Carterton District Council’s 2020 Annual Residents Survey results are in and have provided valuable insights into what its community values.

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 was due to be undertaken during the 2019 year but was delayed until February 2020 due to the 2019 election period. This has meant an 18-month gap between the 2018 survey results and the 2019 results. To ensure continuity of results, the methodology used for the most recent survey was the same as that used for the 2017 and 2018 surveys.

Once again, Carterton’s public facilities and parks, reserves and open spaces were rated exceptionally well, with 77% and 78% respectively being satisfied or very satisfied with these. The Events Centre rated highly, with 83% of residents either satisfied or very satisfied. The library received another fantastic response, with 92% satisfaction. The extended pool hours over summer were a hit, and this was reflected in the swimming pool rating which was at 82%, up from 75% in 2018. The Information Centre also remained popular with a satisfaction of 90%.

The results also gave the council some areas to focus on over the coming year. The overall satisfaction of the council’s performance has declined to 46% in 2020. The results also showed residents’ perception of receiving value for money has declined to 35% in 2020. While the Council is confident it delivers its services in a very cost-effective way (with a previous independent assessment of Councils identifying that our operating expenses were among the lowest in the country among rural and provincial councils), the survey results show Council could do a lot better at explaining its activities and the costs to ratepayers and residents.  Addressing its communications about how rates are spent will be a core focus over the next year. The council also intends to get out into the community and talk about its plans for Carterton’s future, which is very important post COVID-19.

One of the council’s existing focuses for 2020/2021 is the wellbeing of the community, and felt it was important to include questions about health and wellbeing in the survey for the first time. This will help the council build a picture on the wellbeing of the district and as well as plan for future years.

The survey results also highlighted residents wanted to be able to communicate with the council more. The council has increased its engagement activities in recent months through activities ranging from planned events such as the annual A&P show, Waifest and local school fairs, to informal chats at the Happy to Chat bench in town and impromptu conversations in the community. Councillors will continue to engage with residents and have more conversations as Wairarapa COVID recovery plans are progressed. Council and Committee meetings will also continue to be livestreamed, so all conversations had during these meetings are accessible to the public at any time.

The 2020 Annual Residents Survey can be found here