Community & Environment

Increased confidence in Council decision-making

Hamiltonians are now much more confident in Hamilton City Council’s decision-making and have a greater sense of community in their neighbourhood.

Those are the key results of Council’s twice-yearly survey of Hamilton residents.

The survey found confidence that Council makes decisions in the best interest of Hamilton had increased from 30% in December 2019 to 42% in June.

The 12% improvement over just six months was the biggest change in survey results.

Respondents said agreeing with Council decisions and having trust in Council to do what is best for the city were the reason for their views.

Another 16% disagreed Council makes good decisions, down from 21%, while 42% neither agreed nor disagreed.

The number of people who agreed Hamilton was a great place to live has also increased from six months ago, to 77%, and residents’ sense of pride in Hamilton has gone up to 53%.

Hamilton Mayor Paula Southgate took heart that more people were confident in Council’s performance but said there was still a long way to go in rebuilding trust and creating and nurturing strong partnerships.

“Elected Members are acutely aware that we needed to see significant improvements around perceptions of how we performed as a Council. I don’t think anyone could possibly have been happy with the pretty dismal results of the last survey,” she said.

“So, while it’s great to see increased levels of confidence in this Council’s decision-making, there is still room for improvement. The onus is on us, as Elected Members, to deliver that and certainly that’s my focus and the focus of all Councillors.”

Council’s Strategy and Communication General Manager Sean Hickey was also pleased with the upward result.

“Our people are working hard every day to achieve Council’s purpose of improving the wellbeing of Hamiltonians,” he says.

“It’s nice to see that what we’re doing is reflected in our improving reputation among the community.

“Across New Zealand’s major cities, confidence in council decision making is sitting around 32%, so to be at 42% ­– 10% above the norm – is a great score for us.”

The survey also found 47% of people feel a sense of community with others in their neighbourhood, up from 39% in December.

The COVID-19 lockdown was specifically cited by 9% of respondents as a reason for why they feel closer to their neighbours.

The survey asked:

Is Hamilton a great place to live? 77% agree (up 4%) 7% disagree (no change)
Is Hamilton better or worse compared to 12 months ago? 32% better (down 3%) 19% worse (down 3%)
Are you proud of how Hamilton looks and feels? 53% agree (up 3%) 12% disagree (down 1%)
Do you feel a sense of community with others in your neighbourhood? 47% agree (up 8%) 15% disagree (down 3%)
Do you have confidence that Council makes decisions that are in the best interest of the city? 42% agree (up 12%) 16% disagree (down 5%)


Survey questions are based on key indicators of residents’ wellbeing, which Council committed to improving through the 2018-28 10-Year Plan.

Council surveys residents every six months to track its progress and get data to supplement the two-yearly quality of life survey of people in New Zealand’s major cities.

The online survey by Neilsen sampled 370 people and the results are weighted by age, gender and ethnicity to be representative of those aged 18 years and over who live in Hamilton. There is a margin of error of 5%.

It was conducted between 28 May and 12 June.

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