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Young generations increasingly society's biggest worriers

Thursday 9th October 2003

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Young New Zealanders between the ages of 18 and 34 are increasingly society's biggest worriers, particularly about money, but also about time, family and work. The September TOWER/NFO Survey on 'What Worries New Zealanders' reveals more than half are particularly worried about money, an increase of 25% six months on from the first survey in March.

According to the September TOWER/NFO Worries Survey people between 18 and 34 are particularly worried about their ability to purchase their own home and their level of household debt.

TOWER Insurance's acting chief executive officer, Colin Taylor said the Worries Survey reflects the financial pressure young people are feeling today.

"Between leaving school, university, building a career, buying a first home and starting a family are some of the most exciting, but also financially challenging stages in life. The TOWER/NFO Worries Survey reflects the extent to which young New Zealanders are concerned, and potentially worried about whether they are making the right decisions," he said.

Young Aucklanders are the most worried about their ability to buy their own home, with 74% between the ages of 18 and 24 and 71% between the ages of 25 and 34 frequently worried. This compares with 64% and 29% of Wellingtonians and 50% and 29% of Cantabrians in the same age categories.

"On a positive note, the survey also revealed younger people are rising to the challenge by putting in place savings, investments and insurance plans - although they worry about money more than older generations, one in ten are doing something about it".

More than a quarter of young people are worried about their level of household debt. Compounding this concern, a third of all survey respondents believe the country is heading for an economic downturn.

"The survey also revealed younger generations are less concerned about societal issues, with people over the age of 50 more concerned about society becoming less caring, too materialistic and the increasing gap between the rich and the poor".

The bi-annual 'What Worries New Zealanders' survey conducted by NFO New Zealand is a social study of 500 New Zealanders' family, health, time, financial and social worries, which aims to reflect attitudes toward some major current issues.

Health
Compared with the March 'What Worries New Zealanders' survey, 75% of New Zealanders are worried about health related issues, particularly their family's health, an increase of 8.7%.

Almost a third of New Zealanders worry about the cost of visiting their doctor, a 19% increase from March and particularly for those living in the South Island. More than a quarter of New Zealanders worry about the availability of hospital treatment should they need it, an increase of 30% from March.

More than a quarter of New Zealanders worry about maintaining a healthy diet, and interestingly almost a third will either play sport or exercise to relax when they are worried. Asked whether the Government should introduce a 'fat tax' to help manage the issue of obesity in New Zealand, two thirds disagreed with the proposed idea.

Society
Respondents were also asked to either agree or disagree to a range of statements relating to current social issues.

More than 80% believe there is a growing drug problem in New Zealand, with 85% of respondents from the Auckland region agreeing with the statement.

Asked if violent crime is also getting out of hand 78% agree, with 81% of respondents from the Wellington region being the largest response to agree with the statement.

More than 70% of New Zealanders believe there should be a restriction on the level of foreign ownership allowed for New Zealand land, with 87% of respondents from Hamilton and 80% from the Canterbury region standing the strongest on this issue.

Sport
On the topic of sport, the survey revealed 39% of New Zealanders are most worried about England as opponents in the Rugby World Cup, set to kick off in the next week. A further 33% are most worried about Australia, followed by France on 12% and South Africa on 8%.

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