Hamilton residents rate the city and Council at new high


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22 February 2007

Release of two significant surveys have returned the highest ever satisfaction levels for Hamilton city and Council across a range of areas.

The national Quality of Life Survey (QLS) and the local Residents Survey (RS) show that Hamiltonians enjoy a high quality of life and have high satisfaction with many aspects for their city and Council.

The 2006 QLS shows that 91 per cent of respondents say their quality of life is either good or extremely good. This result is up from 2004 when 89% of Hamilton residents respondent similarly to the same question.

The results also show that Hamilton residents' confidence in Council decision-making has increased significantly. When surveyed in 2004, 41 per cent of Hamilton residents said that they either agreed or strongly agreed that they had confidence in Council's decision-making processes. This year that number has climbed to 67 per cent. This figure is also significantly higher than the average of the other 12 councils surveyed at 42 per cent.

In parallel to the QLS results, the first of the now-quarterly RS commissioned by Hamilton City Council shows the highest ever satisfaction levels across a range of areas in the 16 years that the survey has been conducted.

The biggest source of satisfaction has been with Hamilton as a place to live which has increased from 81.6 per cent to 83.4 per cent, the highest score ever recorded for this question. Satisfaction with Elected Members and the overall performance of Council also achieved all-time high scores, increasing by 5.2 and 2.2 per cent respectively.

Results show an overall increase in satisfaction across a wide range of areas as shown by the table below:

2004​ 2005​ 2006​  Q Sept/ Q Dec 2006​
Hamilton as a place to live​ 81.6​ 82.8​ 81.6​ 83.4​
Elected members​ 57.8​ 74.4​ 73.7​ 78.9​
Overall performance of Council​ 68.5​ 76.5​ 76.2​ 78.4​
Council staff​ 72.9​ 78.7​ 79.5​ 79.4​
Value for rates​ 66.8​ 70.8​ 69.5​ 71.1​
Quality of Council facilities and services in the past year ​ 71.8​ 72.5​ 71.1​ 75.3​

Hamilton mayor Michael Redman says that the results from both surveys are extremely pleasing as they reinforce the messages coming directly from the community and indicate that Hamilton is a high performing city by national standards.

"The clear consistency between the results of both surveys is very encouraging as they show that on both a local and national level, Hamiltonians have a strong enjoyment of and confidence in their city.

"There is no doubt that many Hamilton residents are enjoying a continuously improving quality of life. Council has worked diligently over the last three years to implement significant initiatives that impact on the well-being of Hamilton residents in tangible ways and it's great to see the community is feeling positive about their experiences of the city as it continues to mature.

"Council's cohesive and united approach has accelerated progress on major projects and increased ratepayers' faith in Council's ability to make the right decisions and deliver on its commitments. Both survey results show that Hamiltonians recognise this."

Traffic and transport infrastructure was a key theme of both the QLS and RS. The RS featured the inclusion of a special interest subject comprising a series of topical questions focussed on traffic congestion and the priority of potential solutions.

In the RS, traffic and transport infrastructure have consistently been ranked for the past few years among the most important issues that Council should be looking at. Roads Infrastructure and Traffic Congestion were the two most commonly mentioned issues respectively but each experienced a significant decrease in mention. Mention of Roads decreased by 14 per cent to 22.3 while Traffic decreased by 5 per cent to 21.4. Public Transport as an issue also experienced a decrease of 2.5 per cent.

Similarly, the QLS showed that Hamilton rated its transport offering highly with 86 per cent of residents believing it was easy to access public transport, compared to 67 per cent for the New Zealand average. Additionally, 82 per cent of Hamilton respondents rated public transport as safe (compared to 73 per cent for the NZ average) and they gave high scores for its convenience (72 per cent) and affordability (69 per cent).

Mr Redman says the survey results show that Council's aggressive programme of work to improve transport infrastructure in the city is yielding positive results.

"Transport strategy continues to be a critical driver of the future-proofing of city infrastructure so it's great to see that residents are responding positively to the works that have already been undertaken and those that are planned."

The QLS and RS did provide solid information on those issues that residents wished to see improvement.

In the RS, outcome of noise complaint was one area that experienced a negative shift with a 10.8 decrease in satisfaction to 69.6. Interestingly though, the handling of noise complaints saw a positive shift of 4.2 per cent increase in satisfaction to 83 percent placing it in the Exceptional performance category.

The QLS also showed that Hamilton residents are concerned about the presence of graffiti in the city with 66 per cent of respondents saying they felt it was a problem (compared to 70 per cent for the average of the other councils).

Mr Redman says that Council has identified graffiti as a persistent issue and in the last month a graffiti task force has been formed and he was expecting an aggressive action plan to be presented to Council in the short term.

The QLS is a partnership between New Zealand's twelve largest councils and the Ministry of Social Development and is designed to provide critical information to decision-makers in order to improve the quality of life in major New Zealand urban areas. It is a national survey undertaken every two years to collect data from residents on a range of issues for which data is not readily available through other official, industry and community sources. The aim of the survey is to measure residents' perceptions of overall quality of life.

The RS is a survey commissioned quarterly by Council and surveys Hamilton residents. Last year, Council resolved to move the Annual Residents Survey from an annual to a quarterly survey. The current results are for the quarters ending September and December 2006. In each quarterly survey, a set of topical questions will be included to address current issues within the quarter.

NAME: Michael Redman
TEL (DIRECT): 0 7 838 6976
MOBILE: 021 947 365
FAX (DIRECT): 0 7 838
NAME: Naomi Reynolds
DESIGNATION: Communication Advisor
TEL (DIRECT): 0 7 838 6726
MOBILE: 027 413 3448
FAX (DIRECT): 0 7 838 6761
Page reviewed: 22 Feb 2007 12:00am