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New Zealand: Online Security in the Age of Remote Working

A survey report indicates a growing preference for remote work in New Zealand, with many expressing a desire to replace their daily office commute with a virtual login from home.

For its annual Internet Insights report, InternetNZ surveyed 1,001 New Zealanders aged 18 and above. InternetNZ is the home and guardian of the .nz domain that has the vision to create an internet that is open, secure and for everyone in New Zealand.

Around 60% of individuals were employed in positions that allowed for remote work, and nearly 78% of them worked either partially or fully from home. While this represented a slight decrease from the previous year’s figure of 83%, over half of those surveyed (54%) who had the option to work remotely expressed a desire to do so more frequently.

According to the report, those who had little to no experience with remote work were the most enthusiastic about increasing their frequency of working from home. About half of New Zealanders cited being required to stay in the office for specific hours as a hindrance to working from home more frequently.

The survey found that a net 53% of individuals who had the option to work remotely would consider relocating to a more affordable location with a better quality of life while maintaining their current job. This represents a notable increase from the previous year’s figure of a net 45%.

Vivien Maidaborn, CEO of InternetNZ, said this was food for thought and could stimulate a productive conversation among employers. “This is evolving into a more employee-driven programme. I think it asks companies how to respond culturally, how to respond to make it a positive for productivity and teamwork.”

The survey revealed that compared to the previous year, there was a significant increase in the number of respondents who believed that their workplace culture had improved as a result of more employees working from home. A net 30% of respondents expressed this belief, compared to only 19% in the previous year.

Nonetheless, people have become increasingly concerned about online security. More than half of those who utilised their personal information on the internet were extremely or very concerned about the safety of their data. Online crime, personal data security, cyberbullying, and privacy risks were also among the top worries expressed by respondents.

“There is an overall trend to believe the internet is slightly less beneficial than they believed last year,” concludes Vivien Maidaborn.

The survey found that older New Zealanders, women, and Pacific Islanders tend to be more apprehensive about the most commonly reported issues with the internet than the average New Zealander.

About 74% of respondents were highly apprehensive about children accessing unsuitable material online. In the previous year, 65% of respondents decided not to utilise an online service due to security or privacy concerns. Respondents were substantially more inclined than last year to be highly concerned about individuals being socially or physically alienated from one another, at 19% versus 15%.

It appears that New Zealanders are developing a more mature perspective on the internet, recognising both its benefits and potential risks, and striving to find a balance between the two.

From a connectivity point of view, the proportion of New Zealanders with a fibre connection at home rose to 64% in 2022, up 2% from 2021. OpenGov Asia reported that the government has completed the Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) project, providing over 1.8 million homes in 412 cities and towns with access to high-quality broadband, covering 87% of the population, according to David Clark, the Minister of Digital Economy and Communications.

The UFB initiative, which began in major cities, now covers rural areas with populations under 300. Combined with other government connectivity programs, the initiative aims to provide 99.8% of the population with improved broadband access by the end of 2023.


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