22 November 2021

The World Values Survey has published conclusions from more of the data gathered in its 2019-20 questionnaire. The Survey has been through seven “waves” since its 1980s beginnings.  Ronald Inglehart, a renown American political scientist who was a co-founder of the WVS and co-producer of Inglehart – Welzel cultural map (a scatter-plot depiction of a number of the survey findings), died in May 2021.

The New Zealand contribution has been contemporaneously published by Paul Perry (with Polly Yeung) as Keeping New Zealand in the World Values Survey, A Brief Project History and Selected New Zealand Social Trends from the World’s Largest Non-Commercial Social Survey  in the Aotearoa New Zealand Journal of Social Issues.  Perry (with Massey University colleagues) has perpetuated the New Zealand involvement through numerous WVS “waves”, and increasingly through a sense of responsibility, not for any fiscal advantage!

Trends that emerged from the observations of the approximately 4000 New Zealand respondents are listed in the following extract from one of the 18 Tables;

Some Broad Trends Over Time from the World Values Survey in New Zealand

  1. Strongly Declining Religiosity on many indicators
  2. Increasing Agreement that “Most people can be trusted”
  3. Generally Increasing Support for the Environment and Related Issues
  4. Increasing Social Tolerance
  5. Decline in Active Membership in Certain Types of Voluntary Organisations
  6. Increasing Support for Gender Equality
  7. Increasing Value Placed on the Treaty of Waitangi
  8. Confidence in Certain Institutions
  9. For future society, increasing support for it being a good thing if there was less importance placed on work in our lives
  10. Declines in use of Traditional Sources of News about country and world
  11. A modest leftward shift politically
  12. Increase in support for tighter government regulation of big companies and multinationals
  13. Decline in blaming the individual for their poverty.
  14. Decline in willingness to fight for your country, in case of war.

New Zealanders are showing increasing social tolerance, illustrated by responses to queries about having, as neighbours;

  • Homosexuals
  • People with Aids
  • People who are Emotionally Unstable
  • Maori
  • Pacifica
  • People Speaking a Different Language

And on morality issues; 

  • Homosexuality
  • Abortion
  • Divorce
  • Suicide
  • Prostitution 
  • Pre-Marital Sex 
  • Euthanasia

New Zealanders are depicted as being almost Scandinavian in their perspective, distanced from most of our APEC partners, and to a lesser extent Australia and the United Kingdom, as indicated in the Cultural Map 2020. Perhaps it is because we think and see things from nearly a Scandinavian point of view that New Zealand rates closely to that high performing cohort in many of the international surveys where trust and integrity underpin the aspired outcome.