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Survey provides interesting snapshot of Christchurch

Wednesday, October 19, 2022   Posted in: Resources and Information By: Administrator With tags: survey, Report, health, wellbeing, Community

Christchurch City Council Newsline: 19th October 2022

A biennial survey has cast light on how the global pandemic and rising living costs are affecting the quality of life of people in New Zealand’s biggest cities, including Christchurch.

The Quality of Life survey questioned 6906 New Zealanders about their perceptions of life in our main urban areas – Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Hamilton, Hutt City, Porirua, Tauranga and Wellington. The results are released nationally.

More than 700 people from Christchurch took part in the survey, with 81 percent rating Christchurch as a great place to live - which is similar to 2020.

Quality of life

However, the number of Christchurch residents who rate their quality of life as good, very good or extremely good has fallen from 87 percent in 2020 to 81 percent – a similar drop to that seen in the other eight cities. 

Thirty-four percent of the Christchurch participants reported their quality of life has decreased in the past 12 months, similar to the eight cities average. Many respondents cited issues associated with cost of living challenges and financial wellbeing as the reason. However, 63 percent of those in paid employment are satisfied with their work/life balance, significantly higher than the eight cities average, and 80 percent of Christchurch respondents said their house was suitable for their needs.

“Cities such as Christchurch saw declines in quality of life ratings this year compared to the previous survey in 2020, which is likely a reflection of the challenging times that people have faced as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic and rising living costs,” says Christchurch City Council Monitoring and Research Team Leader Kath Jamieson.

Economic wellbeing

“The survey asked some specific questions around housing and economic wellbeing. Some people are struggling to afford everyday needs, with 15 percent saying they don’t have enough money and 36 percent saying they have just enough. Forty per cent say that COVID-19 has had a negative impact on their finances,” Ms Jamieson says.

COVID-19 has also impacted businesses, with 42 percent of those who owned businesses saying they had reduced overhead costs and 35 percent saying they had reduced staff numbers or hours as a result of the pandemic.

“The number of Christchurch respondents who find their housing costs affordable has also fallen, from 59 percent in 2020 to 46 percent in 2022. That figure is still higher though than the eight-city average, which sits at 39 percent,” Ms Jamieson says.

Health

Quizzed about their health and wellbeing, 73 percent of Christchurch respondents rated their physical health as good, very good or excellent, similar to the eight cities average. However, 38 percent said COVID-19 had negatively affected their physical health and 24 percent saying they, or someone in their household, had delayed seeking health treatment or advice due to the pandemic, both lower than the eight cities average.

Mental health is becoming more of a challenge; 68 percent rated their mental health positively (down from 72 percent in 2020) and 58 percent of Christchurch respondents said COVID-19 has had a negative impact on their mental health.

Community wellbeing

Forty-eight per cent of Christchurch respondents reported feeling a sense of community with others in their neighbourhood.

But 71 percent said racism or discrimination toward particular groups of people is a problem in Christchurch. This was significantly higher than the eight cities average of 54 percent.

Crime and safety also continue to be issues in Christchurch, with only 36 percent of Christchurch respondents saying they felt safe in the central city after dark – down from 44 percent in 2020, and bringing us closer to the eight cities average.

Asked about local decision-making, 29 percent of Christchurch respondents said they had confidence that the Council makes decisions in the best interests of the city, the same as 2020 and similar to the cities’ average of 27 percent. One in three (32 percent) said the public had some or a large influence on Council decision-making, slightly higher than the eight cities average of 28 percent.

Findings on climate action

The survey findings show that Christchurch respondents are more likely to be managing their waste as a climate action than residents in other surveyed cities.

Three in five Christchurch respondents are taking purchasing actions such as buying fewer products and using less plastic to combat climate change and just over half are taking food related actions, such as eating more plant based food, growing their own food and shopping locally or seasonally.

Forty-two per cent were taking transport actions, such as choosing to walk, bike or take the bus, flying less or driving an electric vehicle, which was higher than the eight cities average. Eleven per cent were cycling more often, higher than the eight cities average.

Just over one in 10 (12 percent) were taking no climate action at all - the same as the cities average.

More residents are concerned about pollution compared to the eight cities average, with 71 percent saying water pollution is a problem and 45 percent saying air pollution was a problem.

What the data will be used for

Ms Jamieson says the results of the survey will feed into the Council’s Community Outcomes monitoring programme and will be used to inform Long Term Plan decisions and Council strategies.

Read the full results of the Quality of Life survey.