More than half of New Zealanders struggling financially, says survey

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Just over half of New Zealanders surveyed - including Pacific Islanders - reported they were financially stressed
Just over half of New Zealanders surveyed - including Pacific Islanders - reported they were financially "starting to sink" or "treading water". Image: Alicia Christin Gerald /Unsplash/RNZ Pacific

RNZ Pacific

New research shows that more than half of New Zealanders are struggling financially.

The annual survey by the Retirement Commission found the number of people in financial difficulty increased by 17 percent since their first survey in 2021.

A total of 55 percent reported being in a financially difficult position – including many Pacific Islanders.

Of those surveyed, 51 percent reported they were “starting to sink” or “treading water”, while a further 3.5 percent reported they were “sinking badly”.

Personal Finance lead Tom Hartmann said women, Māori and Pacific Peoples were being hit the hardest.

The survey found 61 percent of women were financially struggling in contrast to 48 percent of men.

Sixty percent of Māori and 58 percent of Pacific Peoples also reported feeling financially stressed. Those aged 18-34 were also more likely to experience financial stress.

Hartmann said it was concerning that so many New Zealanders were feeling the pressures of cost increases.

Long-term consequences
“We have now tipped into more than half the population feeling squeezed financially. This significantly reduces people’s ability to grow their money for tomorrow, which has long-term consequences for their future financial well-being,” he said.

The survey found that more people were borrowing money, but also that more people were budgeting and saving.

It also reported that the gap was widening for women compared to men in terms of optimism, financial sentiment, personal savings and savings for retirement.

The main source of data for the information came from the Retirement Commission’s online population survey of New Zealanders aged over 18 which is run by market research agency TRA. The commission said the sample was nationally representative of New Zealand based on age, gender and region.

This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.

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