Ratepayers' wishes clear in survey

Dunedin residents want the Dunedin City Council to focus on encouraging business development and reducing debt in a city with safe and accessible cycleways, according to the latest Dunedin City Council satisfaction survey.

The annual residents' satisfaction survey results were released yesterday and showed 58% were satisfied or very satisfied with the council - the highest level of satisfaction recorded since the question was first asked in 2003.

While economic development continued to record low satisfaction scores there was a significant improvement in satisfaction with retaining existing businesses and jobs and supporting development of existing businesses.

Satisfaction with the council-owned, but not run, Dunedin Ice Stadium, stormwater services, the look and feel of South Dunedin's retail area and traffic flow at peak times declined the most, between 10 and six percentage points on last year.

Results showed satisfaction was up for council customer services, the council newsletter, FYI, and the suitability of roads for cyclists.

For the first time residents were asked to rate councillors and the mayor's performance, with 44% saying they were satisfied and 19% saying they were dissatisfied.

Cr David Benson-Pope's campaign on the state of the city's streets appeared to be backed up with resi-dents' satisfaction with street cleanliness at 55%, down from 58% last year.

As with previous years, satisfaction was the highest with the Dunedin Botanic Garden, Toitu Otago Settlers Museum, Dunedin Public Libraries and rubbish collection, all of which recorded scores of better than 90%.

Residents indicated council's priorities for the next 12 months should be to encourage business development, reduce council spending and control debt, control the level of rates and provide cycleways.

Residents continued to perceive the city as being safe, scoring it 58%.

Mayor Dave Cull said it was ironic the community rated economic development, jobs and businesses so highly given changes to local Government meant councils no longer had a mandate to work in that area.

''The community clearly wants us to focus on that.''

The priorities residents rated were similar to what the council had been working on for the past three years including controlling debt and creating more cycle lanes.

''Overall to have steadily rising satisfaction is very pleasing.''

It was important to note that even the areas with the least satisfaction, the levels were higher than previous years, such as the ice stadium, which declined 10 percentage points to 71% but that was still seven points higher than in 2012.

''Overall satisfaction is going up and dissatisfaction is going down.''

Key Research research manager Duncan McIntosh said the 27.7% response rate was very good compared to other survey return rates.

It was difficult to compare the result with those of other council's as their surveys were not consistent.

Tauranga's phone poll showed customer satisfaction to be 65%, he said.

The Dunedin survey of 1248 randomly selected ratepayers had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.8%.

The survey cost the council $36,000.

rebecca.fox@odt.co.nz

Where do I apply?

If you're keeping a running total Steve, don't forget the $3800 squandered in haste on a pair of $300 camel cuffs.

As for the actual survey, where do I apply to carry out the next survey? I am damn sure sure I could get more than 346 responses single handed. I'll place my tender now. Allowing for slight cost increases I'll do the next one for $40,000 (hell, it's only ratepayer money) and I'll guarantee at least 500 results from randomly picked households.

Looking at my rough business plan $200 for a pair of trainers, $100 for an MP3 player, say $400 on photcopying. Even if it takes me a month to wander the streets of Dunedin to complete, I'll clear the best part of nine grand a week. Sweet!

There you go DCC - for just a 5.6% cost increase I will supply atleast 45% more data next year for you to fudge.

So what did our $36,000 get us?

Was the survey sent to 1248 randomly selected ratepayers of which only 27.7% or 345 rate payers responded? if so the cost of getting this information was $104 per ratepayer. If in fact 1248 was the total of replies the cost of getting this apparantly vital information was almost $29.00 per rate payer. Way to go Dunedin Council, yet another example of how to throw money down the nearest drain. Coupled with Mayor Cull's overseas trip costing $18,000 we have a total weekly announcent of $54,000 of feel good council expenditure. Isn't life great when you are spending other peoples money?

Rate payers really satisfied?

So Dave Cull tells us his Council has no mandate to promote economic growth. The current and previous Councils have effectively squandered the now $650 million in consolidated debt, up from $20 million in 2009. The 10 year plan Mayor Cull and his Council came up with obviously isn't a priority any longer. Wasn't the Stadium supposed to be part of Dunedins economic growth? The Chinese Gardens, the $42 million upgrade of the Settlers Museum, the $1 million to put a train in a glass case. How about the Town Hall upgrade and the about to be constructed cycleways? Are these not Council decisions based on plans for economic growth? I guess this survey means all is well in Dunedin and the daily business closures and dozens of empty shops are the responsibility of Central Government. What exactly are you responsible for Mr Cull? It seems you think the debt laden mess we rate payers find ourselves in is the National Governments fault. I'm not sure that is going to wash but good try anyway.

Dear Dave


"Mayor Dave Cull said it was ironic the community rated economic development, jobs and businesses so highly given changes to local Government meant councils no longer had a mandate to work in that area."

I don't find that surprising given most residents probably aren't aware of this mandate change by central government. And with all the economic development rhetoric from the DCC, Otago Chamber of Commerce and the like it is not unreasonable to believe that the DCC still is a major player.

So if the DCC has no manadate in this area can Dave Cull please explain the '$10,000, 10,000 jobs, 10 year' policy? And can the Otago Chamber of Commerce please stop asking for 'handouts' from the DCC?

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