27 November 2007
Hamilton residents have very high quality of life and the city's economy is performing steadily in an environment of rapid population growth, according to a new report.
The 2007 Quality of Life report, released by the Metropolitan Sector Group today, provides a comprehensive assessment of the quality of life in 12 New Zealand cities, as part of a multi-council initiative.
The report showed 91% of Hamilton residents rated their quality of life as either good or extremely good. The average for all 12 cities was 90%. In addition, 87% of residents rated themselves happy or very happy, and 84% said they were satisfied or very satisfied with their lives. Hamilton's population grew by 12.5% during 2001-2006, compared with a national growth rate of 7.8%. The population is projected to grow by a further 34.2% over the period 2006-2026.
The city's population is diverse, with a high proportion of Maori residents and Maori language speakers, strong growth in the Pacific Islands community, as well as growth in new migrants especially from South Africa.
The city experienced GDP growth of 3.4% and per capita GDP growth of 2.3% during the period 2001-2006. Both results were below the national average.
The number of filled jobs in the city jumped by 31.8% from 54,740 to 72,150 during the period 2001-2006 – the third-highest rate of job growth out of the 12 cities. The number of economically viable new businesses increased by 23.9% over the period 2002-2006. There was also strong growth in tourism guest nights.
Hamilton residents were also more positive about their local council than residents of most other cities and the city had the safest roads of any of the 12 cities measured.
On the subject of roads and transport, 82% of Hamilton residents surveyed felt that public transport was safe, compared with 73% nationally who felt this same way and Hamilton residents were significantly more likely to consider public transport to be convenient (72% compared with 55% considering this at a nationwide level). Additionally 11% of Hamilton residents reported using public transport two or more times a week, which is a significant increase from the previous 2003 report which found only 5% of Hamilton residents used public transport two or more times a week.
Hamilton mayor Bob Simcock said that the report reflected positively on the city's progress over recent years.
"It's always good to see what we already know backed up by robust research. The vast majority of residents are happy with their quality of life and have a high level of confidence in Council decision-making. The increase in bed-nights demonstrates the success of the major events strategy and focus being put into attracting the conference and convention markets, as we deliver more and more reasons for visitors and corporates to come to the city."
Mr Simcock said that the fact that 69% of residents were proud of the look and feel of the city was pleasing, but reflected the fact that the city still had opportunity to improve.
"Hamilton's City Heart revitalisation project commencing this month has the specific aim of regenerating our city's focal points into areas that are vibrant, distinctive and unique, and providing a sense of connectedness and belonging for all residents. This important investment in our city should see this attribute improve measurably over the coming years."
The Quality of Life project started with six councils in 1999 and has since expanded to 12 territorial local authorities, including: Rodney; North Shore; Waitakere; Auckland; Manukau; Hamilton; Tauranga; Porirua; Hutt; Wellington; Christchurch; and Dunedin.
The project aims to give decision-makers information to help them improve the quality of life in major New Zealand urban areas.
Project sponsor Jim Harland said the report highlighted the need for action to plan for long-term growth, improve access to services and promote economic and environmental sustainability.
A full copy of the report is available on www.qualityoflifeproject.govt.nz from 1pm.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Name: Bob Simcock
Designation: Hamilton Mayor
Tel (Direct): 07 838 6976
Mobile: 021 991 071
Name: Pippa Berry-Cope
Designation: Policy Analyst
Tel (Direct): 07 958 5884
Name: Sarah Bettle
Designation: Communication Manager
Tel (Direct): 07 838 6843
Mobile: 021 2792338