People’s environmental awareness, attitudes and knowledge are identified through repeated cross-sectional surveys. A survey was used to collect the data in 2000. In 2004, a University of Waikato survey used the same questions Waikato Regional Council used in its 2000 survey. In 2008, 2013, and 2016 Waikato Regional Council commissioned a repeat of the survey and expanded the number of questions from 6 to 15 to give more information about people's environmental attitudes, but only the basic set of 6 questions forms this indicator. In 2019, these 6 questions only were asked.
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:
The survey has been carried out seven times:
|Data collection type||Number of completed surveys||% of final sample composition|
An adapted version of the ‘New Environmental Paradigm Scale’ (NEP) was used for this indicator. The NEP was developed and tested by Dunlap and van Liere1(external link), sociologists at Washington State University in 1978. Further testing was done by other researchers using rural and urban communities in the United States. The NEP scale has also been used in Finland, Australia, and the United Kingdom. Dunlap and van Liere's original NEP survey had 12 statements. Thorough testing by other researchers has shown that a balanced selection of statements covering the three basic dimensions of ‘balance of nature', 'limits to growth', and 'human over nature’ yield consistently valid results.
Six statements were used for this indicator in the 2000 and 2004 surveys. These were repeated in the 2008, 2013 and 2016 surveys with an additional 9 statements. In 2019 the original six statements only were used where each respondent was asked to agree or disagree with each of the following statements:
Half of the six statements were worded so an ‘agree’ response was environmentally positive. The others (in italics) were worded so an ‘agree’ response was environmentally negative. These negative statements had their polarity reversed for the analysis. Scores were given on a five-point scale.
|The scale consisted of:||Points|
|Neither agree nor disagree||(3)|
‘Don’t knows’ and non-responses were coded as ‘Neither/nor’ on the answer scale. Then the scores for answers to each of the six statements were added together to deliver a rating out of 30.
The regional result for the six base statements is compiled as the percentage of respondents in three categories based on the 6-30 scale:
Regional results are given as the per cent of people giving each score. The mean, mode and mid-point are also presented. For each territorial authority area, the same process is used (per cent giving each score and then the average of the total).
Many factors influence people’s attitudes to their local environment, 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