reduce trust in Government by 3%

27 Aug 20

Second COVID-19 wave and lockdowns reduce trust in Government by 3%
3% dent in confidence after second COVID-19 wave

Overall trust and confidence in the Ministry of Health and Government’s response to managing COVID-19 has fallen 3% following the second wave of infection and lockdowns.

Overall trust was 82% in mid-July 2020. It is 79% in late August.

This is down from a high of 91% during the Alert Level 4 lockdown in April 2020.

While trust and confidence has largely held up across all adults, trust among business proprietors and the self-employed has fallen drastically, from 71% in mid-July to 49% in late August.

Among business managers and executives, trust has also fallen, but not as markedly: from 73% in mid-July to 67% in late August. 

However, it is not all bad news for the Government.

While business proprietors, self-employed and farm owners/managers may have much lower trust in the management of the pandemic, trust among every other occupation group (including “homemakers” and the retired) has either fallen only slightly, remained steady or increased.

Trust has increased among:

  • Those aged 18-24 years (by 10%)
  • Technical/Mechanical/Skilled workers
  • Homemakers
  • Those flatting or boarding
  • Those with personal incomes of between $150,000 and $200,000 per annum
  • 2017 ACT, NZ First voters and likely new voters: those who were not eligible to vote in 2017.

Among those who voted in 2017 for the parties currently in Parliament, only National supporters have less trust, but 64% of them still trust the Ministry of Health and the Government management of the pandemic.

Overall distrust is 20%. This is up from 17% in mid-July and 10% in April.

The survey, of 1,300 adults nationwide (maximum margin of error +/- 2.7%) was conducted between August 20 and 25 while Auckland was in Level 3 lockdown, and the rest of the country at Level 2.

Just before and during the survey period the extent of testing of border staff for COVID-19 before the second wave was being strongly debated, opposition parties released COVID-19 policy for the October 17 general election and a four-day extension of the Auckland restrictions had been announced.


1,300 members of Horizon Research nationwide panels and a third-party research panel, representing the New Zealand adult population at the 2018 census, responded to the online survey between 20 and 25 August 2020.

The sample is weighted on age, gender, highest qualification, personal income, employment status and party vote at the 2017 election.  At a 95% confidence level, the maximum margin of error is +/- 2.7%.

The survey was self-commissioned by Horizon Research as part of COVID-19 research conducted in the public interest since late March 2020.

For further information please contact

Grant McInman, Manager, Horizon Research, email, telephone 021 076 2040.