COVID-19 Insights Tracker

2021/22 edition

Understanding the hearts and minds of Kiwis during COVID

As the COVID-19 Delta situation unfolds, we are regularly reaching out to Kiwis, including business owners, to understand their current headspace. We are committed to providing this information free of charge to help make a difference where we can.

This tracker is an adaptation of our 2020 COVID-19 Insights Tracker. 

If you're interested in getting COVID-19 insights specific to your business and/or industry, please don't hesitate to get in touch.



How to use this tracker

Filter and slice each of the six questions by age, generation, gender, region and business size using the drop down menus. Hold ctrl and click to select multiple filter options. 


21 March summary

Fieldwork was conducted between Friday 11th March to Wednesday 16th March 

Domestic and international factors are weighing on Kiwis’ minds and influencing the way we think, feel, and respond to the current state of the nation. Perceptive felt it is important to gain a read on how Kiwis feel regarding the continuation of our response to Covid-19 as well as the impact of Russia and Ukraine overseas. 


The global crisis is causing negative emotions among New Zealanders 

However, awareness of a good quality of life helps balance these feelings. 

  • 7 out of 10 Kiwis felt positive at some point over the past week, however, 4 out of 10 Kiwis also felt negative over the same period. 
  • Stress levels among Kiwis have significantly increased since the last wave (31%: 16th March vs 25%: 22nd February).  
  • Having a great life through family, friends and work are the primary reasons why Kiwis feel positive. However, global crises including Covid and the war between Russia and Ukraine are contributing to negative emotions such as fear and stress. 


Negative effects of Covid increasing 

The negative effects of Covid on the economy and health remains paramount. This has significantly increased since mid-February. 

  • Local businesses: (87%: 16th March vs 77%: 13th February).  
  • International business (84%: 16th March vs 76%: 13th February). 
  • My family’s financial situation (52%: 16th March vs 42%: 13th February). 
  • My friends/family’s health (53%: 16th March vs 45%: 13th February). 


Polarising views on the government’s response to Covid has divided Kiwis on whether enough has been done. 

  • Less than half (46%) believe they are doing as much as they can, mentioning they have provided the best response to the constantly changing and bad situation we are in. Comparisons made between the number of cases and deaths overseas continues to influence this opinion. 
  • 2 out of 5 (41%) believe the government isn’t doing enough or could be doing more. These thoughts stem from Kiwis who believe decisions have been made in reaction to the situation and have not included longer-term planning.  
  • Additional themes show people are worried about the significant increase in case numbers and disagreement with the mandates. 


Kiwis doubting red light level despite Omicron 

Despite over two-thirds of New Zealanders being concerned about Omicron (69%), less than half believe remaining in the red setting of the traffic light system is the right option (45%). 

  • 1 out of 5 New Zealanders believe we should remove the traffic light altogether and return to normal, significantly increasing since the last wave (20%: 16th March vs 14%: 22nd February).  

In response to daily case numbers increasing rapidly since the end of February, most New Zealanders believe the number of reported cases is much lower than the actual number of cases in the community (63%).  

  • 2 out of 5 New Zealanders are worried about catching the virus (42%). Whereas 1 of out of 3 New Zealanders claim they have never been worried about cases number or have already started to return to normal living (32%). 


Kiwis expect mandates to continue for some time yet 

New Zealanders believe the requirement for mandates in certain industries should remain in place for the next 11-13 weeks. 

Kiwis are expecting all Covid mandates to be removed and for New Zealand to return to a normal way of living in 14 weeks (3.5 months) time. 

The average time New Zealanders think the following industry mandates should be removed are: 

  • Fire, emergency, police, and the defence force: 11 weeks 
  • Hospitality (unless they are operating solely as takeaways): 11 weeks 
  • Indoor exercise facilities like gyms: 12 weeks 
  • Education: 12 weeks 
  • Healthcare and disability care: 13 weeks 


Most Kiwis are clear on what to do if they test positive for Covid 

After asking respondents about whether they had taken a Covid test and tested positive for Covid, 4 out of 5 New Zealanders felt they received clear instructions on what to do next. 

Of those who tested positive via PCR test, 4 out of 5 recorded their RAT test result in their My Covid Record or it was done for them at a testing station. 

  • 14% of Kiwis who tested positive via PCR chose not to record their test results with the remaining 5% preferring to not answer the question. 


Kiwis are worried about the economic impact of the war in Ukraine 

Over 4 out of 5 New Zealanders state they are concerned about the war between Russia and Ukraine. 

Regarding the direct impact the war may have on New Zealand, New Zealanders are most concerned about the war negatively affecting the economy, trade, and international travel. 

  • The global economy (68%)  
  • The New Zealand economy (66%) 
  • International travel (53%) 
  • New Zealand’s trade relationships with other countries (42%). 

In response to the war, 1 out of 3 New Zealanders believe the government has done as much as they can regarding the sanctions put in place. 

2 out of 5 believe the government has not done enough or could be doing more, whereas only 16% believe our government should be doing less or not getting involved. 


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Brand sentiment

The brand sentiment graph looks at positive and negative sentiment towards a brand, and plots that against the number of mentions. There is opportunity for brands in the bottom right quadrant to speak louder as they show strong sentiment but their mentions are low.

To view last years results, click here.

Past summaries

25 February Summary

Fieldwork was conducted between Friday 18 to Tuesday 22 February

Since the last wave of tracking, New Zealand sits at a pivotal moment regarding our response to COVID-19 and the Omicron variant. Case numbers are significantly increasing, the nation has the nation has moved through the phases of the Omicron response strategy, Convoy 2022 continues to protest outside parliament and the government is urging New Zealanders to get their booster vaccine. With so many moving parts in New Zealand’s response to the outbreak, it is important to put a lens on public perception.


Emotions remain stable but concern is rising

  • Two-thirds of New Zealanders claim to have felt positive emotions over the past week, similar to previous weeks. However, the same number of people are concerned about Omicron being in the community (66%).


Vaccinated more concerned about Omicron than unvaccinated

  • 69% of vaccinated New Zealanders are concerned about the Omicron outbreak. This level of concern significantly decreases to 24% among unvaccinated New Zealanders.
  • Of those not concerned, 88% say their primary reason for not being concerned is ‘the virus will continue to mutate, and we will have to live with it’ followed by ‘the variant is not as deadly as Delta’ (47%).


Only 22% of New Zealanders fully support the Convoy 2022 Protest

  • 44% of New Zealanders do not support the protests at all.
  • 27% do not support the protests but support their right to protest.

Among those who entirely support the protests (22% of New Zealanders). Almost all state being against the mandates as their reason. Half are against vaccination requirements.

1 February Summary

Fieldwork was conducted between Tuesday 25 January and Friday 28 January. 


Change in alert levels 

On Saturday 22 January 2022 the New Zealand government notified the public that recorded COVID cases in the community were of the Omicron variant.

As a result, the Prime Minister announced that the entire country would go into the Alert Level Red setting from 11:59pm that evening. The Perceptive COVID Tracker went into field the following week to capture the response to this change in alert level status and monitor the perceptions of New Zealanders.  


Core metrics 

New Zealanders are remaining positive overall 

With the announcement of the Omicron variant in the community, New Zealanders are remaining positive overall, with three-quarters of Kiwis feeling positive emotions over the past week.

The majority of Kiwis are concerned about the Omicron variant; however this level of concern is unchanged compared to early December when we first heard about the variant overseas (70%: 28 January 2022 vs. 73%: 4 December 2021).

  • Perceptions that the virus will continue to mutate, and we just have to live with it (85%) and the Omicron variant is not as bad as the Delta variant (55%) are the leading reasons behind lower concern among unconcerned Kiwis.   

Some concerns remain 

New Zealanders remain concerned about:

  • The change in economic conditions as a result of COVID-19 (53%).
  • A forthcoming resurgence of the virus (50%).  


Change in alert level  

Most New Zealanders agree with the decision to place New Zealand in the red setting (51%), with an equal divide between the remaining Kiwis who believe the decision is too strict (21%) or not strict enough (20%).

Despite higher favourability towards the change in alert level, over half of New Zealanders believe the government could be doing more or is not doing enough in response to COVID-19 (52%: 28 January 2022 vs. 44%: 4 December 2021). 


The booster jab 

Intent towards getting the booster jab is high 

Following the months after the push to get New Zealander’s vaccinated, almost two-thirds of all New Zealanders over the age of 18 years old are eligible for their booster jab (64%).

  • Intent towards getting the booster jab is high, encompassing a strong majority of the eligible New Zealand population who are over 18 years old (84%) – higher among 65+ year olds (89%).
  • The remaining population are either unsure or not intending on getting the booster jab (including unvaccinated New Zealanders).


Vaccinations for 5-11 year olds 

With the Pfizer vaccine now approved for 5-11 year olds, the majority of parents have now either had their children vaccinated or are intending to.

This compliance increased among parents of older children.

  • 5-7 year olds: 80%
  • 8-9 year olds: 83%
  • 10-11 year olds: 89%
  • 12-17 years old: 97%  

9 December Summary

Fieldwork was conducted between the 1st and 4th of December after the NZ Government announced the country would be moving into the new traffic light framework on the 3rd of  December 2021. 


Core metrics 

Concern continues to ease as the country shifts into the new traffic light framework  

Concern has dropped across the board since the last wave as Kiwis start to adapt to the new traffic light system and enjoy greater freedoms. While worry about a resurgence of the virus still remains the top concern for Kiwis, this too has eased to 50% from 55% in the last wave.  

Concern particularly dropped towards: 

  • Economic conditions (41% down from 46%: 22 November) 
  • Disconnection from friends and family (43% down from 47%). 

New Zealanders have had a surge of positivity since the relaxing of restrictions with 74% of Kiwis saying they experienced positive emotions in the last week, including loving (54% up from 48%) happy (56% up from 51%), and positive in general (54% up from 51%).  

Confidence in government returning 

Since the last wave (22 November), there’s been an uptick in the number of Kiwis who think the government is doing enough in response to Covid-19, with 51% saying the government is doing as much as they can (significantly up from 43%: 22 November).  


Traffic light settings 

On the 3rd of December, New Zealand transitioned into the traffic light system with:  

  • Auckland, Northland, Taupo and Rotorua Lakes Districts, Kawerau, Whakatane, Optotili District, Gisborne, Wairoa and Rangitikei moving into red level settings. 
  • The rest of New Zealand, including the South Island, moving into orange level settings 

General approval on current light levels 

Overall, these moves were met with approval given the high vaccination rates in Auckland (37%) and the rest of New Zealand/South Island (35%) and the low vaccination rates in Northland, Taupo and Rotorua Lakes Districts, Kawerau, Whakatane, Opotiki District, Gisborne, Wairoa and Rangitikei (38%). However, 24% of Kiwis think the rest of New Zealand/South Island should be on a lower level.   

The two-week reassessment period on the traffic light system feels right  

Meanwhile, 82% of New Zealanders believe that two weeks is an appropriate amount of time before reassessing the traffic light system. Of this group, 35% think it is the right amount of time to see how the framework beds into the community, 34% think it’s appropriate so we can see what the levels will be over the holiday break, while 33% think it’s appropriate but believe the levels should be reviewed more frequently in areas with high vaccination rates and low case numbers.  


Auckland borders  

While agreement towards the borders has increased this wave, the number of Kiwis planning to travel out of Auckland is still relatively low despite the fast-approaching summer holiday period.  

This wave there is slightly stronger agreement towards the Government relaxing the Auckland borders (49% vs 45%: 22 November). Agreement is still more polarising among Aucklanders (63%) but more Kiwis living in other parts of the country now agree with this setting (42% vs 38%: 22 November).   

The number of Aucklander’s planning to travel out of Auckland is still low but has increased slightly by 2pp (now sitting at 36%). There is a decreased proportion of those saying they are still unsure (10% vs 19%: 22 November) but an increased proportion of those who now give a straight ‘no, they aren’t planning to travel out of Auckland’ (53% vs 47% respectively).  


Reconnecting New Zealand 

Reconnecting fully vaccinated Kiwis and other eligible travellers from Australia was met with strong approval 

On Wednesday the 24th of November, the New Zealand Government announced its plan to reconnect New Zealand. From 11.59pm on the 16th of January, fully vaccinated New Zealanders and other eligible travellers to travel to New Zealand from Australia without staying in MIQ. 

Overall, nearly 3 in 4 Kiwis (74%) say this is the right decision, however, 34% of this group also say the decision should be reviewed closer to the time. Two-thirds agree that fully vaccinated New Zealanders should be able to self-isolate from home rather than in MIQ.  

However, a quarter of New Zealanders disagree with the government’s self-isolation strategy saying that the main reason is because they don’t trust people to follow the rules and self-isolate at home (68%) and believe there is too much risk involved (57%). Twenty-nine per cent don’t think the government will be able to mandate it properly either. 

Less enthusiasm for New Zealanders to return from abroad and opening NZ to all fully vaccinated foreign nationals  

From Sunday the 13th of February 2022 New Zealand will open to fully vaccinated NZ citizens, residence-class visa holders, and other eligible travellers but from all high risk countries. 

  • Overall, 52% of New Zealanders either agreed or strongly agreed with this decision. One quarter (25%) neither agreed nor disagreed, while 22% disagreed or strongly disagreed.  

The New Zealand Government has announced that from the 30th of April 2022 New Zealand will open to all fully vaccinated foreign nationals (possibly staged by visa). 

  • Agreement to fully re-open New Zealand in April 2022 is the lowest by comparison to the rest of the reconnecting New Zealand plan. Just under half of New Zealanders agree with this decision (47%). Twenty-nine per cent of Kiwis remain neutral (neither agreeing nor disagreeing), just under a quarter (24%) disagree or strongly disagree. 


Concern towards Omicron 

On the 28th of November nine African countries were added to the New Zealand Government’s ‘very high risk countries list’ following public health advice around the newly discovered Omicron variant. 

Concern is high about the new variant 

When asked about how concerned they were about this new variant entering New Zealand, Kiwis responded with: 

  • 73% concerned or very concerned.  
  • 17% neutral.  
  • 11% not at all concerned or not concerned.  

Of those who said they were not at all concerned or not concerned, 70% say they are not concerned because the virus will continue to mutate and we have to learn to live with it, while 30% think it won’t be as bad as the Delta variant.  

25 November Summary

Fieldwork was conducted between Friday 19th to the 22nd of November 2021. 

Fieldwork was deployed following the government’s announcement that the Auckland boarders will be relaxed on December 15th in time for the holidays. Aucklanders will need to either be fully vaccinated or have a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours of departure. This measure will be in place until January 17th 2022. It also follows the announcement of the booster vaccines.  


Core metrics 

Concern is easing 

Some positive signs were observed this week with concern towards the virus and some topics easing. However, there is more concern around a resurgence of the virus among the older age group. We also see confidence in the government growing after the latest announcement.  

  • Concern towards the virus itself continues to fall this week (58% vs 61% 3rd November and 66%: 25th October). It has fallen more so among Aucklanders (59% vs 71% 3rd November). 
  • The recent announcement has helped Aucklanders minimise their concerns around economic conditions, disconnection, health and wellbeing, and their holidays being cancelled.  
  • The change in concerns looks slightly different across the various age groups. In particular, concern towards resurgence of the virus, economic conditions and health and wellbeing has fallen among our youngest group (18-34 years). Whereas for those over 55 years, concern has grown further towards the resurgence of the virus (70% vs. 60% 3rd of November) and on their health and wellbeing (40% vs 31%). 
  • New Zealanders’ confidence in the government has increased this week (43% vs. 38% 3rd of November).  


Relaxing the Auckland borders  

Kiwis are divided about opening the borders 

Agreement that the government should relax the Auckland boarders over the holiday period is strong among Aucklanders but not all of the country is on board.  

  • It comes as a sigh of relief for Aucklanders with 61% agreeing it was the right move. When asked about the timeframe given, 67% of Aucklanders say it should either happen sooner or should have no end date put on it.  
  • 17% of Aucklanders think the timeframe should be shorter and 22% think the borders should remain in place. 
  • Agreement isn’t so strong among the rest of Aotearoa, with only 37% agreeing with the Governments choice. Regions that are particularly opposed to the idea are Manawatu (60% don’t agree), Wellington (49% don’t agree), Canterbury (50% don’t agree) and Otago (68% don’t agree). 

A higher proportion of New Zealanders think that every person leaving Auckland should be checked rather than the planned spot checks  

  • While 37% agree with the government's plan that spot checks are the best way (higher among Aucklanders at 46%), almost half (49%) think that there should be checkpoints in place to check every person leaving Auckland (lower among Aucklanders, 37%). The remaining 10% don’t think there should be any enforcement of the rules. 
  • In terms of the $1000 fine for not complying, 37% think it is not enough and should be increased, 44% say it is about right, 9% think it's too much and should be lower and 10% think there should be no fine at all.  


Travelling in and out of Auckland 

Despite the much-anticipated announcement for Aucklanders, those planning to travel out from and into Auckland is relatively low 

  • Among Aucklanders, just over one-third say they plan to travel out of the region between December 15th 2021 and January 17th 2022, which is lower than normal. The intention to travel is higher among 18–44-year-olds (42%): 46% say they aren’t planning to while 19% are still unsure on the matter.  
  • The majority (79%) of New Zealanders living outside of Auckland aren’t planning on travelling in and out of the Auckland region, 10% are planning to and 11% are still unsure. 
  • Only 2% of those travelling in or out of Auckland during the holiday period are not planning on following the rules. 


Return to school 

School life is starting to be somewhat normal again for kids in Years 1-8 in Auckland and Waikato  

  • Two-thirds of parents in Auckland and Waikato say their kids in Years 1-8 have gone back to school either full-time or part-time. A further 15% indicated they would return this week, 19% said they have decided not to send them back and just 2% said the school decided not to open.  
  • Although senior students in Years 11-13 have been allowed back since the 26th of October, return to school numbers are lower, with 50% of parents saying they have returned, 41% saying they haven’t gone back to school and 9% claiming the school decided not to open. 


Booster shot 

Intent to get a booster shot when eligible is high among New Zealanders who are already fully or partially vaccinated 

  • Following the government’s announcement that booster shots will soon become available to those who have had their second vaccination at least 6 months ago, 82% of fully or partially vaccinated New Zealanders plan to get it once eligible, 14% are still undecided and 4% won’t get it. 
  • Uptake appears stronger among males (86%) compared to females (79%) and stronger among Aucklanders (86%) and those over 65 years (91%). 

10 November Summary

Fieldwork was conducted between Wednesday 3rd and Friday 5th of November 

Fieldwork was deployed following the government's announcement on Monday that Waikato will move into Alert Level 3, Step 2 at 11.59pm on Tuesday 2nd of November and Auckland will move to the same step but on Tuesday the 9th of November, a week later. It was also following the decision that the Northern part of Northland would move to Alert Level 3 at 11.59pm on Tuesday 2nd of November, while the rest of Northland would remain at Alert Level 2. 


Core metrics 

With lockdown fatigue really setting in, people are feeling more disconnected from friends and family and worried about missing time with them over the holidays. They are less concerned about the virus itself. 

  • Concern towards the virus has decreased this week (61% vs. 66%: 25th October). Even among Aucklanders, where case numbers are seeing record highs, concern is decreasing (71% compared to 78% on 25th October).  
  • The feeling of disconnection from friends and family continues to be a growing concern among New Zealanders (48% vs. 43%: 25th October) and is even greater among Aucklanders (57%) as the lockdown continues. 
  • As the holiday period draws near, more New Zealanders are growing concerned about their holidays being postponed/cancelled (33% vs. 31%: 25th October). The concern is particularly felt among younger New Zealanders aged 18-34 years (35% vs. 28%: 25th October). 

Information and media attention regarding COVID-19 is beginning to overwhelm New Zealanders. 

  • In November, 31% of New Zealanders admit they are receiving a lot of information from the government and starting to feel overwhelmed. 
  • (vs. 17% 31st August (the start of the lockdown).  
  • 39% also claim they feel overwhelmed with information they are receiving from the media. 


New alert levels updates 

On Tuesday the 2nd of November, cabinet announced the following alert level changes: 

  • Auckland and Waikato to move to Alert Level 3, Step 2. Waikato to move at 11.59pm on Tuesday 2nd of November and Auckland to move at 11.59pm on Tuesday 9th of November. 
  • Northern part of Northland to move to Alert Level 3 at 11.59pm on Tuesday 2nd of November. The rest of Northland to remain at Alert Level 2. 

The decision surrounding the alert level change for both areas of Northland was favourable among New Zealanders, with just under half of New Zealanders believing it was the right option given the circumstances. Agreement is even higher among Northlanders. 

When talking to those from the Waikato about their alert level change, half (51%) agree it was the right call while 37% believe the alert level should be lower or should not have changed. 

Aucklanders are most divided on lowering the alert level: 32% believe it is the right decision, while 25% think it should remain unchanged, 23% believe it should go even lower, and 12% believe it isn’t enough and should be stricter. 

Aucklanders are far more optimistic about light level changes than the rest of New Zealand. 

  • Aucklanders are far more confident that Auckland will move into the red level by December than non-Aucklanders are (57% compared to 43%). 
  • Almost three-quarters of Aucklanders believe that New Zealand will move into the orange level by February 2022 (compared to 64% of non-Aucklanders). 

Response to the traffic light system remains fairly unchanged—there are still doubts and uncertainty with how it works. 

Just over half of Kiwis agree that they understand the system and how it works, with even fewer still agreeing it is a good plan (46%).  

Aucklanders still feel the same towards the system this week and think the 90% vaccination target to move to red level is fair or should be reviewed depending on vaccination rates.  

For the rest of New Zealand this week, significantly more state that the 90% target is fair but believe it will need to be reviewed depending on the vaccination rates over time (33% vs. 27% 25th  October). 


Vaccine mandates for businesses 

Majority of businesses on board with the vaccination mandate for employees. 

  • For businesses where the government has made vaccination mandatory for their employees, the majority say they will enforce this (89%), although 1 in 10 businesses state that they will not enforce this. 
  • Whereas for businesses that sit outside of the employee vaccine mandate that have the ability to enforce their own rules, just under half say they will require all staff to be fully vaccinated (34%) or if they aren’t, they will have to work from home (15%).  

Customer vaccine mandates are less likely to be enforced than employee mandates. 

  • For businesses requiring mandatory vaccination for customers, only two-thirds of business decision-makers say they will enforce this mandate, while 28% claim they won’t and 5% are still yet to decide.  

This week, more businesses are concerned about having limitations placed on them if they choose not to implement the vaccine certificate requirements (37% vs. 32%: 25th October), along with having to put things in place and monitor certificates of their customers (42% vs. 39%: 25th October).  


Vaccine for younger kids 

A hot topic has been protecting our young ones. 

On Saturday 30th October the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) in the US authorised the use of the Pfizer vaccine for children aged 5 to 11 years old.  

  • Awareness of this announcement among parents with children this age is high (72%) and positively the backing of the FDA has meant that more parents are now likely to consider getting their children vaccinated. Fifty-nine per cent of parents of 5-11 years olds are planning on getting them vaccinated when it becomes available; 44% of these have been swayed by the FDA announcement.  


Return to school 

With the indicative return to school date looming for kids in Years 0-8 living in Auckland and Waikato, there are mixed feelings among parents. 

  • Differing emotions are clearly demonstrated with only one-third of parents in Auckland or Waikato with children in Years 0-8 feeling comfortable about this indicative decision. Thirty-eight per cent feel uncomfortable and one-quarter are sitting on the fence with how they feel. 

29 October Summary

Fieldwork was conducted between Friday 22 October to Monday 26 October. 

Fieldwork was deployed on Friday afternoon following the announcement of the governments protection framework and traffic light system. 


Kiwi attitudes divided by the new protection plan 

A polarised response to the traffic light system 

Over half of New Zealanders (55%) indicated negativity towards the plan or suggested it needed improvement in certain areas. Meanwhile, over one-third (38%) gave a positive response to the plan.  

This division is particularly evident in the most common responses: 



• ‘Too confusing and complex’ (27%) 
• ‘A very poor idea/lacks execution’ (16%) 
• ‘A good idea/provides a clear understanding’ (25%) 
• ‘It’s a practical response/the government is doing their best’ (17%) 

Individual responsibilities are clear, despite confusion about the system itself 

64% of Kiwis know what they need to do personally for the plan to succeed. However, only half of New Zealanders say they understand the system and how it will work.  


Most New Zealanders believe the protection plan needs to be reassessed over time or changed to ensure fairness. 

Over half (58%) say the plan needs improvement or alternative considerations to be completely fair when considering a traffic light level change. 

One-quarter of New Zealanders (27%) suggest the plan will need to be reviewed depending on the vaccination rates over time. Others indicate that regional DHBs should be assessed individually (18%) or that level changes should be assessed at a nationwide vaccination level (13%). 


New protection framework seen to benefit economy and local businesses at the expense of healthcare system and mental health. 

Just under half of New Zealanders believe the plan will have a positive impact towards retail businesses (49%), hospitality businesses (47%) and our economy (46%). 

However, there is an inclination that easing restrictions with Covid-19 cases present in the community will negatively affect our healthcare system (42%) and the mental health of New Zealanders (41%). 


Little change in attitude since October 22 announcement 

Emotions remain stable 

New Zealanders’ emotions remain fairly unchanged since the last wave of tracking. As we take into consideration the new protection framework, time will tell how Kiwis will respond to framework and how emotions will change as a result. 


Many New Zealanders still seeing the need for restrictions  

Despite motivations to lift restrictions and return back to our ‘normal’, almost half of New Zealanders (47%) indicate they would feel uncomfortable seeing lockdown restrictions lifted if Covid-19 is in their community. 


Protection framework gives slight confidence boost 

The implementation of the protection framework is helping to improve the public’s decreased confidence in the New Zealand Government with those indicating ‘Yes, they are doing as much as they can’ rising to 43%, up from 35% on 15 October 2021. 

  • However, over half of New Zealanders (53%) still believe the New Zealand Government is not doing enough/could be doing more. 


Kiwis expect a long wait to reach green 

Two in five New Zealanders (43%) are confident Auckland will be able to move into the red level by December. However, the majority believe the level change will occur after the seasonal period (57%). 

New Zealanders don’t think we’ll be enjoying the freedoms of the orange level any time soon—80% believe this will come in January at the earliest. 

However, 64% believe we’ll return close to our new ‘normal’ (green level) after summer, while two-fifths (40%) suggest it will be by May 2022 or later. 


Vaccine update 

The prospect of New Zealanders achieving the double dose vaccination is looking positive with 90% of single dose vaccinated respondents indicating they plan to get the second jab. 

Communication around the wait time between doses has been strong with almost all (92%) single dose vaccinated respondents aware they only have to wait three weeks until the second jab. And 14% of those waiting to get their second jab will do it sooner than originally planned after hearing the announcement. 

Number of vaccinated children growing 

Fully vaccinated children aged 12-17 years are also gaining in number. Parents with children in this age bracket have reported a significant increase in the full vaccination of their children since it has been made available to them. 

  • 25 October 2021: (49%) 
  • 15 October 2021: (38%) 
  • 30 September 2021: (11%) 

However, one in ten parents with children in this age bracket are not planning on vaccinating their children. With this figure unchanged, the vaccination increases we are seeing are among families who already intended to vaccinate their children and further work needs to be done to convert the remainder. 


Business decision makers concerned about enforcing vaccine requirements 

Business owners and decision makers are stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to the management of vaccination statuses and vaccine-related processes for their businesses. 

Owners and decision makers for businesses will now have added responsibilities, with two-thirds (65%) being responsible for managing the vaccinations statuses of their employees and/or customers. 

Half of whom (52%) are concerned that it is their responsibility to ensure all their staff are vaccinated and the repercussions if they choose not to be. They are also apprehensive about having to monitor the vaccine certificates of customers (43%), having limitations placed on their business if they choose not to implement the requirement of vaccine certificates (37%) and refusing service to the unvaccinated (34%). 

21 October Summary

Fieldwork was conducted between October 13 and October 15. 


Concern has spiked over the past two weeks 

Currently, two-thirds (67%) of New Zealanders feel a strong level of concern toward the Covid-19 situation in New Zealand, which has increased significantly since the last wave (55%: 30 September). 

New Zealanders are getting more concerned about the impact Covid-19 is going to put on our healthcare system (60% vs. 48%: 30 September) with greater awareness regarding our ICU capacity. 

The prolonged period of stricter lockdowns continues to increase concern towards economic conditions (51% vs. 45%: 30th September), as well as the health and wellbeing of New Zealanders (48% vs. 39%: 30th September) including mental health (33% vs 28%: 30 September) 

As we move towards summer and season events, there is growing concern that holidays will be postponed or cancelled (30% vs 21%: 30 August). 

Unvaccinated Kiwis are more concerned about economic conditions, mental health, and being disconnected from friends and family than their own health and well-being. 

Including the last two waves of tracking, concern among those not intending to get vaccinated (29%) is significantly lower than those already vaccinated (63%). 

  • Non-intenders are most concerned about economic conditions (52%), their mental health (42%), being disconnection from family and friends (29%), as well as other comments around being forced to vaccinate and losing their freedom due to government regulation. 
  • What they are not so concerned about is their health and wellbeing (15%) and the prospect of a resurgence of the virus (14%). 


The window is drawing shut for Auckland to be in Level 1 before Christmas  

Since the beginning of the lockdown, New Zealanders believed Auckland would return to Alert Level 1 in six weeks (around October 11). Now that we are past this date, half of New Zealanders (49%) now believe the prospect of Auckland returning to Alert Level 1 will occur in two months at the very earliest. 

South Islanders are more optimistic about their alert level status with over half (58%) indicating they will be in Alert Level 1 in 4 weeks at the latest. 


Incentivising vaccination prompts unvaccinated Kiwis to come forward 

Prior to the Vaxathon on Saturday August 16, 90% of New Zealanders indicated they were either vaccinated or are intending to get the jab. 

The 37,500 first doses of the vaccine administered during the Vaxathon highlights how creating events and incentivising the unvaccinated aids in increasing vaccination statuses—as suggested in the previous wave of tracking. 

From the September 30 wave: Of those who were unsure about being vaccinated, 36% said they would get the jab if it was incentivised in some way.  

Confidence in the NZ Government decreasing 

At the beginning of the August lockdown, 59% of New Zealanders were confident the government was doing as much as they could in response to Covid-19. Seven weeks later and this confidence has plummeted to 35%. The majority of Kiwis (61%) now believe the New Zealand Government could be doing more or isn't doing enough.  

In terms of managing alert levels and alert level restrictions in Auckland, only one-third believe the government has managed this well (35%), which is even less among Aucklanders (28%). 

  • 41% of New Zealanders believe Auckland has been managed by the New Zealand Government poorly (46% among Aucklanders). 

However, there is more optimism behind the government’s management of North Island regions outside of Auckland, Waikato, and Northland (48%), with dwellers in those regions particularly favourable towards the response (54%). 

One-third of New Zealanders believe the government’s alert level management in Northland (32%) and the South Island (33%) has been poor, influenced by dwellers in the regions separately. 

6 October Summary

Fieldwork was conducted between 28 September and 30 September.

Rewards and compensation could get New Zealand over the 90% vaccination target.

Currently, 86% of the eligible population (aged 12+ years) have either had a single or double vaccination or intend to.

6% of the eligible population are still unsure about the Covid-19 vaccine.

  • Among this group, getting paid (32%) or rewarded in some way (24%) would help convince them to get vaccinated compared to preventing further restrictions such as needing a vaccine passport to travel (15%) or attend events (13%), as well as to stop the lockdowns (9%).

5% of the eligible population are not planning to be vaccinated or definitely won’t be.

Concern rising for summer holidays.

With the prolonged lockdown and summer approaching, there is increasing concern around holidays being postponed or cancelled (27% vs 24%: 17th September).

Government confidence is decreasing.

Less than half of New Zealanders believe the New Zealand Government are doing as much as they can (47% vs 57%: 17th Sept).

Emotions are stable.

Emotions have remained stable over the past fortnight with half of New Zealander’s still feeling loving, positive, and happy. Whereas, negativity seems to be softening (36% vs 40%: 17th September).

22 September Summary

Fieldwork was conducted between 14 September and 17 September 2021.

Positive overall, but stress and negative emotions are increasing

Two out of five New Zealanders state they have been feeling negative emotions over the past week, increase since the start of the lockdown (17 September: 41% vs 30 August: 36%). This increase is attributed to a significantly higher proportion of New Zealanders feeling stressed over the past week (17 September: 31% vs 30 August: 26%).


Prolonged Auckland lockdown is increasing negativity among Aucklanders

Aucklanders are feeling more negative compared to the rest of the country with almost half feeling a negative emotion over the past week.

Over the past week, Aucklanders have felt significantly higher levels of stress (33% vs 26%), negativity (23% vs 16%), sadness (20% vs 15%), and anger (21% vs 11%) when compared to the rest of the country.


Protecting friends and family is the main reason for getting vaccinated

Of those who have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, three-quarters had planned on getting vaccinated from the start.

Those who said they weren’t sure or weren’t planning to but then changed their mind said consideration for their friends and family’s health was the main reason (60%), followed by their own health (48%), to help with herd immunity (40%), and to stop lockdowns (37%).

Of those who are not yet vaccinated, only one-quarter are certain they will get the vaccine (6% of total New Zealanders).

Over half of unvaccinated New Zealanders state they want to do their own research first, are unsure whether they will get vaccinated, or will consider it if circumstances change (10% of total New Zealanders).

  • Of this group, the main reasons that would convince them to get the vaccine include: if they got rewarded in some way (23%) and if they needed a vaccine passport to travel (22%).
  • Additional comments suggest they are waiting for the long-term effects of the vaccine to be clarified, to be shown evidence the vaccine will work, or for mobile vaccination buses that will go to them.

Seven per cent of New Zealanders are unwilling to get vaccinated at this point in time.

Only one-third of New Zealanders believe the vaccine roll-out been done in the best way possible while half of New Zealanders suggest it could have been better or needs improvement.

Two out of five New Zealanders believe the process for getting a Covid-19 test is the best possible method. However, the same proportion believe it could be better or needs improvement.


Covid-19 concern has dropped

High levels of concern about Covid-19 has significantly decreased since the start of the lockdown (17 September: 36% vs 30 August: 31%).

Despite concern decreasing, Aucklanders are significantly more concerned about Covid-19:

  • negatively affecting local businesses (71% vs 65%)
  • impacting the health and wellbeing of Kiwis (45% vs 35%)
  • affecting their children’s education (35% vs 19%)
  • harming the health of their friends and family( 24% vs 14%)
  • impacting their own and family’s mental health (37% vs 24%)
  • affecting their own health (19% vs 12%), and
  • affecting their/family’s financial situation (28% vs 17%).

Fears around a resurgence of the virus, economic conditions, and disconnecting from family and friends remain the most prevalent. However, concern towards community events and activities being cancelled is increasing (17 September: 33% vs 30 August: 26%).

Over half of New Zealanders believe all regions except for Auckland will return in Level 1 in 2 weeks at the most. However, the same proportion believe it will take Auckland 3 to 6 weeks for the same result.

Three-quarters of New Zealanders believe the government made the correct choice to keep Auckland in alert Level 4.

  • A slightly lower portion of Aucklanders agree (69%) with almost one-quarter believing it is too strict.

New Zealanders are beginning to feel more overwhelmed by the information they are receiving from the New Zealand Government.

  • I receive a lot of information, but I feel this is necessary (17 September: 65% vs 30 August: 70%)
  • I receive a lot of information and I am getting overwhelmed (17 September: 23% vs 30 August: 19%).

2 September Summary

Fieldwork was conducted between 27 August* and 30 August** 2021.

*Fieldwork took place during the announcement of regions south of Auckland moving to Level 3 at 11:59pm on Tuesday 31 August
**Fieldwork was completed prior to the 4pm announcement confirming regions South of Auckland moving to Level 3 at 11:59pm on Tuesday 31 August while Northland and Auckland remain at Level 4.


Most New Zealanders are feeling positive despite the lockdown.  

  • 2 in 3 New Zealanders have often felt positive emotions over the past week while in Level 4. 
  • Around half have been feeling loving (51%), happy (50%), or positive (49%) despite the lockdown situation. 
  • For comparison, our 26 March 2020 (Level 4) wave saw Kiwis reported slightly higher levels of loving (54%), happy (51%), positive (51%).  
  • Only one-third of New Zealanders claim to have frequently felt negative emotions with stress being the leading emotion (26%). 
  • This is significantly down from the 49% reported in our 26 March 2020 (Level 4) wave, and even down from the 38% reported at 1 July 2020 during Level 1.


Concern is down thanks to past lockdown experiences 

Our previous experiences mean the majority of New Zealanders are coping the same, if not better than last time we were in Level 4. 

  • One-third (36%) of New Zealanders indicate they are highly concerned about COVID-19. This is much lower than what New Zealanders experienced in one week of lockdown in March 2020 (52%). 
  • What New Zealanders are specifically concerned about varies. While half are concerned about a resurgence of the virus (54%), over two-fifths are worried about economic conditions (44%) and being disconnected from family and friends (42%). 
  • For comparison, our 21 April 2020 (Level 4) wave saw concern around a resurgence of the virus sitting at 64% and worry about economic conditions at 43%. 
  • 25% of New Zealanders are coping better. Most attribute this to being better prepared because we have experienced lockdown before (89%). 
  • Of the 16% who are coping worse, 22% state they are not confident in the lockdown strategy and believe the vaccine is being rolled out too slow.  
  • One-fifth are feeling negative effects to their wellbeing including stress (20%), negative impacts on their mental or physical health (17%) and frustration at being stuck at home again (16%). 


Kiwis believe the economy will feel the most negative impact, not our health 

  • More than half believe the virus will negatively impact local business (64% vs 84% at 26 March 2020), the global economy (61% vs 83%), international business (56% vs 77%), and the New Zealand economy (54% vs 79%). 


New Zealanders think it will take twice as long for Auckland to reach Level 1 

  • New Zealanders believe it will take 6 weeks for Auckland to return to Level 1 due to the number of daily cases and clusters within the region. 
  • For the remaining regions that are yet to receive any recorded cases, New Zealanders believe those regions will return to Level 1 in 3 weeks. 
  • Half believe this will occur within 2 weeks. 
  • New Zealanders are slightly apprehensive about Wellington returning as quickly, with respondents believing it will be 4 weeks until the capital returns to Level 1. 


Business decision-makers are more concerned about COVID-19 compared to the rest of New Zealand (47% vs. 33%) 

  • Business decision-makers are most concerned about economic conditions (53%) and are significantly more likely to be concerned about unemployment, job security or finding a new job (36%).  
  • Compared to non-decision-makers, they are more concerned about the pandemic negatively impacting their friends/family’s mental and physical health (47% vs 30%) and their friends/family’s financial situation (37% vs 20%). 
  • COVID-19 is disproportionately impacting the mental health of decision-makers (33% vs 17% of non-decision-makers). 
  • 2 in 5 indicate it is impacting both their mental and physical health (39%).  


Kiwis agree with the government’s response to the Delta outbreak 

  • 4 out of 5 Kiwis believe the New Zealand Government’s decision to place the country in a Level 4 lockdown was the right decision. 
  • 3 in 5 (60%) New Zealanders believe the government has done enough in response to COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. For comparison, at 26 March 2020 (Level 4) this ratio was 3 in 4 (75%). One-quarter (25%) believe the government could be doing more. At 26 March 2020, this was one-fifth (20%) of Kiwis.  
  • 1 in 2 New Zealanders feel they are receiving a necessary amount of information from the media, whereas 1 in 3 are finding it overwhelming. 

About this tracker

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