Council survey shows need to improve trust

The Gore District Council needs to "do better" to win back the confidence of the community.

That is the message from Mayor Tracy Hicks following the results of a residents’ survey which show confidence in the mayor and council is at its lowest point in five years.

The results were based on more than 600 individual responses collected by both telephone and online submission.

Out of those who responded, only 38% felt the mayor and councillors displayed sound and effective leadership.

Another 35% felt the council had good strategies for developing prosperity and wellbeing.

Both of those scores were a decrease of 10% and 9% respectively from last year.

Tracy Hicks
Tracy Hicks
Mr Hicks joked the results were "stunning", and said his council members were not proud of them.

"Generally across the board, it was a pretty good reflection about what people think of council. I think there’s a number of areas we can do a whole lot better in."

Mr Hicks put the low results down to a combination of society being "generally more sceptical of authority" and Gore-specific issues.

Those included changes to Gore waste management, a controversial bridge project, and the Streets Alive project which recently sparked an outcry.

Streets Alive is a $1million roading project that began in March with the majority of funding coming from Waka Kotahi (NZ Transport Agency).

The trial was met with widespread indignation over the council’s allocation of funding and sparked controversy. Street-calming planter boxes were repeatedly vandalised.

On Wednesday night, Gore city councillors voted to end early some of the trial’s components installed on roads.

A Gore resident, who did not want to be named, said he was not surprised by the results of the annual survey.

Pointing to recent controversies over the Mataura River bridge proposal coupled with Streets Alive, the resident said ratepayers were upset at “willy-nilly” spending.

“A lot of them are saying it’s very easy to spend other people’s money. People are doing it hard.”

Other results included 47% of participants agreeing the council provided enough opportunities for people to have their say, and 68% were satisfied with overall council performance.

Highest satisfaction was 87% of people happy with elected members’ accessibility.


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