Dunedin residents a contented lot

 Dunedin residents believe they are safer, more trusting, and have a better overall lifestyle than many other New Zealanders, according to a new survey.

However, they are also more likely than residents of other cities to view alcohol and drugs as a problem and are the least confident their council makes decisions in the best interests of their city.

The quality-of-life survey conducted every two years in Dunedin, Auckland, Wellington, Porirua, Hutt City and Christchurch shows Dunedin residents are generally more content than residents elsewhere, with only Wellington people more likely to say theirs is a great city to live in.

About 82% of Dunedin residents said they considered the city a great place to live, compared with the six-city total of 76%.

Dunedin residents were also more likely to feel a sense of pride in their local area, with many suggesting that the good overall lifestyle provided by the city was the key reason for their pride. In other results, Dunedin residents generally rated the city's safety extremely highly, were the most likely to consider that other people could be trusted (75%), were satisfied by their work/life balance (68%) and were more likely to believe that cultural diversity made their area a better place to live (62%).

However, eight out of 10 residents expressed some concern about the impact of alcohol and drugs, while a higher proportion than in other cities were concerned dangerous driving (72%), car theft and damage (66%) and litter (62%) had been a problem over the past 12 months.

Dunedin residents were also generally less satisfied with their local council, with the biggest number of residents (45%) saying they did not have confidence the council made decisions in the best interests of their city - 64% of those said their lack of confidence was because they did not like specific decisions the council had made.

Dunedin City Council general manager strategy and development Dr Sue Bidrose said the survey was a good indication that the city vision of Dunedin as one of the world's great small cities was on the right track.

''...it's very encouraging to see that our residents have great pride in their city and believe it is just that - a great city.

''We have so few of the housing affordability and congestion issues that are prevalent in other centres - the key now is to spread this message as far as possible to people who don't live here.''

With regards to areas of concern highlighted by the survey, she said the council was looking at ways to address them, but the imminent release of the draft annual plan was an opportune moment for people to send in a comment on a specific topic or a larger submission on areas they thought the council should be spending their budget on.

More than 5000 people, including 587 in Dunedin, participated in the survey, which was jointly funded by the participating councils.

This year, the project was undertaken using a mixed online and postal survey method which was different from previous years.

debbie.porteous@odt.co.nz

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