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Published: 2013-09-27 00:00:00

More than 90 per cent of Waikato residents know what the regional council does and 61 per cent say it provides good or very good value for money, according to a recent survey.

The high-level results of the council’s 2013 annual Image and Awareness brand survey were presented to the council yesterday. The survey tracks Waikato ratepayers’ and residents’ awareness of Waikato Regional Council activities, their preferred information sources, understanding of decision-making processes and levels of satisfaction.

Versus Research managing director Natalie Richards told the council it was making good progress on bedding in its name change from Environment Waikato to Waikato Regional Council.

She told the council it was a financially prudent decision to phase in the change but it did come at an initial cost to people’s awareness and understanding of the council. 

“You’re seeing good improvements following an expected dip in the 2012 survey as a result of the name change,” she said.

In the latest survey, 72 per cent of people could name one or more Waikato Regional Council activities off the cuff. When asked if they knew the council was involved in activities read from a list, awareness increased to 93 per cent.

“These are positive results but still not quite back to 2010 levels of 84 per cent and 99 per cent.”

Positively, residents’ confidence in the role of the council has grown in the past year, demonstrated by a greater proportion of residents who feel the council leads the way for a sustainable future (63 per cent agree or strongly agree), does useful planning, consenting and regulatory work (64 per cent agree or strongly agree), works effectively for the sustainable management of natural resources (65 per cent agree or strongly agree) and provides clear information (55 per cent agree or strongly agree).

There had also been a significant increase in confidence with 59 per cent of residents agreeing or strongly agreeing that they have confidence that the council makes decisions in the best interests of the region.

Fifty four per cent say they would like to have more of a say in what the council does, with 17 per cent of these people saying they’re interested in environmental issues.  However, 37 per cent don’t have any particular issue in mind or are unsure about the issues that might be important to them.

Waikato people say their preferred communication channels are email, letter, website.

The telephone survey of 600 people was conducted during July 2013. It provides an overall maximum margin of error of plus or minus 4 per cent (95 per cent confidence) which provides a statistically robust result.

You can download the pdf below to read the WRC Brand and Communications Study.

WRC Brand and Communications Study (273 kb)