Wellingtonians’ overall satisfaction with city falls to record low, but arts scene rich and diverse

By Caitlin Lester, RNZ student intern

Wellingtonians’ general levels of satisfaction with their city have fallen to a record low, according to a Wellington City Council survey.

However, there is satisfaction in some areas including transport, events and council facilities.

The Residents Monitoring Survey is conducted annually to provide an estimate of what residents want and need.

Wellington City Council uses the results of the RMS to inform their decision making.

Still the coolest little city?

A record low of 50 percent surveyed residents feel a sense of pride in how Wellington looks and feels, down from 56 percent in 2023. This figure was 84 percent in 2019.

A record low of 37 percent of people think central Wellington is “lively and attractive”. This figure was 80 percent in 2019.

However, residents have been feeling more satisfied with their suburban hubs since 2018.

A total of 64 percent of residents surveyed in 2024 think their local suburban area is lively and attractive.

Night safety concerns

Forty three percent of Wellington residents are concerned about safety in the central city after dark.

This figure has sunk from 57 percent in 2022 and 71 percent in 2019.

Perceptions of safety during the day have remained steadily high since 2020 at 86-90 percent.

Respondents who reported feeling unsafe in the CBD were asked to explain why in their own words.

The most common themes were drugs and alcohol (41 percent), rough sleepers (31 percent) and aggressive or intimidating behaviour (29 percent).

An analysis of police data showed that despite these perceptions, Wellington figures for ‘victimisation’ had increased 12 percent between 2021-2023 while other main cities have increased 30-50 percent.

A total of 76 percent of residents feel safe in their local suburban area.

Can’t get no satisfaction

General satisfaction with Wellington City Council performance has fallen from 33 percent to 29 percent.

Satisfaction with the city council’s decision-making process has risen slightly to 20 percent from 17 percent in 2023 and an all-time low of 12 percent in 2021.

As in previous years, the main reason for dissatisfaction (38 percent) is because the city council does not “listen to residents”.

Only 29 percent think the council’s approach to building resilience is satisfactory.

Storm water infrastructure satisfaction is at 35 percent and has been stable (34-39 percent) for the past four years.

This figure has steadily declined from 68 percent in 2016.

Just over half of responding residents (54 percent) said they are satisfied with the cleanliness of Wellington’s streets, while 56 percent think roadside vegetation is well maintained.

The good news

Despite poor satisfaction ratings in key areas, Wellington must be doing something right, with high satisfaction scores for culture, events, facilities and transport.

A total of 81 percent of respondents were in agreement that Wellington has a rich and diverse arts scene.

There is also a high level of satisfaction (86 percent) with city council events among attendees.

Residents were happy overall with council facilities like pools (75-95 percent), libraries (80-90 percent) and sports facilities (71-89 percent).

Green and open spaces have a satisfaction rating of 77-88 percent.

There has been a large jump in how easy people feel it is to get around on public transport – from 38 percent last year to 58 percent in 2024.

2023 was a year fraught with bus driver shortages and reduced services.

Over the last three years there has also been a large increase in satisfaction in cycling infrastructure.

Forty one percent of respondents reported being satisfied with cycling infrastructure, up from 27 percent in 2023 and 17 percent in 2022.

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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