There are a few interesting points in the Readers Digest annual survey on trust. The first is that it only samples 500 people which is about half the number you want for a robust poll. So the survey isn’t all that trustworthy.
But let’s assume it is, in which case the most trustworthy person in the country is VC winner Willy Apiata which is a strange call since his job is to sneak around killing people. Number 2 on the list is Kevin Milne from Fair Go – impressive for a consumer affairs journalist since reporters rank as one of the least trusted professions.
The two least trusted people on the list are Sir Roger Douglas and Hone Harawira, who of all our MPs are the most likely to be honest and upfront about their beliefs. Lockwood Smith, the Speaker who has done the most for open and transparent government of any politician in a generation is ranked just behind Eric Watson, a guy who personally destroyed the life-savings of tens of thousands of New Zealanders. People trust Roger Hall more than they trust Sir Paul Callaghan or Sir Peter Gluckman – which makes me suspect many people doing the survey didn’t know who many of the people on it were and just ranked them randomly in the middle.
The results for most trusted professions are also a bit weird. Scientists are a long way down the list. People trust the armed forces more than judges even though the military lies to us as a matter of routine. As usual teachers are very high on the list – it always amuses me to see various pundits on the right railing against teachers or calling on the government to smash their union.
Also strange to see fast-food servers as one of the least trusted professions in the country. I’ve eaten my share of pizzas and burgers and I don’t think any of the kids slaving away behind the counter has ever betrayed me or lied to me – unlike plumbers, mechanics and other tradespeople which are in the mid-range of the list. Surely these are the least trustworthy people in the country?
As the survey notes, Sex-workers are the third least trusted profession with tele-marketers coming dead last. While you might have moral issues about what these people do they’re not really untrustworthy – the whole thing is really a measure of vague, inarticulate prejudice rather than trust.