Do human values predict perceptions, attitudes & behaviours towards the New Zealand marine environment?
Human values predict perceptions, attitudes and behaviours towards the NZ marine environment. A confidential online survey (The New Zealand Marine Values Survey) was completed by 1,567 NZ citizens and residents in September and October of 2019. Respondents answered a variety of questions relating to demographic variables, PABs (perceptions, attitudes and behaviours) towards the NZ marine environment, and psychographic variables. Human values (values), as conceptualised and operationalised in the Theory of Basic Human Values by social psychologist and cross-cultural researcher Shalom H. Schwartz, have been demonstrated to be universal in nature and capable of predicting a range of PABs. Respondents’ prioritisation of values were measured using the latest Portrait Values Questionnaire (PVQ-RR). Statistical analysis identified many significant (p < .01) relationships between values and variables of interest, including the New Ecological Paradigm (NEP) and a variety of PAB scales created in undertaking this research. Values explained between 24.6% and 57.2% of the variance seen in 14 scales, with each of the 19 value domains proving to be of some significance (p < .01) in the regression analyses performed. Universalism values were prominent in many of the analyses and often exhibited negative relationships with Conservation values. Findings provided mixed support for the Value Belief Norm (VBN) theory, which postulates a causal chain between values, worldviews, norms, and behaviour. Benevolence values, despite being prioritised strongly by the sample population as a whole, explained little of the variance seen in PABs towards the NZ marine environment and were an unexpected negative predictor of the NEP. This research provides an overview of how individuals, from a large sample of New Zealanders with an interest in the marine environment, prioritise human values and how these values are likely to inform PABs towards the NZ marine environment. This research should provide valuable insights to any individual or organisation hoping to engage with stakeholders in the NZ marine environment in a more meaningful and effective manner —especially those confronted with social barriers to change.