Join the panel!

Research Results

Trust in news slips further

5 Apr 23

Trust in news slips further
Trust scores for news keep slipping

General trust in New Zealand's news and news brands is continuing to erode.

The AUT research centre for Journalism, Media and Democracy (JMAD) has published its fourth Trust in News in Aotearoa New Zealand report, authored by Dr Merja Myllylahti and Dr Greg Treadwell. The 2023 report, based on a survey undertaken by Horizon Research, finds that:

In 2023, general trust in news declined from 45% to 42%, continuing a downward trend that was already evident in 2020 when the survey was first conducted. However, in 2023, the trust in news people consume themselves increased from 52% to 53%.

When we asked why people trust the news, approximately 70% agreed that journalists “provide me with quality information about important issues” and 50% said that they depend on journalists not to misinform them via “fair and honest reporting.”

Nearly 7 in 10 avoiding the news

For the first time, the survey asked about news avoidance and found news avoidance in New Zealand is at a high level, when compared internationally. While New Zealanders are interested in news, approximately 69% of us avoid news often, sometimes or occasionally.

  • People are avoiding the news because they find it depressing, negative, and it is increasing their anxiety. Many people also find news repetitive, boring and overly dramatic,’ says Dr Myllylahti.

How 15 news brands fared

In 2023, all the major New Zealand news brands suffered a considerable decline in trust. Trust in RNZ fell 14.5%, Whakaata Māori 14.3% and Newstalk ZB 14%.Smaller brands such as, BusinessDesk and Crux were less impacted.

Brand trust ranking

RNZ, the Otago Daily Times and TVNZ were equally regarded as the most trusted news brands.

In 2022, RNZ was the most trusted news brand followed by the other two. In 2023, the top three were followed by, NBR, Newshub and Newsroom.

  • ‘Newsrooms must put regaining trust among their audiences at the top of their agenda for the sake of our democracy,’ says Dr Greg Treadwell, a co-author of the report.

What drives distrust in news

Less than half (48%) trusted news. The main reasons for mistrust were biased and opinionated reporting, lack of facts and politicisation of newsrooms – they were seen as having a political leaning.

Respondents also believed there was not enough transparency in how media operated and that because of governments’ funding of journalism, you could not trust the news. Also, the news was seen as lacking diversity in voices. Some respondents commented that the media was not providing positive news and supporting positive change, and therefore was not to be trusted.

Brands most used

TVNZ, Stuff online and Facebook are the brands most used for news in the past week.

While TVNZ and Stuff were the main sources of news for the second year in a row, Facebook has become the third most important news source for New Zealanders.

Paying for news

In 2023, 23% of New Zealanders have paid for online news content or for access to online news.

This is higher than an international average of 17% identified by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism.

Full report

The full JMAD report is here.


The Trust in Aotearoa News in New Zealand report is produced in collaboration with the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism.

For the 2023 report, 1,120 New Zealand adults (18 years of age or over) were surveyed between February 13-18, 2023, by Horizon Research. The survey has a maximum margin of error at the 95% confidence level for the total sample of ±2.9%