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Survey shows residents are happier in Hamilton

A major community survey has shown over the past 12 months people in Hamilton believe their quality of life has improved.

The Quality of Life survey takes place every two years involving Hamilton, Auckland, Tauranga, Wellington, Hutt, Porirua, Christchurch and Dunedin and was conducted by Nielsen. It measures the views of residents from all eight centres to allow comparisons and help guide councils’ planning.

The results released today shows 84 per cent of Hamilton residents say they have a good quality of life, up from 82 per cent two years ago. One third of residents believe their quality of life has improved compared to 12 months ago.

Hamilton City Council General Manager, Strategy and Communications, Sean Hickey says he is pleased with the results which showed the city was “delivering” for most Hamiltonians. He notes 75 per cent of residents think Hamilton is a great place to live, citing increased development, new buildings and renovations, improved maintenance and a big investment in infrastructure. Although there is no increase in those who think it is a worse place to live, some people are concerned about a perceived increase in crime, traffic congestion and the high cost of living.

“Financial stability and access to housing are key influences on people’s quality of life and there’s been a major shift in the perception of housing affordability over the last two years,” he says.

The Council has already recognised housing as a major issue and in the 2018-2028 10-Year Plan has allowed for a new housing area - Peacocke - to be opened. The Council and the Government have signed a Housing Accord to increase housing supply and improve affordability for the city as well as approving Special Housing Areas to be put forward for housing development, Mr Hickey says.

Across the city residents’ perception of crime and safety as an issue has reduced and more specifically in the city centre, safety perceptions have significantly improved.

“We have pushed a central city safety strategy very hard and that is paying off which is great. We will be continuing to focus on the central city via City Safe Patrols and we also have budgeted plans to improve the CCTV network city-wide,” Mr Hickey says.

Some survey results are less positive and will now be analysed to a greater degree.

Compared to 2016, the community is using public transport less and has given it a lower score in terms of safety, access, frequency, reliability and affordability.

“Council has already allowed funding for a major transport programme over the next decade to improve safety, congestion and encourage cycling and walking,” Mr Hickey says.

“We will be pushing this and working closely with Waikato Regional Council which provides the city’s bus service.”

Mr Hickey also acknowledges the community’s confidence in the council’s decision-making had dropped over the survey period and he says engaging the community is a key issue for the Council to focus on.

“There are always challenges ahead but overall we are delivering on improving the wellbeing of Hamiltonians and more people think our city has become a better place to live. That’s something we can all be very proud of.”

The Quality of Life survey results are available on Council’s website at hamilton.govt.nz/our-council/council-publications/monitoringandstatistics

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