Page content Page content Section navigation Topic navigation Accessibility keys Sitemap Search Contact us www.govt.nz portal
Go to Waikato Regional Council homepage
search icon mail icon contact us icon

  Environment » Environmental Information » Environmental indicators » Social and economic: monitoring and reporting » People’s environmental knowledge » Methods - how we monitor

Methods - how we monitor

Where and how we collect the data

People’s environmental awareness, attitudes, knowledge and behaviours are identified through repeated cross-sectional surveys. The structure of the questionnaire measures the key concepts of environmental awareness (knowledge, awareness and concern), attitudes, and behaviour.

Monitoring sites

Previous years have seen data collection primarily completed using Computer-Aided Telephone Interviewing (CATI) and supplemented with face to face intercept interviewing to ensure a representative sample was collected across the region. However, the significant decrease in landline ownership over the past three years has made collecting a robust sample using CATI difficult. As such, the 2019 survey method changed to a mixed method approach to data collection. The collection methods were designed to ensure that a wide cross section of residents were reached within this project. A total n=1,250 surveys were completed across all sources. Sample sources for data collection comprised of the following methods:

  • Electoral roll: this was the primary sample source for this project, with n=14,000 invitations sent to Waikato Region residents. Each invite included a link to the survey for residents to complete the survey online. Any residents unable to complete the survey online were able to request a paper copy be sent to them.
  • Online collection: Versus Research collected additional surveys online through paid social media advertisements and also through a third party panel provider.
  • Intercept interviewing: Hard copy surveys were distributed across the region and were placed in retail outlets and supermarkets.
  • Telephone interviewing: A small telephone component was included to ensure there were a sufficient number of responses achieved in some of the smaller rural areas.

Monitoring frequency

Surveys will be repeated every three years, with the next survey planned for 2022.

Monitoring history

This survey has been carried out seven times:

  • June 1998 (benchmark survey)
  • October to November 2000
  • September to October 2003
  • September to October 2006
  • January to March 2013
  • February to March 2016
  • April to May 2019

The table below shows the range of knowledge statements asked over the years (noting that no knowledge statements were asked in 2003). The 2019** survey includes five knowledge statements for this indicator. 

As indicated in the table, the statements have varied in terms of the number and type of statement asked.  There have however been two consistent statements asked.  In five surveys, the following was asked:

Pollution in the region's rivers and streams comes mainly from farmland.

The statement below was asked in four surveys:

In this region, discharges of treated human sewage are a major cause of pollution in our waterways.

Range of knowledge statements asked for each survey over the years*

1998

2000

2006

2013

2016

2019**

Pollution in the region’s rivers and streams comes mainly from farmland

 

*

*

*

*

*

In this region, discharges of treated human sewage are a major cause of pollution in our waterways

 

 

*

*

*

*

Air pollution comes mainly from people's home fires

       

*

*

Most air pollution comes from people's home fires

 

 

*

 

 

 

Pollution in the region’s rivers and streams comes mainly from industry

 

 

 

*

*

*

The biggest driver of climate change is the increase in greenhouse gases from human activity

 

 

 

 

*

*

Most of the oil in our waterways comes from spillage from industries

 

*

*

 

 

 

Grazing stock in the native bush is not harmful to the bush

 

*

 

 

 

 

Land-based activities have an effect on the health of our coasts and harbours

 

*

 

 

 

 

Most stormwater drains/road gutters drain directly into streams, rivers or the sea

*

*

 

 

 

 

Pouring used cooking oil down the sink is one good way to dispose of it

*

 

 

 

 

 

Most air pollution is caused by cars and trucks

*

 

 

 

 

 

People create too much rubbish

*

 

 

 

 

 

*Note that no knowledge statements were asked in the 2003 survey.

**Although a new statement was added in 2019: ‘The biggest driver of climate change is the increase of greenhouse gases from farming activities’, it is not included in this indicator. Due to ambiguity the statement does not specify within the region, or type of farming and there are variations of how to interpret the warming effect of different gasses, as measured by CO2e (CO2 equivalent).

Measurement technique

  • The 2019 survey involved a mixed method approach to data collection. The collection methods were designed to ensure that a wide cross section of residents were reached. A total n=1,250 surveys were completed across all sources. Sample sources for data collection comprised of the following:
Data collection type Number of completed surveys % of final sample composition
Electoral roll 959 77%
Online 217 17%
Intercept 48 4%
Telephone 26 2%
Total 1,250 100%
  • The questions were developed, reviewed and pilot-tested before inclusion in the final survey.
  • Age and gender weightings have been applied to the final data set for this project. Weighting ensures that specific demographic groups are neither under- nor over-represented in the final data set and that each group is represented as it would be in the population. The proportions used for the gender and age weights are taken from the 2013 Census (Statistics New Zealand).
  • The final sample size provides a maximum margin of error of +/- 2.8 per cent at the 95 per cent confidence interval. 

How this indicator is compiled

In 1998 and 2000, people were asked: ‘Do you agree or disagree with this statement?’ and then read a set of statements about things which might harm the environment. In 2006, they were asked: 'Could you please tell me if you agree or disagree with each? In 2013, and 2016 respondents were asked to rate each statement using a five point scale, specifying whether they strongly agree, agree, disagree, strongly disagree or neither agree nor disagree with each statement. In 2019, instead of neither agree nor disagree, ‘depends’ was used. Therefore, comparisons over time should be interpreted with caution.

Since the survey began a mix of negative and positive statements have been used.  The negative statements' polarity have been reversed for the analysis.

See monitoring history for the format of the statements.

The scores of each statement were added together to give a rating out of four in 1998 and 2006, and a rating out of five in 2000, a rating out of three 2013 and a rating out of five in 2016.  The regional result was compiled into the per cent of people giving each score and the average was calculated.

Limitations

Many factors influence people’s environmental knowledge, including where and how people live, what news media items they have recently seen and who they are. These influences are not measured by quantitative questionnaires.

 

 

Updated 27 June 2019

About this site     Contact us     Feedback and complaints New Zealand Government