New Zealand Embassy Manila, The Philippines

Asia is important to New Zealanders

A recent survey shows that four out of five New Zealanders see the Asian region as important to New Zealand’s future.

The latest Perceptions of Asia survey was conducted by the independent survey organisation Colmar Brunton in August and September 2009, on behalf of the Asia New Zealand Foundation. The results have just been released.

In this latest survey 81% of New Zealanders said they saw the Asian region as important to New Zealand’s future, with half of those seeing it as very important. This has increased from the 75% figure in the same survey in 2008. Only Australia with 89% rates as being more important to New Zealand’s future than Asia. More New Zealanders now think that free trade agreements will have a positive impact on the country’s future: 78% compared with 74% in 2008.

Asia New Zealand Foundation executive director Dr Richard Grant says it is a sign of New Zealand’s increasing interdependence with the region that more and more New Zealanders recognise the importance of free trade agreements to this country’s economic performance.

“In this survey we asked questions directly relevant to the recession — recognising that, internationally, anti-immigration rhetoric and prejudice increases during times of economic crises,” Dr Grant said.
The survey asked respondents to think about New Zealand in the next 10 to 20 years and to indicate how much of a positive or negative impact various factors will have on New Zealand.

Things that New Zealanders are generally most optimistic about include:

  • Asian tourism in New Zealand (91% see a positive future impact)
  • Asia as an export market (90%)
  • economic growth of the Asian region (80%)
  • free trade agreements between New Zealand and Asian countries (78%)
  • Asia as a tourist destination for New Zealanders (74%).

The Asia New Zealand Foundation is a non-partisan, non-profit organisation that is New Zealand’s leading non-governmental authority on Asia. The full Perceptions of Asia survey is available here.

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