News : Resident Satisfaction Drops
Dunedin, New Zealand, Oct 6, 2015 -- A fall in resident satisfaction revealed in an annual Dunedin City Council survey has been blamed on the June flood and councillor in-fighting.
Increased satisfaction with Forsyth Barr Stadium and other facilities was a highlight of the council's 2015 residents' opinion survey.
Overall, resident satisfaction was down 8 percentage points, to 50%.
Satisfaction with the civic centre customer service agency dropped by 14 percentage points, and the call centre by 13 percentage points, while satisfaction with the mayor and councillors dropped 10 percentage points.
Residents were more happy about their dealings with council staff, with whom satisfaction had jumped 6 percentage points.
After results were presented to media yesterday, Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull said it was impossible to say exactly how much dissatisfaction was a direct response to the June 3 flood.
The survey was conducted a few weeks after the event.
Versus Research, of Hamilton, which conducted the survey, warned of the potential distorting effect of the recent major event on some of the results.
''The flood definitely would have an effect. How much effect I don't know. Given the timing, so close to the flood, and given that our call centre was overwhelmed, you would expect to get a marked spike in dissatisfaction at that time,'' Mr Cull said.
The council was still reviewing its response to the June flood, which would eventually be made public.
Asked about the falling satisfaction with councillors and his own performance, Mr Cull put it down to in-fighting.
''The community expects councillors and community board members to act in a collegial, constructive way.
''We've had councillors, community board members, sniping at one another.
''When you get allegations about staff or about other councillors from councillors, when you get abuse from elected members, the community understandably gets disenchanted.''
Six percent of respondents specifically criticised council ''in-fighting'', up from 2% the previous year.
The council highlighted increased satisfaction with facilities in its media release about the survey.
Satisfaction with Forsyth Barr Stadium has reached 83%.
People were most pleased with the Dunedin Botanic Garden, Toitu Otago Settlers Museum, Dunedin Public Libraries and rubbish collection, all of which had scores of more than 90%.
In an accompanying press release, Mr Cull said the results showed the council was striking the right balance in social infrastructure spending.
''If council wants to help make Dunedin an attractive place to live, work, study and visit, then modest investment in our social infrastructure is necessary.''
He was pleased with a 4-percentage-point lift in satisfaction in efforts to promote economic development.
''This is an area where the council has been putting in a concerted effort.''
Of the 4500 people invited, 1122 completed the survey.
People were encouraged to complete it online, which 902 did, but it could also be completed in postal form.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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