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National survey confirms Dunedin is a great place to live

Dunedin tops quality of life survey measure

Dunedin (Wednesday, 21 September 2016) - Dunedin residents believe their city is a great place to live, according to the latest Quality of Life Survey.

The survey found 88% of Dunedin residents rated their overall quality of life as ‘extremely good’ or ‘good’, compared to 81% across six other New Zealand cities, including Christchurch, Wellington, Hamilton and Auckland. This is the first time Dunedin has topped this measure since the survey began in 2003. More than 30% of Dunedin respondents said their overall quality of life had improved since 2014.

Mayor of Dunedin Dave Cull says this is further evidence that the city is making progress towards its vision of becoming one of the world’s great small cities.

“It’s clear from this survey that Dunedin already delivers in a wide range of areas which drive quality of life. These include a safe and supportive community, a high quality natural and built environment, good work and business opportunities, great work/life balance and decent housing options which people can afford.”

“It’s particularly pleasing to see perceptions improving in areas which have been a focus of the Dunedin City Council. For example, we have been working closely with developers to protect and restore heritage buildings in the warehouse precinct and in the Exchange as part of wider efforts to spruce up the central city.

“These survey results show such efforts are paying dividends, with 60% of residents now rating our heritage buildings as the main reason for their sense of pride in the look and feel of the central city.

“Some areas of concern remain. About a fifth of respondents said their house had an issue with damp or mould and a similar proportion suggested they struggle to afford to heat their homes in winter. This is a significant issue which falls disproportionately on the shoulders of the most vulnerable members of society.

“That’s why the Council and its partners are working hard to address these issues. This has included providing funding to the Cosy Homes Charitable Trust, which delivers a range of projects aimed at making every Dunedin home warm and cosy by 2025, and allocating further funding to the warm Dunedin targeted rate programme, and healthy homes grants to drive us towards that goal.”

Since 2004, the Quality of Life Survey has been carried out every two years in partnership with councils throughout New Zealand. The 2016 survey was undertaken by councils in Auckland, Hamilton, Hutt City, Porirua, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin was carried out by independent research company Colmar Brunton.

The full report, and information on the national highlights, is available at www.qualityoflifeproject.govt.nz.

2016 Quality of Life Survey – Dunedin highlights include:

· 85% of respondents ‘strongly agree’ or ‘agree’ that Dunedin is “a great place to live” down slightly from 86% in 2014, but well above the national average of 79%.

· Higher than average pride in the look and feel of the city – 72% of Dunedin respondents ‘strongly agree’ or ‘agree’ that they feel a sense of pride in the way their city or local area looks and feels, up from 67% in 2014. In Dunedin, 60% of respondents rated “the presence of heritage and other important buildings” as the main reason for their sense of pride compared to just 21% nationwide.

· Second highest perceptions of safety. For example, 72% of Dunedin respondents feel ‘very safe’ or ‘fairly safe’ walking alone in their neighbourhood after dark. This is up from 70% in 2014 and well above the national average of 63%.

· Highest frequency of physical activity – 53% of Dunedin respondents report physical activity five or more days a week, down from 57% in 2014, but above the national average of 45%.

· Highest scores for the affordability of housing costs (69% compared to 47% nationwide), the suitability of dwellings (88% compared to 83%), location of homes (90% compared to 86%) and the ability of the heating system to keep a house warm (84% compared to 73%).

· 76% of Dunedin respondents ‘strongly agree’ or ‘agree’ that Dunedin has a culturally rich and diverse arts scene. This is up from 69% in 2014, second only to Wellington and above the national average of 66%.

· Perceptions of public transport are up across the board with improvements in scores for affordability (48% in 2016 compared to 36% in 2014), perceived safety (79%compared to 78%), ease of access (77% compared to 72%), reliability (51% compared to 50%) and frequency (51% compared to 44%).

Lowlights include:

· Highest concern about alcohol and drug problems – 80% of Dunedin respondents perceive alcohol or drugs to be ‘a big problem’ or ‘a bit of a problem’ in their area, down slightly from 81% in 2014, but much higher than the national average of 60%.

· Above average concern about dangerous driving – 76% of Dunedin respondents view dangerous driving, including drink driving and speeding, as ‘a big problem’ or ‘a bit of a problem’ in their area. This is down from 83% in 2014, but is higher than the national average of 67%.

· 22% of Dunedin respondents agreed that their home had an issue with damp or mould compared to 26% nationally. In Dunedin, 21% of residents also disagreed that they could afford to heat their home properly compared to 23% nationally.

· 35% of Dunedin residents perceive begging in the street to be a problem up from 26% in 2014. This remains lower than the national average of 45%.

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