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Published: 2016-09-22 00:00:00

The vast majority of people living in the Waikato region rate their overall quality of life positively, according to the results of a new survey incorporating Waikato statistics for the first time.

The Colmar Brunton ‘Quality of Life’ survey measures perceptions of New Zealanders aged 18 and over across a range of factors that impact on quality of life. These include health and wellbeing, crime and safety, community, culture and social networks, council decision-making processes, environment, public transport, economic wellbeing, and housing.  

The survey said 84 per cent of Waikato people rated quality of life as good or extremely good, with 29 per cent saying their quality of life has increased compared to 12 months ago.

Also, 82 per cent of people living in Hamilton rated overall quality of life as good or extremely good.

Previously Waikato Regional Council has done MARCO regional perceptions surveys every three years but this year decided, with Hamilton City Council, to participate in the Quality of Life Survey along with seven other councils nationally.

“The latest Quality of Life Survey results bear out findings in previous years which suggest Waikato people are a very positive lot,” said regional council principal strategic advisor, Dr Beat Huser.

But the latest survey also indicates groups of people are experiencing the likes of poor financial wellbeing, poor health, work-related stress and housing problems.

“Because it’s the first year we’ve done this survey, we’ll be analysing the data closely and comparing it to other research we’ve done in the Waikato to see whether any initiatives might be recommended over time to reverse any negative trends,” said Dr Huser.

In particular, the results will be incorporated into regional wellbeing monitoring and indicators through the Waikato Progress Indicators website.

The latest data shows people living in the Waikato region scored health and wellbeing and relationships as the most important reasons for a good quality of life, higher than respondents from any of the other council areas surveyed. 

But poor financial wellbeing and poor health topped the reasons for a negative quality of life.

Forty-two per cent have more than enough or enough income to cover costs of everyday needs, but an additional 38 per cent say they have “just enough”.

Over a third of respondents (38 per cent) in the Waikato region agreed that they understand how their council makes decisions, over half (53 per cent) want to have more of a say in what their council does, and half (49 per cent) of respondents have confidence that their local council makes decisions in their best interests – the second highest score of all councils surveyed.

Residents will get a say in who governs the local and regional councils that support our quality of life at the upcoming 2016 local government elections. People enrolled to vote will have received their papers in the mail over the past few days. Polling closes at 12 noon on Saturday 8 October.

A total of 7155 New Zealanders completed the Quality of Life survey – 1280 residents from the Waikato (537 from Hamilton and 743 other regional residents) completed the 2016 survey, giving a high level of confidence in the results.

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