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  Environment » Environmental Information » Environmental indicators » Social and economic: monitoring and reporting » Natural hazards awareness and readiness » How we monitor

How we monitor

Where and how we collect the data

How aware and ready people are for natural hazards events is identified through repeated cross-sectional surveys.

Monitoring sites

A random selection of individual households within the Waikato region.

Monitoring frequency

This survey has been carried out four times:

  • June 2 to 28, 1998
  • October 14 to November 13, 2000
  • September 2 to October 5, 2003
  • September 13 to October 29, 2006.

Surveys will be repeated every three years, with the next survey planned for September 2009.

Monitoring history

Questions relating to hazard awareness and people's readiness were included in all three of the 1998, 2000 and 2003 environmental awareness, attitudes and actions surveys. The hazard awareness question in the 1998 survey was simplified for the 2000, 2003 and 2006 surveys. The people's readiness question was not included in the 2006 survey.

In 1998, the questions were: “Can you tell me what natural hazards or dangers there are in your area, which could damage you or your property?” with the prompt “Natural hazards are those caused by nature, not just by people.” Those that could name a natural hazard were then asked to assess their level of readiness to cope with a natural disaster: “If there was a hazard event tomorrow, how prepared do you think you would be to cope with it?”

In 2000 and 2003, the questions were: “What natural hazards do you know of that could damage you or your property?” and the prompt was “Natural hazards are those disasters or emergencies caused by nature.” All people interviewed were then asked to: “Imagine there were a natural disaster tomorrow. How prepared do you feel you are to cope with it?”

In 2006, the question was: "What natural hazards do you know of that could damage you or your property?" and the prompt was "Natural hazards are those disasters or emergencies caused by nature." The question asking about readiness for a hazard event was not asked in 2006, but will be repeated in the 2009 survey. The intention is to ask the readiness question every second survey.

Measurement technique

In 1998, the information was gathered from a telephone survey of 1037 randomly chosen residents, aged 18 years and older, living in the Waikato region, using a semi-structured, quantitative questionnaire. The number of people interviewed in the 2000 survey using this approach increased to 1873. In 2003, 1822 people were interviewed using the same approach. In 2006, 1003 people were interviewed using the same approach.

To reflect the Waikato region's population (age, gender, ethnicity and locality), quotas were used and weighting applied. The margins of error are approximately plus or minus 3 per cent in 1998, plus or minus 2.26 per cent in 2000, plus or minus 2.3 per cent in 2003 and plus or minus 3.1 per cent in 2006 at the 95 per cent confidence level. At least 40 residents in each district council area were sampled so that these sub-groups can be analysed.

  • The questions were developed, reviewed and pilot-tested before inclusion in the final survey.
  • The survey sizes were of sufficient size (1037 in 1998, 1873 in 2000, 1822 in 2003 and 1003 in 2006) to achieve low margins of error at the 95 per cent confidence level.
  • A stratified-random sampling technique ensured the sample closely approximated the balance of gender, age, location and ethnicity of the region’s population. Weighting was used for location and rural-urban mix to ensure that the sample matched the region’s population characteristics.

How this indicator is compiled

In 2006, people's awareness of natural hazards was measured by asking them the open-ended question:

"What natural hazards do you know of that could damage you or your property?"

Respondents were invited to name as many hazards as they could.

The data from this question was then grouped into three categories:

  • Not aware of any natural hazards.
  • Aware of one or two natural hazards.
  • Aware of three or more natural hazards.


See Monitoring history for the format of the 1998 question.

In 2000 and 2003, but not in 2006, all people were then asked the following question to indicate how ready they were for a natural hazard event: "Imagine there were a natural disaster tomorrow. How prepared do you feel you are to cope with it?"

Respondents were given the choice of five categories:

  • Very well prepared.
  • Fairly well prepared.
  • Not very well prepared.
  • Not prepared at all.
  • Don’t know.

For the 1998, 2000 and 2003 surveys the results from the second question were then combined into two categories, people who are ready for a natural hazard event and people who are not. This result was then re-combined with their awareness level to give five categories:

  • Aware and ready.
  • Aware but not ready.
  • Not aware but ready.
  • Not aware or ready.
  • Not aware and not asked (1998 survey option only).

The natural hazards people mentioned correspond with those most likely to affect the district council area they live in.

Guidelines and standards

None relevant to this indicator.

Limitations

For 1998, the level of readiness may be understated because those who did not name a natural hazard were not asked about their level of preparation for a natural hazard event. Also the level of preparation may be under- or over-stated, as it is based on people’s own assessment.

Quality control procedures

In 2000 five per cent of each interviewer’s respondents were re-contacted by another interviewer to check:

  • that the interview was carried out
  • key questions were asked
  • responses were correctly recorded.

In 2003 and 2006, all interviews were conducted from a call centre where supervisors monitored interviewers to ensure that:

  • the interview was carried out, using a polite and neutral style
  • key questions were asked
  • responses were correctly recorded.

The location and district council area given by the respondents were checked against census areas (meshblock coding in 1998 and nearest street intersections in 2000, and actual area, town, city or suburb in 2003) to ensure spatial reliability.

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