Econ­omy more of a con­cern – sur­vey

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By AARON LEA­MAN and CHRIS GARD­NER

We’re wor­ried about the econ­omy, the en­vi­ron­ment and ed­u­ca­tion in the Waikato, but gen­er­ally con­tent with our qual­ity of life, a Waikato Re­gional Coun­cil sur­vey has found.

The coun­cil’s third three-yearly per­cep­tion sur­vey found 85 per cent of the 713 re­spon­dents from across the re­gion were con­tent with their qual­ity of life.

The coun­cil uses the sur­vey to iden­tify the big­gest is­sues in each Waikato dis­trict and uses the data to in­form de­ci­sion mak­ing.

Re­port co-or­di­na­tor Dr Beat Huser said the lat­est sur­vey found a slight rise in those con­cerned about the econ­omy. Con­cern over the state of the en­vi­ron­ment and a de­sire for bet­ter ed­u­ca­tion op­por­tu­ni­ties also fea­tured promi­nently.

‘‘ The 2013 find­ings are lit­tle changed from 2010 al­though we are see­ing a rise in those iden­ti­fy­ing eco­nomic is­sues as one of their pri­mary con­cerns,’’ Dr Huser said.

The last sur­vey came in 2010 just af­ter the global fi­nan­cial cri­sis but Dr Huser said it wasn’t sur­pris­ing eco­nomic well­be­ing was still at the fore­front of peo­ple’s minds.

‘‘The an­swers to the lat­est sur­vey in­di­cate that peo­ple are still some­what ner­vous about their eco­nomic prospects given on­go­ing fi­nan­cial con­cerns.’’

Clas­sic Hits break­fast host Mark Bunt­ing said he was ‘‘largely con­tent’’ with liv­ing in the Waikato.

‘‘It’s the best place in the coun­try to live. It’s got a bloody good farm­ing sec­tor and peo­ple who don’t take them­selves too se­ri­ously. Peo­ple say to me Hamil­ton sucks and I say it does. We suck from Auck­land, we suck from Welling­ton, peo­ple can’t wait to get here,’’ he said.

‘‘We just do the job of keep­ing the coun­try run­ning.’’

That Waikato sur­vey com­pares favourably with re­sults from a re­cently pub­lished United Na­tions re­port, which found 87 per cent of New Zealan­ders were happy with their lot in life.

Less than 1 per cent were un­happy with their qual­ity of life.

Those liv­ing in ru­ral ar­eas were hap­pier with their qual­ity of life than those liv­ing in towns or Hamil­ton, while those over 65 or aged un­der 25 were sig­nif­i­cantly hap­pier than other age groups.

Those who de­scribed them­selves of Euro­pean de­scent were more con­tent than those of Maori de­scent.

Home own­ers were also hap­pier with the qual­ity of life than those who rent or board.

Sim­i­lar to 2010, the main is­sues for the re­gion were em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties, eco­nomic is­sues, ed­u­ca­tion, en­vi­ron­ment con­cerns and law and or­der.

South Waikato res­i­dents were the most con­cerned about em­ploy­ment.

Asked what made their dis­trict spe­cial, the main themes iden­ti­fied in­cluded a sense of com­mu­nity or the dis­trict’s nat­u­ral re­sources such as beaches, rivers and moun­tains.

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