Poll: Majority favour lifting all Covid restrictions soon

Thirty-five per cent of Kiwis are in favour of lifting all Covid-19 restrictions now, and 30% want all Covid-19 restrictions lifted after the current wave of infections has peaked, the latest 1News Kantar Public Poll showed.

Thirty per cent did not want restrictions lifted.

Epidemiologist Michael Baker says it's not the time to be cutting back on restrictions despite case numbers trending down.

"We've just had our most lethal week recently for Covid-19.

"We're definitely on the downhill run (for infections), but we don't know obviously what level we'll get down to."

Those polled were asked: Is it time to lift all Covid-19 restrictions?

The 1News Kantar Public Poll showed 35% were in favour of lifting all Covid-19 restrictions now, and 30% wanted all Covid-19 restrictions lifted but only after the current wave of infections has peaked.

Thirty per cent answered no, and 5% didn't know or refused to answer.

The groups of eligible voters who were more likely than average (35%) to want all restrictions lifted now include ACT Party supporters (57%), National Party supporters (50%), men aged 18-34 (46%) and those with a household income of more than $100,000 (44%).

Those who were more likely than average (30%) to want all restrictions lifted after the current wave of infections has peaked include Asian New Zealanders (42%) and Labour Party supporters (38%).

And those who are more likely than average (30%) not to want all restrictions lifted include Green Party supporters (49%), Labour Party supporters (45%), Wellingtonians (42%) and women aged 55 or older (39%).

Baker said that "when people hear Covid restrictions, many will interpret that quite differently", depending on whether they include isolation requirements and vaccine mandates in certain workforces alongside mask requirements.

New Zealand is currently at the Orange setting of the Covid-19 Protection Framework.

Life at Orange means New Zealanders must wear a face mask in many indoor locations, including retail stores, but not in hospitality venues and there are no capacity limits or distancing requirements. If you have Covid-19, you currently need to isolate for at least seven days, and household contacts must isolate for seven days and get tested.

"I'd interpret that as saying, the majority of people want Covid restrictions while there is still a lot of Covid in the community," Baker said of the poll results. "I think they need to be retained. But I would have said they should be reviewed if numbers get down to a stable and low rate, then we could review which restrictions are still needed."

He said the requirement for people with Covid-19 to isolate should remain in place long-term, and he would support Covid-19 vaccine mandates remaining in place in healthcare settings long-term, but mask use in low-risk settings could drop off at a certain point.

READ MORE: NZ staying at Orange amid 'significant pressure on hospitals'

"We've just had our most lethal week recently for Covid-19, it was causing 15% of deaths in New Zealand, so it's not the time that you'd be wanting to cut back, but I think there will be a point in the next one to two months when we should review mainly mask restrictions.

"We're all over the pandemic, all of us, we all want it to go away, but you can't wish it away.

"That spread of opinions is interesting, and assuming people were interpreting the question in similar kinds of ways, I think it does reflect that for some groups in New Zealand, the pandemic is much more worrying than for others.

"That's an element of the pandemic, that it affects people differently."

Between July 30 and August 3, 2022, 1023 eligible voters were polled by mobile phone (504) and online, using online panels (519). The maximum sampling error is approximately ±3.1%-points at the 95% confidence level. The data has been weighted to align with Stats NZ population counts for age, gender, region, education level and ethnic identification. The sample for mobile phones is selected by random dialling using probability sampling, and the online sample is collected using an online panel.


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