A large number of Kiwi adults have admitted to lying, cheating and stealing, figures in a new Colmar Brunton survey show.
Of those surveyed, 81% of adult respondents admitted to cheating of some kind, including 36% cheating in a relationship and 22% at work.
Comparative figures show that 92% of young people are self-confessed cheats.
Colmar Brunton's Spencer Willis said that the survey also showed that not only are adults cheating on their partners, but they are lying to them too.
Willis said that half of those surveyed admitted telling a lie to their partner in the last month, with almost three-quarters saying they felt guilty about it.
However, 84% said that the lies told were justified.
Lying to avoid hurting someone's feelings was the most excusable lie, with only 7% of people saying this is never acceptable.
In comparison, only 12% of people thought it was acceptable to lie to a spouse or partner about having an affair.
To top it off, a whopping 60% of adults said that they have stolen something - with almost half of those admitting the item was from a shop.
"Adults are more likely to acknowledge that many arbitrary situations constitute stealing, such as taking stationery from work, taking items home from a fast food restaurant, downloading music, and being lazy at work - whereas younger people had a more black and white view of what it means to steal.
Willis added that the results mirror what researchers had found among young New Zealanders.
"While we may not be talking big items, as any psychologist will tell you, children learn through observation and that leaves the responsibility on adults to set the right example," said Willis.
Despite admitting this bad behaviour, 91% of adults are satisfied with their personal ethics and character while admitting lying, cheating and stealing does hurt one's character.
Yet there is room for improvement, with only 57% agreeing they are better than most people they know.
Colmar Brunton interviewed 280 adults over 30-years-old during December 2012.
The survey has a maximum margin of error of plus or minus 4.4%.
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