Satisfaction with council plunges

Restive residents of Dunedin have given their council a blunt review — just a quarter of respondents to a survey are satisfied with the performance of the city’s mayor and councillors.

That is down from 40% a year ago.

The Dunedin City Council itself was given a wholesale slating, recording declining levels of approval across a slew of services.

Overall satisfaction with the council dropped 14 points to 40%.

Support for community boards also waned, satisfaction with their performances falling 12 points to 32%.

The rating given for value for money from council services and activities fell 10 points to 32%.

The unflattering assessment was provided by 1287 survey respondents between July last year and June this year.

Dunedin Ice Stadium, the Lan Yuan garden, community pools, the sewerage system and the Edgar Centre all recorded increases in satisfaction.

Dunedin Mayor Aaron Hawkins said contentious debates about important issues could skew public perceptions of elected officials.

Much of their work was carried out diligently and in a collegial fashion, he said.

Council chief executive Sandy Graham said the council was working hard to lift performance.

"We know this has been a tough year for everyone, and to some extent that frustration is borne out in these results, but our focus is on improvement," she said.

Satisfaction with roading-related infrastructure remained flat at 29%.

Ratings were highest for ease of pedestrian movement, followed by street lighting and the flow of off-peak traffic.

Respondents were least satisfied with the availability of parking in the central city, availability of on-street metered parking in the central city and traffic flow during peak times.

Satisfaction with cleanliness of streets was down 16 points at 48%.

Satisfaction with the look and feel of the central city retail area was down 14 points at 51% — it was unclear if the drop reflected a vote of confidence or disapproval regarding the planned George St upgrade.

The Dunedin Botanic Garden, council reserves and walking and biking tracks received high satisfaction ratings.

The services and facilities residents were most satisfied with were the Otago Museum, the botanic garden, Toitu Otago Settlers Museum, libraries and the Regent Theatre.

However, less than half of respondents were satisfied with public toilets.

Residents who registered a score of 1-4 were considered to be dissatisfied, those who gave a rating of 5-6 were considered neutral and those who gave a rating of 7-10 were satisfied.

For the question about the performance of the mayor and councillors, 25% were satisfied, 27% neutral and 48% dissatisfied.

On the positive side, Dunedin was widely considered to be a great place to live.

However, negative themes included that the council was spending money in the wrong areas and it did not listen to the public enough.

Maintaining infrastructure and more parking were considered top priorities.

A greater focus on the environment was also in the top three.

Councillors will consider the survey results at a meeting next week.

 - grant.miller@odt.co.nz

Comments

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I get the feeling the council would be better perceived if they could resist their urge to 'signal their virtue' at the ratepayers expense.

Hardly a surprise. The CEO has failed in her role. The Transportation Department management are bordering on mad. Hawkins and his sidekicks Geary, Walker and Benson-pope are arrogant and failing their communities. Time for them to walk the plank and do this city a favour.

For such an abysmally performing Council the results seem remarkably good. However, given the nous of the average ratepayer this is hardly surprising!

This is a Residents' Survey, not confined to Ratepayers. The city is more than property owners.

minor technicality.....all property pays rates. Someone renting.....a portion of their rent contributes to rates.
Ratepayer...Resident, we're all paying the council for services through rates.....
sadly, some councilors aren't of much service....

Dunedin Mayor Aaron Hawkins said contentious debates about important issues could skew public perceptions of elected officials.

"Important Issues" - drinking water fit for human consumption - how much green paint to buy for cycle lanes - how to fit a 6m traffic roundabout onto a 5m wide road - will we give ourselves a 15 or 20% salary increase and $10,000 bonus this year ??

And then it's playtime at Kindergarten ...

I think there's probably a few discrepancies in figures, however, with a population of 133,000 I'm sure the 1297 friends of councillors gave a fair an honest representation of how the people of Dunedin really feel about the Mayor and Councillors.

Including the astonishingly entitled Cr Vandervis.

When asked about the 40% drop is public approval, the Mayor said that contentious issues were dealt with "collegially". "Contentious debates about important issues could skew public perceptions of elected officials.
Much of their work was carried out diligently and in a collegial fashion." ODT Today. What we need to concern ourselves with is the arrogance and absence of humility in the leadership of our Council. Public criticism just flows off this Mayor like water off a duck's back!

Not really a surprise given the council's performance. Pinkney is spot on. The debacle that is the transport/parking strategy is destroying the city. Will the councillors listen? No, far too up themselves. Often, only Vandervis talks any sense but with his Covid stance he has completely messed up.

True that. While I'm not what could be called a supporter of Cllr. Vandervis I always thought it was important to have one contrary voice around the table at times. However, since he now seems to have swallowed anti vax misinformation whole I have lost any respect for him.

Next election, October 2022
:-) Only 10 months to go :-)

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