Communitrak Survey Results – SWDC Resident Satisfaction

Media Release
Satisfaction with South Wairarapa services grows

A survey of the opinions and attitudes of South Wairarapa residents has shown that they are generally more satisfied with services provided by their council than they were three years ago.

The NRB Communitrak survey of 302 people conducted by telephone in November last year measured satisfaction with council services and facilities, rates and customer service.  It also compared the council with similar local authorities in New Zealand.

Public toilets led the way with 88 percent of people very or fairly satisfied, up from 61 percent in 2010. Approval of playgrounds and recycling collection services also improved significantly.  Public libraries attracted 88 percent satisfaction, largely unchanged in the last three years. Eighty-seven percent were happy with council parks and reserves.

Satisfaction with rubbish collection and water supply both jumped more than ten percentage points to 73 percent.  Views on the quality of the water supply improved with 60 percent of respondents satisfied, up from 47 percent in 2010.  Sewerage treatment and disposal followed a similar trend with more people satisfied this time around.

Satisfaction with roads (75%), town halls (72%) transfer/recycling stations (66%), footpaths (66%) and public swimming pools (62) was similar to 2010 levels.

Residents were least satisfied with storm water drains with 27 percent not very satisfied, similar to 2010 levels.

Residents were happier with how rates are allocated than they were in 2010 with 64 percent very or fairly satisfied compared with 59% then.  Twenty-two percent were not very satisfied, down from 33 percent three years ago.

More than three quarters of people were satisfied with council’s decisions, actions and management.  Of the people who had contacted council staff in the past 12 months, 89 percent rated their overall dealings with them between very good and acceptable.

“The results show that council has continued the positive progress made in previous years,” South Wairarapa District Council chief executive Paul Crimp said.  “While the improvement in almost all areas is pleasing, we recognise that there is still more work do, particularly with regard to storm water, footpaths, sewerage and quality of water supply.”

Mr Crimp said he wasn’t surprised at several ‘hot topics’ highlighted by the survey – the Martinborough Town Hall, Featherston’s appearance and sewerage systems.  “These are all issues that council has already identified and is either addressing already or has plans to do so.”

“It was interesting that more than a third of residents were not able to give an answer about their satisfaction with sewerage services, treatment and disposal.  Upgrading these is going to be by far the council’s biggest future project and the survey has highlighted a need to more actively engage communities on this issue.”

In other results, 35 percent of residents thought South Wairarapa is a better place to live than it was three years ago.  Forty-nine percent felt it was the same and eight percent said it was worse.

The district’s residents are more prepared for an emergency than they were in 2010 with 74 percent having a household emergency kit, up from 64 percent.   More residents have internet access at home and where they work or study.

When compared with a group of similar district councils in New Zealand, South Wairarapa rated more highly on water supply provision, public toilets and rubbish collection.  It rated below its peers for footpaths, storm water, water supply quality, swimming pools, town halls and parks and reserves.

Mr Crimp said information gathered through the survey would be used in the upcoming planning for the council’s Long Term Plan and Annual Plan.

The survey had a margin of error of plus or minus six percent. The full report and appendices can be found here:

SWDC 2013 Survey Report
SWDC 2013 Survey Appendices

In a recent report by Berl that compared the economic performance of New Zealand’s local authorities, South Wairarapa jumped 36 places from last year to take fourth position.

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