Social cohesion refers to the willingness of diverse individuals and groups to trust and cooperate with each other in the interests of all, supported by shared intercultural norms and values.
New Zealanders largely have a high degree of trust in each other and our institutions. This engenders a spirit of reciprocity and supports a strong sense of community and civic engagement. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's (OECD's) Better Life Index reports that 96 percent of New Zealanders believe they know someone they could rely on in a time of need, higher than the OECD average of 89 percent. Our voter turnout was 80 percent in the 2020 general election, also higher than the OECD average of 68 percent.
Recent surveys show that New Zealanders' trust in government and the public service is high and has risen overall in recent years. Globally, most OECD countries experienced a decline in public trust between 2007 and 2020, but New Zealand had the opposite. The percentage of New Zealanders that have “a reasonable amount” or “a great deal” of trust in the government to do what is right for New Zealand rose from 46.5 percent in 2016 to 73.9 percent in 2021. General trust in medical practitioners, police, courts, schools and small businesses, local government and Government ministers rose significantly between 2016 and 2021, while trust in churches has stayed relatively constant.