Nelson the happiest region, Auckland unhappiest, Stuff NowNext survey finds

The latest Stuff NowNext poll looked at what's happening in our regions.


The latest Stuff NowNext poll looked at what’s happening in our regions.

According to Stuff’s NowNext Local poll, Nelson and Hawke’s Bay are the happiest regions in Aotearoa, while Auckland is the unhappiest.

Over 5,500 people from across the country took part in the survey, which was conducted August 12-28. Data were weighted to reflect nationally representative samples for gender, age, and region.

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National dissatisfaction with life was found to be on the rise, with 20% of respondents saying they were unhappy – an almost double increase since June.

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The cost of living crisis, housing affordability, access to good health care and climate change were cited as the main reasons for discontent across the country.

Rising crime and complaints about the government were also common.

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Nelson is the happiest region in Aotearoa, with 64% reporting satisfaction with life.  (file photo)


Nelson is the happiest region in Aotearoa, with 64% reporting satisfaction with life. (file photo)

Happiness increases with age

The survey found that happiness is related to age.

Nationally, only 44% of 18-34 year olds consider themselves happy, compared to 67% of those over 75.

The cost of living is the main cause of stress and dissatisfaction. 67% of 18-34 year olds express concern, compared to 47% of Kiwis aged 75 and over.

Inflation is at 7.3%, the highest rate in 32 years.

“It was really a fight. We’re coming out of college as young graduates and we’re faced with a reality where bills, living expenses and everything is a lot more expensive than it’s been in recent years,” said 18-year-old Auckland supermarket worker Hope Makiri-Henning Things this month.

Covid-19 and climate change were also major issues in dissatisfaction among young New Zealanders, while older New Zealanders were more concerned about access to good health care than anything else.

The survey found that older New Zealanders tend to be more concerned about access to good health care.


The survey found that older New Zealanders tend to be more concerned about access to good health care.

Kiwis have trust issues with politicians

Despite a high rate (79%) of New Zealanders intending to vote in the upcoming local elections, Kiwis have trust issues when it comes to local politicians and MPs.

Just 19% of respondents said they trust their local MP – well below lawyers (39%) and dairy owners (52%).

Forty-one percent believe that local government candidates have no contact with ordinary New Zealanders.

This proportion is lower among 18-34 year olds and Māori, with 41% and 44% respectively saying they do not trust local politicians.

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Nelson: Happiness Capital of Aotearoa

Overall, 64% of Nelson respondents said they were happy, compared to 49% nationally.

Nelson residents were also less likely (11%) to leave the region within the next five years – less than half the national average (24%).

Nelson residents are also significantly more concerned about climate change (53%) than the rest of the country (34%).

Concerns about racism and discrimination are low on the radar in the Upper South, ranking at 9% in Nelson versus 17% in the rest of New Zealand.

The district and its neighbor Tasman are undecided about merging the two districts, with 43% of people from both regions wanting them to be merged, 42% wanting to keep them separate and 14% are unsure.

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