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Survey: Palmerston North Great Place To Raise A Family

Survey Reaffirms Palmerston North Is A Great Place To Raise A Family

The third Palmerston North City Image Survey has found consensus amongst residents and visitors on a number of positive living measurements, reinforcing that the city’s a great place to raise a family and a great place for student life.

Palmerston North Mayor Jono Naylor says an overview of the results show that the confidence of residents in our city is strong.

In all 402 people were surveyed, 50 per cent were residents while the other half were visitors to the city from the lower North Island. Visitors appeared to have less of an appreciation of what the city had to offer, although when compared with previous surveys there has been some improvement.

Both surveyed groups agreed the city is an easy place to live; has a great lifestyle; great parks and recreational facilities; is a great place for raising a family, cycling, and education and student life.

Jono Naylor says the results show we are doing well in some areas. However there are gaps and we need to continue telling people about what we’re doing with sustainability, innovation, business friendliness and why we are a visitor destination so that more people are aware of what a great city this is. “The regional magazine ‘The Page’ is helping us do this and I look forward to the next edition which will be launched later this month.”

Last year Council carried out an email panel survey of 400 residents. That survey asked: “If Palmerston North was a person, what sort of person would it be?” And: “What sort of person would you want it be?”

The results, while mixed, contained some common themes including: artistic, vibrant, multicultural, caring, prosperous and sensible, while others chose adjectives like conservative, lacking in confidence.

Interestingly, what came through quite strongly is that those surveyed want Palmerston North to be more confident, exciting, friendly, family oriented and artistic.

Mayor Naylor says the response about the future fits with our vision of where we want Palmerston North to be as a city, a city that is recognised as a vibrant, caring, innovative and sustainable.

Earlier this month international urban strategist Charles Landry was in Palmerston North. He indexed the city against 17 other international cities. His final report is still being compiled and will be made public later this month.

Mayor Naylor says he read both surveys with Charles Landry’s words fresh on his mind.

“Charles Landry told us that easy, comfortable and relaxed are great adjectives however they can indicate complacency. We need to be alert, recognise threats at local, national and international levels and introduce specific actions to fulfil our vision.”

“The results of the surveys show we are moving in the right direction and have also provided us with food for thought."


The City Image Survey was carried out in October and November last year. 201 residents and 201 visitors from the lower North Island were canvassed. The survey gauges perceptions about where we live, work and play and is the third to be carried out since 2005. The findings inform strategies to effectively market the city to prospective visitors, business and other groups and have a margin of error of plus or minus 5%.

The two previous surveys were carried out in 2005 and 2009. Some questions were added in 2012 to reflect the Council’s new strategic direction.

The survey consisted of 17 statements and respondents were asked to rate Palmerston North on these statements e.g. “Using the scale of very good, good, neutral, not very good and poor how would you rate Palmerston North in terms of being a progressive go-ahead vibrant city?”

Of the visitors who took part in the survey 71 per cent of visitors were in the city for pleasure (shopping, entertainment, and hospitality).

Some key findings of the residents’ survey include:
Note: statistics provided below are those good or very good
• 95 per cent felt Palmerston North is a great city for student life and being a city with good parks, sports and recreational facilities.
• 93 per cent felt it’s a great place for families.
• 51 per cent felt that Palmerston North is a place New Zealanders would want to come and visit. This is up from 42 per cent in 2005 and 50 per cent in 2009.
• 52 per cent felt the city had good jobs.
• 62 per cent feel Palmerston North is a leading city in the quest to be environmentally sustainable – the difference from 2009 (when the question was first posed) is within the margin of error.
• 79 per cent felt the city is a progressive, go ahead, vibrant city up from 58 per cent in 2005 and 69 per cent in 2009
• 86 per cent think Palmerston North is a likeable friendly city, compared with 74 per cent in 2009 and 77 per cent in 2005 – importantly this was across all age groups however was most strongly felt by those aged over 45.
• 93 per cent of those surveyed felt Palmerston North is a great place for families compared to 62 per cent in 2009.

Some key findings from the survey of visitors include:
• 86 per cent felt the city is great for student education and student life which is similar to that recorded in 2009.
• 74 per cent felt the city is likeable and friendly which is improved on 70 per cent in 2009 but is down from 78 per cent in 2005.
• 73 per cent felt the city has good parks, sports and recreational facilities.
• 70 per cent felt the city is an attractive place to walk around and 68 per cent felt the city was a great place to cycle.
• The number of people who think Palmerston North is a progressive, go ahead, vibrant city has dropped from 69 per cent in 2009 to 55 per cent in 2012.
• 42 per cent felt it was a place New Zealanders would want to visit, down from 47 per cent in 2009 and 46% in 2005.
• 29 per cent felt there were good jobs, down on 40 per cent in 2009 and 36 per cent in 2005.
• 34 per cent felt the city is a leading in the quest to be sustainable –same as in 2009.
• 71 per cent of visitors were for pleasure and the majority came from households that earned less than $40,000.
• 60 per cent of visitors had not seen any advertising for Palmerston North.


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