D-Day for Council: Elected reps to find out what Wanganui really thinks of them & Council services - 4/06/2007Tomorrow (Tuesday, June 5) is shaping as D-Day for the council, its staff and its services – the anticipated release of the 'Community Views Survey' that tests "public perceptions and interpretations of council services and representation".
The survey is required to fulfil the statutory requirements of the Local Government Act and is usually conducted every three years – within the term of each council. The last one was in 2003 and the one prior to that in 1999.
The same questions are asked to ensure continuity and to measure council's actions or inactions against previous standards and findings.
The poll was conducted and prepared by Perceptive Research and telephone polled 405 persons with a detailed questionnaire. It was conducted early last month (May 2007).
Mayor Michael Laws said that it was the first opportunity to "get a real snapshot of the public's view of council, its elected representatives and its services. The 2003 survey exposed some limitations in the last council as did the one before that. In 1999, for example, the poll contained the shocking information that almost 50% of people would leave Wanganui if they could".
"There will be a degree of nervousness around the Council table. This is an independent piece of research and gets a perspective from ordinary Wanganui folk. The council's critics and cheerleaders opinions count for nothing against this survey. This is what Wanganui really thinks."
- Dissatisfaction comparisons between 2003 and 2007
- Intention of moving out of Wanganui
- Perception of quality of life in Wanganui (compared with 3 years ago)
- Rating the performance of Wanganui's mayor and councillors
- Rating the performance of Council staff
- Satisfaction/dissatisfaction with Council provided facilities and services
Mr Laws said that each council in New Zealand was required to commission an independent research company to test public responses and perceptions "and they can and have provided some nasty shocks. You get a false perception of what people really think from submissions to annual plans and the like".
The 'Community Views Survey' will be reported to a special full Council meeting at 10am tomorrow (Tuesday 5 June) prior to the hearing of oral submissions to the draft Annual Plan 2007/08. The presentations will be held in the Council Chambers.