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Aucklanders rate their quality of life highly

Aucklanders rate their quality of life highly

Auckland city offers a high quality of life and has strong population and economic growth – but also experiences pressure on infrastructure and housing, according to a national report.

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.

Mayor of Auckland city, Hon. John Banks, says the report highlights the many positive features of life in Auckland city.

“Auckland offers its residents a wealth of opportunities and residents clearly recognise this, with 91 per cent of them rating their quality of life as good or very good. That’s a ringing endorsement for the city.”

Auckland continues to experience strong population growth, recording a 10 per cent increase between 2001 and 2006. The make-up of the city’s population is ethnically diverse and nearly two-thirds of Aucklanders feel positive about the impact of this increased cultural diversity.

As well as strong population growth, the city has also experienced economic growth, averaging 4.1 per cent per year between 2001 and 2006.

Mr Banks says the Auckland economy is thriving. “From 2001 to 2006, we had the highest number of new jobs and new businesses created of any city in New Zealand. Auckland is the country’s economic powerhouse and it’s good to see that this report demonstrates that the city’s economy is continuing to perform.

“What’s more our residents are reaping the rewards of this economic growth. Median personal incomes in the city grew by 28.1 per cent, and were among the highest in the country. Most residents – just over 77 per cent – are happy with their work-life balance.

“Our communities also have access to a multitude of cultural and recreational activities. Nearly 90 per cent of Aucklanders say it’s easy to access a local park, while 75 per cent rate the city as having a culturally rich and diverse arts scene.

“There’s a lot to be proud of, but there are also challenges that Auckland – like other cities – can work on. We’re actively working to address these issues in conjunction with our communities and central government,” Mr Banks says.

Two of the areas the report identifies as challenges include low rates of home ownership and increased pressure on infrastructure.

Only 38.4 per cent of private dwellings in Auckland city were owned by the people who live in them, and 37 per cent were rented. Across the 12 cities, the figures were 48.9 per cent and 30 per cent. This reflects a significant increase in house prices since 2001. However, over this time rents have become significantly more affordable relative to incomes in Auckland city.

Environmental issues include concerns about air pollution (largely because of transport) and a significant increase in demand for energy throughout the greater Auckland region during the current decade. In cities outside the Auckland region, demand for energy has increased only slightly.

The report also highlights the transport challenges facing the Auckland region. Three quarters of Aucklanders say it is easy to access a public transport facility, such as a bus or train station, but only about 23 per cent of residents use public transport more than twice a week. Almost half of Auckland households have two or more motor vehicles.

The quality of life project started with six councils in 1999 and has since expanded to 12 territorial local authorities, includingRodney, North Shore, Waitakere, Auckland, Manukau, Hamilton, Tauranga, Porirua, Hutt, Wellington, Christchurch, and Dunedin.

The project aims to give decision-makers information to help them improve the quality of life in major urban areas.

Project sponsor Jim Harland says the report highlights the need for action to plan for long-term growth, improve access to services and promote economic and environmental sustainability.

ENDS

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