Tracking New Zealanders' Environmental Perceptions: A Comparison of Responses from Two Survey Approaches

By Maneerat Suthanthangjai, Kevin Moore, Gary Steel and Kenneth F.D. Hughey.

Published by The International Journal of Science in Society

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Article: Electronic $US5.00

By 2010, the Hughey et al. biennial “Public perceptions of New Zealand’s Environment” survey had run for a decade. Their survey, built around the PSR (Pressure-State-Response) model of environmental reporting, involved randomly sampling a unique set of 2000 people, aged 18 years and over, from the New Zealand Electoral Roll every two years. Questions have arisen in the literature about how responses and trends from such quasi-panels might differ from ongoing, cohort-based surveying. In the research reported here, we aimed to understand factors underpinning individuals’ perceptions of the state of the New Zealand environment, and to investigate what might have given rise to changes, if any, in these perceptions. In order to achieve these aims, respondents from the 2000, 2004 and 2008 biennial surveys were re-sampled and re-surveyed in 2011. Analyses revealed some changes in respondents’ perceptions over an extended period of time, but these changes were not statistically significant. This finding indicates that people’s responses are, in general, consistent over time, which suggests that some environmental perceptions can be resistant to information and events. The results also help legitimate Hughey et al.’s choice of a randomised longitudinal survey over a panel-based, longitudinal survey. Implications and limitations of the findings are discussed.

Keywords: Environment, Perceptions, Pressure-State Response, New Zealand

The International Journal of Science in Society, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp.25-40. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 496.425KB).

Maneerat Suthanthangjai

PhD Candidate, Faculty of Environment, Society, and Design, Lincoln University, Lincoln, Canterbury, New Zealand

Maneerat earned her Bachelor degree in Environmental Studies and her Master degree in Environmental Science from Australia and from the UK. Her main interest in science and society was developed during her 9 years of work experience at the Thailand Environmental Institute and at Loei Rajabhat University, where participatory research has always been the key approach. She is currently a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Environment, Society and Design at Lincoln University, New Zealand.

Dr Kevin Moore

Senior Lecturer, Department of Social Science, Parks, Recreation, Tourism, and Sport, Lincoln University, Lincoln, Canterbury, New Zealand

Senior Lecturer, Department of Social Science, Parks, Recreation, Tourism, and Sport, Lincoln University, New Zealand

Dr Gary Steel

Senior Lecturer, Department of Social Science, Parks, Recreation, Tourism and Sport, Lincoln University, Lincoln, Canterbury, New Zealand

Senior Lecturer, Department of Social Science, Parks, Recreation, Tourism, and Sport, Lincoln University, New Zealand

Prof. Kenneth F.D. Hughey

Professor, Department of environmental management, Lincoln University, Lincoln, Canterbury, New Zealand

Professor, Department of Environmental Management, Lincoln University, New Zealand