News, Events and Culture

Residents satisfied with City Council services

Thursday November 14 2013

An independent survey has found that most Palmerston North residents are happy with what the Palmerston North City Council does and how it does it.

The Communitrak Survey is an independent survey which is conducted every two years. The results help Councillors in their decision making and direction setting process. They also provide Council staff with information about services. Earlier this year 407 residents were interviewed over the telephone by the National Research Bureau. The sample was selected to reflect the ward system (which has since been disestablished), gender and age structure of the City.

Mayor Jono Naylor says there are many pleasing aspects to the 2013 Communitrak Survey. Eighty four per cent of residents are satisfied with the way rates are spent. That compares favourably with other similar sized cities as the average satisfaction level is 73 per cent.

"This tells me that our Council has a good understanding of what services residents' require and that the services we provide demonstrate real value for money."

Eighty per cent of people are satisfied with the way Palmerston North looks. Fourteen per cent are neither satisfied nor dissatisfied and only five per cent are dissatisfied.

"I'm very proud of the fact that the level of dissatisfaction has dropped markedly since 2007 when they were as high as 21 per cent. To me, this highlights the success of our urban design projects such as the redesign of The Square, the sense of place provided by Te Manawa, the redevelopment of Cuba and George Street intersection, the new sculptures that have been installed by the Sculpture Trust and the more recent Placemaking projects, all of which have generally improved our perception of our home city over the last six years."

Most people are satisfied with being able to move around Palmerston North in peak traffic periods - 30 per cent are delighted or very satisfied and 47 per cent are fairly satisfied. Only one per cent are not satisfied with off peak travel flows.

Satisfaction levels with specific services are also high. For example, the Regent and Te Manawa both score 99 per cent satisfaction ratings. "This is a credit to the level of service provided by these Council Controlled Organisations - their staff should feel very proud at this outstanding result."

Sportsfields and playgrounds, parks and reserves, and libraries score 98 per cent each in satisfaction ratings.

Twelve of the 24 services in the survey have satisfaction ratings of 90 per cent or higher. A further seven have ratings of 80 to 89 per cent.

The survey shows a drop in satisfaction with parking - half the people surveyed are satisfied, compared with about two-thirds five years ago. "These results reflect ongoing issues with the parking sensor system, the cost of parking, and enforcement."

Mayor Naylor said he is confident that the next survey results will show a much better picture for parking. "Several years ago we had decreasing levels of satisfaction with the Council's recycling collection. The Council focussed on this and introduced the new wheelie-bins.  Since then satisfaction has increased from around 75 to 90 per cent."

"We are gradually introducing improvements to parking such as the removal of the $40 fine for failure to activate the meter through to the introduction of the Frog Parking App. I'm hopeful that these and further changes are being worked on will improve this result in the future."

Forty six per cent says the performance of the Mayor and Councillors is very or fairly good while another 40 per cent say it is just acceptable. "My colleagues and I work very hard to participate, listen and lead our community. While this result shows we have more work to do to improve the public perception of Council, I'm encouraged that overall the result shows a low level of dissatisfaction."

The survey also shows people are satisfied with the way that Council staff do their work.  Seventy seven per cent of Palmerston North respondents say that the performance of Council staff is very or fairly good. This compares with 55 per cent ratings for staff of other similar Councils. Paddy Clifford, Council's Chief Executive, says this is an outstanding result that reflects the commitment of Palmerston North City Council staff to their roles and working for the community.

Palmerston North people are more satisfied than residents of other cities with the way they are involved in Council decision making. In Palmerston North, 49 per cent are very or fairly satisfied, compared with 37 per cent in other cities. Fourteen per cent of residents are dissatisfied or very dissatisfied, compared with 23 per cent in other cities (the rest are neither satisfied nor dissatisfied).

Paddy Clifford says while the results are very pleasing it's something that can't be taken for granted. "You're only as good as your last interaction with a member of the public. We as Council staff are conscious of the need to maintain the trust with our community, to listen and serve residents. We're also conscious of the need for transformation as we adapt and move with the modern world and changing expectations of our community."

For a list of results please visit /yourcouncil/citycouncil/our-performance/community-survey/ for more information. Please note the final results were stratified to match the population structure and that all figures quoted in this press release exclude the 'Don't Knows'. The margin of error varies from three per cent to five per cent.