12  November 2021

Carterton District Council’s 2021 Annual Residents Survey results are now publicly available and provides valuable insights into what the Carterton community values and where it feels the Council can improve.

The survey provides an overview of the general satisfaction of residents, as well as a specific breakdown in relation to services, facilities and other activities performed by the council. The annual survey took place in March 2021. To ensure continuity of results, the methodology used for the most recent survey was the same as that used in previous years.

Once again, Carterton’s public facilities and parks, reserves and open spaces were rated exceptionally well, with 89% satisfaction with its overall outdoor spaces. The Events Centre rated highly, with 87% of residents either satisfied or very satisfied, an increase of 4% on the previous year. Our library also increased on its previous year’s result, with a 93% satisfaction rate. Our Information Centre remains popular with a satisfaction of 91%, up from 90% in 2020. Our free outdoor summer swimming continues to be highly valued by residents which was reflected in an 81% satisfaction rating.

The current survey shows there is a stronger perception by residents of the Council’s efforts to engage with them and increase participation in decision making. This is reflected in the communication measure ‘making it clear how you can be involved in the Council’s decision making’ (45% up from 39%) and ‘encouraging involvement’ within reputation (51% up from 40%). The Council will continue in its current direction of providing communications that continue to emphasise opportunities for engagement and increased transparency.

The survey also highlights many areas of improvement for the Council and provides valuable insights into areas which may be causing dissatisfaction. The results showed residents’ perception of receiving value for money is low. After pricing related measures, ‘infrastructure’ has the most impact on value perceptions (13%) and this is being evaluated less favourably with only 46% of residents satisfied. These are areas the Council is committed to improving on by successfully delivering on its core infrastructure projects and providing regular progress and financial updates, which should in turn help reflect more value for money.

It unfortunately comes as no surprise that the Council only received a 49% satisfaction rating for overall water supply in 2021, compared to 74% in 2020, as the survey invites were sent during a boil water notice. Verbatim comments suggest the lower evaluation was strongly influenced by the low-level E. coli detected in the urban water supply. The Council has since made significant changes to its processes and is currently in the process of upgrading its Frederick Street Water Treatment Plant. The Council has worked closely with its Drinking Water assessor and implemented advice to change to twice weekly testing, coupled with real time monitoring and recording for free chlorine levels with daily flushing.

The full results are released as part of the 2020/21 Annual Report in the 17 November Extraordinary Council Meeting agenda which can be found at www.cdc.govt.nz/meetings