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New Zealanders happy to download COVID tracing app - survey

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

An Ipsos survey has revealed that of the 94% of New Zealanders with a smartphone, 62% say they are likely to download a contact tracing app to aid the tracking of virus transmission, significantly higher than in Australia where the level is just 45%.

Some 20% of smartphone-using New Zealanders felt they were unlikely to download a tracing app, compared to 32% of Australians.

The Ipsos survey was conducted from 24 to 27 April online among 1,017 New Zealanders, of whom 953 owned a smartphone. These smartphone owners were asked for their likelihood of downloading a Government mobile phone app that helped trace their contact with others to aid the tracking of potential virus transmission.

The main reason New Zealanders would not download such an app was privacy concerns at 62%, followed by concerns around the accuracy of such apps (28%), how much data the app might use (19%), and not having enough space on their phone (19%).

Almost a quarter (24%) of those reluctant to download such an App felt it would be unnecessary as their behaviour would keep them safe from infection.

Ipsos New Zealand Director, Carin Hercock, said: "Our research suggests that many New Zealanders are open to the idea of downloading a COVID tracking app to help us maintain the excellent progress we have made in containing the virus. However, breaking down the results further we see that 36% are very likely to download the app and this number will probably be closer to the number who will proactively do this, others (26%) will need encouragement or reminders to do so. Of the groups who are unsure or less likely (32%) some barriers will need to be addressed."

Also apparent in the survey was how income disparity will affect people’s ability to download the app and participate in the tracking programme.

Results showed that 10% of low-income people do not have a smartphone, compared to 2% of high-income people. Similarly, 10% of those aged 50-74 years did not have a smartphone compared to just 3% of those aged 18-35 years.

Of smart phone owners living in low income households 29% were very likely to download the app compared with 45% living in high income households and 20% of retirees were very unlikely to download the app compared with 11% of the population.

Commenting on these findings, Ipsos New Zealand Director of Public Affairs, Amanda Dudding said: "The potential difference of uptake across these different groups means it will be important to consider that there is a focus on addressing these barriers or alternative contact tracing methods are available for more vulnerable New Zealanders."

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