Coun­cil­lors query res­i­dent sur­vey

Waitaki Herald - - FATHER’S DAY - RYAN DUN­LOP

‘‘We are sticking to land­lines. We are not go­ing to get the true rep­re­sen­ta­tion, there are soo many peo­ple not us­ing land­lines.’’ Coun­cil­lor Miriam Morton

Fewer Wai­mate District peo­ple were sat­is­fied with their in­for­ma­tion cen­tre af­ter it moved to the district’s $5.5 mil­lion events cen­tre, a res­i­dent sur­vey re­veals.

The Wai­mate District Coun­cil Com­mu­ni­trak Sur­vey shows 47 per cent of peo­ple were ei­ther fairly or very sat­is­fied with the in­for­ma­tion cen­tre’s ser­vices when polled in March and April.

That was a sig­nif­i­cant drop on 2015, when the cen­tre was still on Wai­mate’s main street, when 64 per cent of re­spon­dents were ei­ther fairly or very sat­is­fied.

This year, 21 per cent were not very sat­is­fied in the re­lo­cated ser­vice. Only 1 per cent of re­spon­dents said the same thing in 2015.

The main rea­son given for the dis­sat­is­fac­tion was that the new lo­ca­tion was hard to find, the sur­vey found. A small group also said the move was against public opin­ion.

Wai­mate District coun­cil­lors con­sid­ered the re­port at a coun­cil meet­ing on Tues­day. Some ques­tioned the method­ol­ogy and ac­cu­racy of the Na­tional Re­search Bureau sur­vey of 300 peo­ple.

Coun­cil­lor Miriam Morton doubted the sur­vey pro­vided a true rep­re­sen­ta­tion as the in­ter­views were con­ducted by tele­phone. Not all res­i­dents had or used tele­phones.

In­stead, a great deal many res­i­dents used mo­bile phones of so­cial me­dia, she said.

‘‘We are sticking to land­lines. We are not go­ing to get the true rep­re­sen­ta­tion, there are soo many peo­ple not us­ing land­lines.

‘‘I don’t know how we can do it or if there is a way.’’

The sur­vey found peo­ple were most likely to be fairly or very sat­is­fied with the district’s parks, re­serves and gar­dens; dog and an­i­mal con­trol; camp­ing fa­cil­i­ties; water sup­ply and ser­vice; ceme­ter­ies, district li­braries and waste man­age­ment.

Sat­is­fac­tion with district roads im­proved. Sixty seven per cent of re­spon­dents were fairly or very sat­is­fied, up from 58 per cent, and 33 per cent were not very sat­is­fied, from 41 per cent in 2015.

The over­all per­for­mance of coun­cil staff rated higher than the na­tional av­er­age. As with 2015, 66 per cent of re­spon­dents rated them fairly or very good. The na­tional av­er­age was 57 per cent.

Coun­cil chief ex­ec­u­tive Stu­art Dun­can iden­ti­fied roads and foot­paths as ar­eas of im­prove­ment, and noted the in­for­ma­tion ser­vice was ‘‘raised quite promi­nently’’.

The sur­vey found 30 per cent of re­spon­dents were not very sat­is­fied with foot­paths.

Deputy mayor Sharyn Cain said the over­all sat­is­fac­tion of user ser­vices, such as with parks and re­serves, water sup­ply and waste man­age­ment, was a stand-out.

She noted those who used such ser­vices were likely to rate them highly, but that those who were not users did not: ‘‘Peo­ples per­cep­tion of what we are do­ing is dif­fer­ent to the re­al­ity.’’

Coun­cil­lor Tom O’Con­nor urged coun­cil­lors to be cau­tious with the data as it was ‘‘a blunt in­stru­ment. It is very hard to draw con­clu­sions’’.

Per­cep­tions of dis­sat­is­fac­tion were not en­tirely ac­cu­rate.

For ex­am­ple, some­one ask­ing for a rates re­mis­sion might leave un­sat­is­fied be­cause the re­quest was re­fused, even if the ser­vice was sat­is­fac­tory and cor­rect, he said.

Coun­cil­lors should not ‘‘beat them­selves up’’. The data pro­vided a trend and sug­gested where im­prove­ments might be made.

‘‘If you want pre­ci­sion then you need and more ex­pen­sive and ex­ten­sive tool and un­til we can get cell­phones [into the method] there is not much we can do,’’ he said.

Com­mu­nity plan­ning and de­vel­op­ment group man­ager Carolyn Johns high­lighted res­i­dents’ use of news­pa­pers. Some 77 per cent of re­spon­dents got their coun­cil in­for­ma­tion from news­pa­pers.

The use of so­cial me­dia as a com­mu­ni­ca­tion tool had also in­creased, from 2 per cent in 2015 to 7 per cent in 2017.

‘‘I ex­pect that to jump sig­nif­i­cantly now we have a Face­book page,’’ Johns said.

Some Wai­mate District coun­cil­lors ques­tioned the method­ol­ogy of a sur­vey of 300 peo­ple.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.