City survey – housing

The latest ‘best city’ survey – see Dunedin, Wellington ‘best cities to live in’ – howed that surprisingly low numbers of people thought their city had a poor or very poor quality of life, ranging from 2% in Dunedin and Wellington to 4% in Auckland and Christchurch.

There were both unsurprising and surprising responses on one of the big issues (going by media coverage) – housing.

Stuff reports: Dunedin is the best NZ city to live in – just

While four in five urban Kiwis say they have a good quality of life, less than half consider their housing situation to be affordable.

Housing was one of the main reasons cited by people who said they had a poor quality of life, along with financial anxiety, poor health, and bad job prospects.

Unsurprisingly, Aucklanders were the worst hit, with just 41 per cent considering their housing situation affordable, less than the 42 per cent who said it was unaffordable.

That’s still an even split – probably not much different to the split between house owners and renters.

Those in Dunedin were the most likely to find their housing situation affordable, at 69 per cent.

People at the lower end of the financial scale will always find it difficult to afford housing, whether renting or owning.

It’s still possible to find houses in Dunedin for under $200k and $300k can by some fairly good properties.

Despite these housing issues life satisfaction remained quite high. Research leader David Stuart of the Wellington City Council was somewhat surprised by this.

“It’s a bit of a surprise that you can be facing pressure in one area in your life but still have other things that are working really well for you,” Stuart said.

“Housing is a driver of quality of life, but the strongest driver was a category of responses that would fit more into emotional and physical health.”

Sure many of us may like bigger flasher houses in nice quiet neighbourhoods with great views and handy to everything, but most people can get by with housing, whether renting or owning.

Some people really struggle with housing, probably quite a few in places like Auckland and Queenstown, but those problems are probably amplified somewhat by politicians with agendas and media seeking headlines.

They survey says that in most of the major cities in New Zealand from 1 in 25 to 1 in 50 people think that their city lifestyle is poor or very poor.

Most of us wouldn’t mind winning Lotto but I think most of us also have realistic expectations.

Dunedin, Wellington ‘best cities to live in’

‘Best city’ surveys give a bit of an indication of what people think but there are many factors to consider, like family, work, weather, education, health and what you are familiar with.

The ‘Quality of Life’ project does a two yearly survey, and in the latest one Dunedin and Wellington have come out on top:

Overall quality of life – extremely good+very good:

  • Dunedin: 27+61=88%
  • Wellington: 28+59=87%
  • Porirua: 19+65=84%
  • Hutt: 22+60-82%
  • Hamilton: 18+64=82%
  • Auckland: 18+61=79%
  • Christchurch: 20+58=78%

Those are percentages based on city councils.

Obviously with a much bigger population Auckland numerically has many more people satisfied with their city, but also quite a few more who are dissatisfied, 4% of one and a half million people is 60,000 people, about half the population of Dunedin.

A notable omission of the major cities is Tauranga.

Overall quality of life – poor+extremely poor

 

  • Dunedin: 2+0=2%
  • Wellington: 2+0=2%
  • Porirua: 2+1=3%
  • Hutt: 3+0=3%
  • Hamilton: 2+1=3%
  • Auckland: 4+0=4%
  • Christchurch: 4+0=4%

Those are remarkably low levels of dissatisfaction with cities, especially considering Christchurch and it’s problems with earthquakes. However about 20% of Christchurch residents said they were stressed “always” or “most of the time”.

Stuff reports: Dunedin is the best NZ city to live in – just

Dunedin has pipped Wellington to become the best city in New Zealand to live in, according to a new survey.

 

Statistically Dunedin and Wellington are the same so ‘best’ is barely . However if you combine the greater Wellington cities which include Porirua and Hutt they drop a bit down the scale.

Affordable housing, civic pride, and a strong sense of safety seem to be behind the good results for Dunedin in the biennial Quality of Life Survey.

Those in Dunedin were also more likely to be physically active and less likely to be stressed than their urban counterparts.

The study questioned 7155 Kiwis across seven urban areas and two wider regions. Quality of life in general was relatively steady across the two previous surveys in 2014 and 2012.

The Stuff article covers a number of issues affecting people’s opinion s on their cities, such as stress, traffic and safety.

Wellingtonians were also the most welcoming to outsiders. About three quarters of the capital’s respondents said that New Zealand becoming home for people with different lifestyles and cultures made their city a better place to live in.

Aucklanders were the least welcoming, with just over half (52 per cent) saying diversity was a net positive and one in five saying it was a net negative.

It’s interesting that Auckland has by far the most immigrants and is the least tolerant of them, but ‘locals’ will be seeing huge changes to their city (or in many cases their adopted city).

I will post separately on what the survey found about housing.

Vision for ‘best city in the world’

Auckland mayoral candidate John Palino has released a manifesto book titled A Vision for Auckland (PDF) in which he outlines how he thinks he can make Auckland “the best city in the world”.

Auckland has an amazing opportunity that many cities around the world could only dream of. While some may be opposed to growth, the alternative is far worse. So let’s take advantage of our challenge and make Auckland the best city in the world.

In ways an aim of ‘best city’ may be admirable, but it’s an impossible overall goal – impossible to judge and impossible to achieve.

The purpose of this book is to lay out a very clear choice between the current council’s strategy, which I am convinced is not working and will not work, and an alternative strategy I will put before you. I appreciate your reading this book and allowing me to paint a picture for you of my vision for Auckland.

Palino’s key strategy planks:

  • To implement a comprehensive and transparent budget that reduces rates by 10% over my first term
  • To introduce an Auckland Ratepayers Bill of Rights that will hold Council responsible for meeting and managing within budgets
  • To make Council spending transparent to Ratepayers so they can judge whether or not their money is being spent sensibly
  • To ensure Council priorities are focused on core services and resolving the key problems facing Auckland
  • To provide a planning and regulatory framework that allows and encourages the private sector to genuinely provide affordable new housing in the numbers required
  • To promote economic growth by ensuring business friendly policies and a pragmatic regulatory environment and associated processes
  • To provide a long term city plan that reduces traffic congestion by creating an environment that encourages and allows businesses to develop in locations and provide employment opportunities near where people want to live
  • To abandon the current council ideology that increasing housing density in existing suburbs will solve traffic congestion problems and provide affordable housing
  • To provide an Iwi consultation process for resource consents that is limited to genuine cultural issues, that is speedy and cost certain
  • To hold council officers to account for poor or tardy decisions by establishing a Citizens Decision Review Panel, including relevant external experts, that ratepayers can appeal to

Most of those are fairly general political palaver.

Will anyone believe that it’s feasible or possible to reduce rates by 10% in one term?

A mayor doesn’t have the power to do what they promise in an election campaign. The full council votes on everything, so to achieve what the want a major has to win majority vote in the election, and majority vote for everything in council.

So rates reduction and everything else Palino has in his book is aspirational rather than a promise.

Palino will have to convince voters he can manage a mayoralty and manage the council, and have his say along the way.

‘Best city in the world’ is over the top unattainable. ‘Best candidate for mayor’ might be possible.