Rise in Rotorua residents’ approval of mayor and councillors
Rise in Rotorua residents’ approval of mayor and councillors: NRB survey
A new independent survey of Rotorua residents reveals an improved perception of the performance of the district’s mayor and councillors.
The survey was carried out by independent research company National Research Bureau (NRB).
Sixty one per cent of residents surveyed rated the mayor and councillors’ performance as ‘fairly good’ to ‘very good,’ a jump of 21 per cent from last year’s figure of just 40 per cent. Seven per cent rated their performance as ‘poor’ to ‘not very good,’ down 13 per cent from 2013.
Approval levels for Rotorua District Council (RDC) staff were similar to those of elected members, with 62 per cent rating employees’ performance as ‘fairly good’ to ‘very good.’
The survey asked residents about their impressions of decisions and actions of the council in the last 12 months and the results were a substantial improvement on the 2013 survey. This year 70 per cent approved of recent council decisions and actions compared to last year’s approval by just 53 per cent.
Eighty five per cent of those surveyed also felt they had had some influence on decisions that the council had made.
Mayor Steve Chadwick said the survey provided a good barometer of public opinion. She said she was pleased to see a lift in residents’ perceptions of elected members’ performance and decision-making so soon after the local government elections.
“I think this is a reflection of the hard work our councillors have put in over the last nine months, and in particular the increased level of direct community engagement that’s taken place.
“We’re certainly now doing things differently from the past and we’re trying hard to fulfil our promise to take people with us on our journey.
“Taking our proposals out on the streets to talk to the community about our Rotorua 2030 vision, goals and priorities was very well received by people. For many councillors it was a chance to hear residents’ views first hand, and for locals it was an opportunity to talk one-on-one to their mayor and councillors, and to tell us what they wanted Rotorua to look like in the future.
“I think people know we’re listening and that they’re now an integral part of our decision-making processes,” said Mrs Chadwick.
Approval of council facilities and services remains high in Rotorua with most receiving satisfactions levels close to last year’s survey results.
Top rated council services were sewerage systems at 97 per cent approval, stormwater, and beautification and landscaping (95%), water supply (94%), city cleanliness and appearance (93%), rubbish collection (91%), parks, reserves and playgrounds (88%), tourism and events promotion (85%), cycling facilities, footpaths and roads (84%), parking 83%, sports fields (82%), library (81%) and the museum (80%).
The big mover in approval was city parking, a contentious issue in the past. Last year 68 per cent of residents approved of parking facilities, however this year the figure has shot up to 83 per cent. The survey was conducted after the introduction of Rotorua’s new parking regime in the inner city, including free two-hour parking in central city locations.
All council services received satisfaction ratings from the majority of residents, with the lowest being for public toilets (58% approval) and business investment promotion (57%).
Residents identified a number of areas requiring more spend emphasis. Forty six per cent wanted more spent on business investment promotion, 39 per cent on recycling, and 38 per cent on public toilets.
When asked if they were satisfied with how council rates were spent, 72 per cent of surveyed residents said they were satisfied while 22 per cent were not.
Ninety percent were also satisfied with the customer service they experienced when making direct contact with the council.
The 2014 NRB survey of public perceptions involved 400 telephone interviews with a cross-section of residents across the district. The survey was conducted during April and May and the full results will be available on the Rotorua District Council website by 8 August.