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Christchurch City - Quality Of Life Report 2007

Quality Of Life Report 2007: Christchurch City Media Release

Christchurch City’s economy is performing well and residents have a high quality of life, according to a new 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.

The report showed 91% of Christchurch residents rated their quality of life as either good or extremely good, 90% of Christchurch residents rated themselves happy or very happy, and 86% said they were satisfied or very satisfied with their lives.

Christchurch City Councillor Bob Shearing said the local economy was thriving. The report showed the city experienced good economic growth of 4.4% and per capita GDP growth of 3.6% during the period 2001-2006.

From 2002 to 2006, Christchurch had a business growth rate of 27%, higher than the New Zealand average. The number of new jobs created over the five-year period to 2006 was also one of the highest in the country, with 25,870 new positions. Unemployment levels were low (4.5% in 2006), productivity increased, as did guest nights, and large numbers of skilled migrants were recruited by Canterbury business.

“Christchurch is powering ahead and city residents are enjoying life,” said Cr Shearing. “This report shows a number of very positive features about life in Christchurch. However, challenges remain in some areas, notably housing and the environment, which still need to be addressed.”

Christchurch had one of the highest rates of home ownership, especially for low income people, and a low incidence of crowding, there were concerns about housing affordability, he said. The report showed high numbers of people living in temporary dwellings, high median rent increases, and big increases in waiting lists in Christchurch.

While recognising air and water pollution were issues that still needed attention, Cr Shearing said, “improvements had been made”. Christchurch had the highest average annual levels of PM10 and highest carbon monoxide levels in relation to the 12 other cities. However, Christchurch experienced only 13 high air pollution nights between May and August 31 compared with 27 high air pollution nights for the same period last year and 51 high air pollution nights recorded in 2001.

Another concern was the finding that Christchurch had the lowest percentage of residents who felt safe in their city centre after dark, at 38%.

“The Safer Christchurch Strategy adopted by Council in 2005 was developed in partnership with a range of government agencies. This strategy seeks to make Christchurch a safer place to live and results so far have been encouraging,” said Cr Shearing. “Everyone in the community needs to work together to maintain and improve the quality of life for Christchurch residents.”

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

Project sponsor Jim Harland said the report highlighted 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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