Australia Talks National Survey reveals the country we most want to move to
By Annabel Crabb
New Zealand is the country that appeals to the largest number of Australians.
Most Australians think their own country is the best place in the world. If push came to shove though, we’d move to New Zealand.
The land of the long white cloud is regularly invoked as an option for the politically despairing; in the days after Scott Morrison’s unscheduled victory in May, Australian traffic to the Immigration New Zealand website spiked at 10 times its usual levels.
But even in times of relative political calm, New Zealand is — according to the Australia Talks National Survey — by far our preferred plan B.
When asked which country they’d most like to emigrate to, 28 per cent of respondents opted for Kiwification, with Canada a clear second on 15 per cent. England was selected by 8 per cent, while only 6 per cent professed themselves happy to break free of the Commonwealth entirely … for a move to the United States.
The leading field of New Zealand, Canada, England and America tends to suggest that Australians who grew up in an English-speaking, majority Anglo-Saxon country would feel most comfortable opting for more of the same.
Among non-white Australians, however, Canada edged out New Zealand 20 per cent to 19 per cent. Possibly this development has to do with the politics of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau — or at least Mr Trudeau before his recent blackface scandal.
There are, however, deeper and more mysterious variables, which can be measured thanks to the Australia Talks dataset’s near-endless capacity for cross-matching.
It tells us, for example, that the only group of voters for whom New Zealand is not the most popular alternate home is those who plumped for One Nation at the last election.
They’d prefer to move to America; 17 per cent chose the home of Donald Trump, gun rights and free speech, while just 14 per cent were prepared to countenance being governed by Jacinda Ardern.
One Nation voters would most like to move to the United States, home of Donald Trump, guns and free speech.
The more progressive your politics, the lower your income, and the older you are, the more likely you are to favour New Zealand. Of respondents aged 75 and over, 41 per cent opted for a quick trip across the Tasman over the more gruelling relocations on offer.
Startlingly, respondents were also more likely to back New Zealand if they habitually got more than 7 hours of sleep a night. Well-rested Australians opted for New Zealand 31 per cent of the time.
But of those keeping Kevin Rudd hours — six hours or fewer a night — only 24 per cent felt the same way.
People who were prepared to share a nude photo of themselves were also discernibly less keen on New Zealand (21 per cent, as opposed to 30 per cent) than their more prudish countryfolk; the sexters were more likely to fancy relocation to the US.
And — remarkably, given New Zealand’s notoriously rugged beauty — regular use of Instagram rendered respondents noticeably less inclined to move there.
Who do we trust?
The Australia Talks National Survey has also coughed up some fascinating revelations about how closely the sentiments of the population stack up against the diplomatic posture of the Australian Government.
Respondents were asked to what degree they trusted various named countries “to act responsibly in the world”.
Once again, New Zealand topped the charts.
Only 5 per cent of respondents had any sort of reservations about the international bona fides of the Kiwis, and only 1 per cent didn’t trust New Zealand “at all”, which is probably just professional rugby players with a grudge, or possibly Alan Jones.
Sixty four per cent trusted New Zealand “a lot”. Another 31 per cent “somewhat” trusted our neighbour to do the right thing by the world.
New Zealand is so trusted, in fact, that significant numbers of Australians trust the Kiwis more than they do Australia.
Progressive voters are more likely to want to move to New Zealand. Is Jacinda Ardern the reason?
Only 36 per cent trusted Australia “a lot” to do the right thing in the world. Another 47 per cent only “somewhat” trusted their own country.
It was a different story entirely, however, when respondents were asked about our largest ally, the United States.
About a quarter — 26 per cent — said they didn’t trust America “at all”.
Views differed significantly according to political allegiance, however.
For instance, One Nation voters did trust the United States — 31 per cent “a lot” and 35 per cent “somewhat”.
(In other news, 25 per cent of One Nation voters also thought Russia was a safe bet. Other voters did not share their confidence.)
Barely anyone trusted North Korea, unsurprisingly, and Iran likewise inspired subdued levels of confidence in the population at large.
In our own region, however, confidence was also not high in our largest and most significant neighbours and trading partners.
When asked about China, 85 per cent of respondents said they didn’t trust the superpower to do the right thing. Indonesia was held in similar suspicion, with 80 per cent expressing distrust.
Chinese-born Australians were a little more charitable towards their birthplace — only 64 per cent of them distrusted China — but on the whole, the news for Australian diplomats is grim.
In a complicated world, our plucky little nation is obliged to pick its way between two giants — the United States and China — and the majority of Australians trusts neither of them.
No wonder we’re moving to New Zealand.