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Quality Of Life Report 2007

Joint media release from the Councils of North Shore, Waitakere, Auckland, Manukau, Rodney, Hamilton, Tauranga, Wellington, Hutt, Porirua, Christchurch and Dunedin.


Quality Of Life Report 2007:

People living in New Zealand cities have a high quality of life but local authorities must work together to ease the pressures of growth, a new report says.

The 2007 Quality of Life report, released by the Metropolitan Sector Group today, provides a comprehensive assessment of the quality of life in 12 New Zealand cities, as part of a multi-council initiative.

“This report shows that urban New Zealand is essentially a great place to live, work and play,” said Jim Harland, Chief Executive of Dunedin City Council and Quality of Life Project sponsor.

The report showed people living in New Zealand cities had a high quality of life, with growing populations and economies, and a high degree of social cohesion even with increasing diversity, he said. The vast majority of residents in the cities (90%) felt they had a positive overall quality of life.

“City residents feel that they enjoy a good quality of life, are happy and satisfied with their lives and report that they are in good health. On the whole, they have a sense of pride in their city and consider that their cities offer them a culturally rich and diverse arts scene.”

The Quality of Life project started with six councils in 1999 and has since expanded to 12 territorial local authorities, including: Rodney; North Shore; Waitakere; Auckland; Manukau; Hamilton; Tauranga; Porirua; Hutt; Wellington; Christchurch; and Dunedin.

The report provides data on people; knowledge and skills; health; safety; housing; social connectedness; civil and political rights; economic standard of living; economic development; the natural environment; and the built environment.
Mr Harland said the aim was to give decision-makers more information to improve the quality of life in major New Zealand urban areas.
“Monitoring across the cities helps councils develop a consistent set of indicators, identify major urban issues and develop comprehensive responses,” he said.
Since the last Quality of Life report in 2003, many improvements had been made in all four areas of well-being, including economic, environmental, cultural and social, said Mr Harland.

The 2007 report showed most residents in the 12 cities were generally satisfied with their lives, enjoyed clean air and water and had ready access to employment, housing and services such as health and education, he said.

The economy was strong, median personal and household incomes had increased in the cities, and there had been an increase in jobs and a drop in unemployment. The 12 cities accounted for nearly two-thirds of all economic activity in New Zealand and the city economies had grown, on average, by 4.3% per year over the five years to March 2006.

Aspects of safety in the cities had also improved, he said. The rate of serious and fatal road crashes fell, there was a decline in the rate of workplace accidents and the overall rate of crime declined.

However, the report also highlighted a number of challenges. The key issue for the cities was how to accommodate growth in a sustainable way, said Mr Harland.

“Our cities make up more than half of New Zealand’s population and are continuing to grow rapidly. Most of New Zealand’s total population growth in the next 20 years is projected to take place in the 12 cities.”

Such fast growth placed pressure on city infrastructure. Traffic congestion, some instances of poor air and water quality, graffiti, vandalism, litter and noise were all issues that needed to be addressed.

The local authorities also acknowledged that not everyone experienced all the positive aspects of New Zealand cities and the gap between those with a better or poorer quality of life was widening in some instances, Mr Harland said.

“Action is now needed to plan for long-term growth in our cities, to improve access to key services, and promote economic and environmental sustainability,” said Mr Harland.

The 12 cities would work together to identify the priority issues and which agencies needed to address them. It was essential that infrastructure and services supported the continued population growth in cities, and the increasing social and cultural diversity, he said.

“An even better quality of life for all city residents will come about only if local government, central government and our communities work together.”

ends

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