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New Zealand, like the rest of the Western world, is in the grip of populism as anti-establishment sentiment rises

Summarised by Centrist

Kiwis from across the political spectrum are angry at the establishment. They’re not alone. Populism is on the rise around the Western world as people everywhere are losing faith in their countries’ respective institutions. 

A recent survey conducted by IPSOS showed significant levels of populist discontent in New Zealand. Two-thirds of respondents believed that the economy favours the rich and powerful. 

In particular, lower-income groups and Māori expressed a strong desire for a leader to challenge the establishment. 

The findings suggest growing distrust in political and economic elites amid concerns about societal decline and a broken system. 

While both left and right voters express anti-establishment sentiments, there are nuanced differences in their perspectives. 

According to political commentator Bryce Edwards: 

“Leftwing respondents were more likely to agree with the statements that suggest the country is being run by the wealthy, and that working people are being disenfranchised and exploited. Rightwing voters, by contrast, were more likely to agree with the need for a “strong leader willing to break the rules.”

Despite calls for increased government spending in key areas like healthcare and education, there is reluctance to support higher taxes. 

The survey also revealed low levels of anti-immigration sentiment amongst Kiwis when compared to global trends. 

Overall, Edwards said the survey should be viewed by politicians as a warning sign of discontent and a desire for change among New Zealanders.

Read more over at Democracy Project

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