INDEPENDENT NEWS

Residents rate quality of life in Christchurch

Published: Mon 6 Oct 2003 05:04 PM
National report shows residents rate quality of life in Christchurch
The pride that Christchurch residents feel about how their city looks and feels is reinforced by a new report on life in big cities.
The report, Quality of Life in New Zealand's Eight Largest Cities, seeks to measure what life is like in Christchurch, Dunedin, Wellington, Hamilton, Manukau, North Shore, Waitakere and Auckland.
Ninety-two per cent of Christchurch residents surveyed felt that their over-all quality of life is either good or very good.
"The positive results don't end there," says Christchurch Mayor Garry Moore. "This figure is backed by other statistics in the report where Christchurch rates highly when it comes to civic engagement, housing affordability and the way residents feel about the city's built environment."
The report also finds Christchurch is among the "greenest" cities in New Zealand, with its gardens, parks and open spaces rating highly.
"We've got the highest proportion of residents using a bicycle to get to work and, along with Dunedin, we're the most affordable city to live in, in terms of mortgage affordability and weekly rents. We've got one of the highest numbers of residential building consents being issued and are one of the highest polling cities when it comes to welcoming diversity," Mr Moore says. "The report is proof again that we are a financially sound city and that we are also a city with an active, involved heart."
Mr Moore says the statistics in the report relating to recorded suspensions from schools in Christchurch, and the numbers of young people coming into contact with the Police come as no surprise.
"A lot of the variation in the statistics is due to the way Christchurch applies its policy when it comes to tracking this age group, rather than it being a case of having a higher youth problem.
"We already know that youth offending is a serious issue. That's why we've got programmes in place to track this age group from when they leave school, so we know where they're going and what's happening to them."
An example is �eMoving On'- the Actionworks School Leaver database, which tracks and supports school leavers in the critical early stages of their career pathways.
The City Council and several government and other local authority agencies have also recently launched a joint plan focusing on outcomes for young people aged 13 to 19 to address specific issues.
"We can't achieve social change on our own. We need to all work together as a city to make a difference," says Mr Moore.
The report also shows that Christchurch residents are concerned about air pollution.
Mr Moore says it is pleasing to note that Christchurch residents also rated highly that decisions made by their council were in their best interests.
"Christchurch polled as one of the top three cities as far as residents feeling they have some or a large amount of influence over their council's decisions. This is heartening to see."
He says the results suggest that Christchurch residents appear to better understand how their council makes decisions and so have a higher belief that they can influence those decisions.
The Quality of Life report is a joint project between the councils of the eight cities covered. It updates and expands a similar report in 2001, which covered the country's six largest cities. The report uses information from a range of sources, including Census data and results from a specially commissioned public opinion survey.
- The full report, Quality of Life in New Zealand's Eight Largest Cities (embargoed until 11am Tuesday 7 October), will be available at http://www.bigcities.govt.nz from 11am Tuesday 7 October.

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