Mind & Matters

Understanding the hearts and minds of Kiwis.


Monthly insights designed to help you better understand public sentiment, from macro trends to behaviours and attitudes towards key interest areas. Brought to you by Perceptive and Sapien Research.



Key findings

Top level insights from the October report

Many Kiwis are feeling neutral about what the next 12 months will bring (47% expect things to stay the same)


Negative emotions remain in play. Stress, sadness and frustration are all high (51%, 33% and 48% respectively).


The number of Kiwis who claimed they saved some of their income has increased (54%, +3% since September).


This month's insights

Comparing emotions pre and post election

Our fieldwork for October covered the build up to and holding of the general election.

October saw many Kiwis remaining stressed, sad, and growing increasingly frustrated.

  • Stressed: down slightly on last month (53%>51%), but remaining high
  • Frustration: increased in October +4% to 48%
  • Sad: increased slightly, 33% (up from 31% in September).



While all these emotions were expressed most strongly by women, the under 29s felt the most stressed and sad. Meanwhile, frustration was strongest among those aged 30-59 years and markedly lower outside these ages.

Most Kiwis think New Zealand is heading in the wrong direction

Overall, 60% of Kiwis think New Zealand is heading in the wrong direction. However, the proportion of Kiwis who think the country is going in the right direction has increased to 40% (+5% since September). Aucklanders are the most positive with 45% indicating the country is moving in the right direction. Kiwis in the Lower North Island (Taupō south) are the most negative with two-thirds feeling things are heading the wrong way; this sentiment is strongest among Kiwis aged 30-59 years.


Looking across the ditch, while the Australian public are slightly more positive, the overall sentiment is similar; the majority in both countries feel their country is going in the wrong direction (54% Australia and 60% NZ).

Many key issues remain negative, but Kiwis are feeling positive about their personal lives

The key areas of concern were crime and punishment (83% wrong direction) and healthcare (78% wrong direction), followed by the economy (67%) and leadership/politics (65%). Closer to home, New Zealanders were more positive about their personal life (81% right direction) and mental health (72% right direction), and personal finances (60% right direction). However, the lower personal finances result compared to personal life and mental health indicates Kiwis still have some concerns around their finances. 

New Zealanders think we are moving in the right direction for the following areas:  Your personal life, your work or business, your mental health, New Zealand’s relationship with other countries, your financial situation, how the rest of the world views New Zealand.


New Zealanders think we are moving in the wrong direction in the following areas:  Equality and human rights, artificial intelligence/AI technologies, the environment, New Zealand’s leadership and politics, the New Zealand economy, New Zealand’s healthcare system, New Zealand’s crime and punishment.

Financial pressure is showing signs of easing 

Echoing the overall positive personal finances trend, October saw an increase in Kiwis who claimed they saved some of their income (54% October; +3% since September), with correspondingly fewer struggling to just cover the essentials (38%; -2% since September). 

A neutral 12-month outlook  

When asked how they expect the next 12 months to go for them and their family, most Kiwis expect things to stay the same (47%—stable with September) while 1 in 5 (19%) feel things will get worse, and approximately one-third (35%) expect things to improve.


Download report

Monthly Snapshot

October 2023

Quarterly Report | Issue 1

July - September 2023

Monthly Snapshot

August 2023

Monthly Snapshot

July 2023

About this tracker


What is Mind & Matters?

Mind & Matters is designed to help business and leaders better understand public sentiment. From macro trends to behaviours and attitudes towards key interest areas, such as such as job security, personal finance, mental health, the environment and more, Mind & Matters is your comprehensive check-in on the state-of-mind of the New Zealand public.

Moreover, thanks to our partnership with Quantum in Australia, we also have comparative data to help us uncover previously unexplored differences and similarities between these two markets.


Why we're running this tracker?

In April 2020, in the midst of a pandemic lockdown, Perceptive and Sapien built the first Covid-19 Tracker to help businesses and leaders better understand the hearts and minds of Kiwis as we experienced this unprecedented event.

Fast forward to 2023 and the world—and New Zealand—continues to experience change on multiple fronts, from rising inflation to the rise of eCommerce and generative AI. With this in mind, Perceptive and Sapien have taken the best of our Covid-19 tracker produce this comprehensive tracker that explores what Kiwis think, feel and believe in relation to some of the most topical and challenging issues of today.


How often will Mind & Matters be released?

Mind & Matters releases its findings online every month. To ensure you don't miss a release, subscribe to Mind & Matters and have updates sent straight to your inbox.