The New Zealand report sponsored by the communications company Acumen, which drew on 1150 respondents last December, showed trust in business fell even more – by four points to 47 percent measured against the previous year.
Media is the least trusted of the four institutions measured, tumbling nine points from an already low 38 percent to just 29 percent.
However, Government showed a five percent increase to 46 percent.
New Zealanders are generally more content with their lot compared with other countries measured but, even so, 47 percent believe the system is failing them (against 53 percent globally).
One third of Kiwis are uncertain and 22 percent believe it is not at all true that the system is failing (15 percent globally).
The findings were based on four measures – sense of injustice, lack of hope, lack of confidence and desire for change.
It is such sentiments that are widely seen to have driven the surprise election of Donald Trump as US President.
The findings also show that facts matter less and bias is the filter.
Twenty eight percent say they would support politicians they trust to make things better for them and their families, even if they exaggerated the truth.
Half would rarely, if ever, change their position on important social issues.
Just over half do not regularly listen to people or organisations with whom they often disagree and they are four times more likely to ignore information that supports a position they do not believe in.
These changing attitudes present a challenge for all institutions.
In the case of seafood, the New Zealand industry is widely acknowledged internationally as being world leading in sustainability and innovation.
But the truth may not be the public perception.
It is becoming increasingly obvious glossy PR campaigns do not resonate.
Messaging has to be long term and it has to be credible.
Fronting up to shortcomings is the only way to regain trust.
Facts and science matter less – arguments are won through sentiment, through “heart and soul”.
Being genuine is paramount, even if that is flawed.
The New Zealand seafood industry has a great story to tell and it has thousands of advocates.
They are the “real people” out there on the water and on land every day catching and harvesting healthy food.
You can expect to see and hear more of them in coming months.