An increasing number of people consider Asia is important to New Zealand's future and support free trade agreements with Asian countries, a survey released today shows.
The Asia New Zealand Foundation survey, carried out by Colmar Brunton, shows 81 percent see the Asian region as important to New Zealand's future and of those 40 percent consider it to be very important.
That is an increase since 2008, when 75 percent viewed the Asian region as important.
Also compared with 2008, more New Zealanders now think free trade agreements will have a positive impact, up from 74 percent to 78 percent.
Those who think imports from Asia will have a positive impact on New Zealand's future increased from 58 percent to 63 percent.
Foundation executive director Richard Grant said it was a sign of New Zealand's increasing interdependence with the region.
"In this survey we asked questions directly relevant to the recession, recognising that, internationally, anti-immigration rhetoric and prejudice increases during times of economic crisis," Dr Grant said.
The survey asked respondents to think about New Zealand in the next 10 to 20 years and to indicate how much of a positive or negative impact various factors would have on the country.
Those asked were generally optimistic about Asian tourism, Asia as an export market, economic growth in the Asian region, free trade agreements, and Asia as a tourist destination for New Zealanders.
The survey also showed that when asked about Asia, most New Zealanders think of China and Japan.
However, the proportion who specified a country other than China or Japan increased from 23 percent to 33 percent.