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Masterton’s residents want value for money

Masterton’s Queen Elizabeth Park. In a survey, district residents said they were very happy with leisure areas in the district. PHOTO/FILE

 

MARCUS ANSELM

[email protected]

More than half of Masterton’s ratepayers do not feel they are getting value for money.

A survey conducted by the Tauranga-based Key Research consultancy found only 45 per cent of district residents quizzed felt they received value for their ratepayer dollars.

Earlier this year, Carterton District Council revealed only 35 per cent of residents questioned felt they received bang for their buck.

Pollsters contacted 3000 Masterton residents randomly selected from the electoral roll during April to May this year, through the covid-19 lockdown.

Of the 579 respondents, fewer than half felt Masterton District Council [MDC] provided “satisfaction with value for money”.

The report’s executive summary said MDC needed to “improve perceptions of value for money and financial management”.

“These elements are highly important to residents and they would value council making improvements.”

A total of 52 per cent of respondents rated the council seven or above out of 10 when it came to overall performance, and there was 64 per cent satisfaction with services and facilities.

Kath Ross, MDC Chief Executive, said value was an area of focus for the authority.

“We haven’t done a satisfaction survey of this kind recently, so these results provide a useful benchmark on which to measure our progress in future.

“Our staff put a lot of effort into the work they do for the community, and I think that is reflected in many of the satisfaction results, though there will always be areas where we can improve.”

The report said MDC should also monitor its performance around scores for trust, regulatory services, and roads and footpaths.

Like their neighbours in Carterton, Mastertonians were happy with their district’s parks and recreation facilities.

More than four out of five [81 per cent] raved about their leisure areas.

MDC’s rubbish and recycling, and library and archive services were also praised by locals.

An MDC spokesperson said it was the first time MDC used Key Research.

As such, the results are “therefore not directly comparable, and percentage differences could reflect the different categorisation and approaches taken by each survey company”.

MDC had used the National Research Bureau [NRB] in previous years. In NRB’s final survey, in 2018, pollsters primarily phone surveyed residents randomly selected from the White Pages and conducted a small number of face to face interviews.

This year, the new provider sent invitations to participate in an online survey to a sample of residents, randomly selected from the electoral roll.

Despite that, the highest and lowest ranking services were generally consistent.

South Wairarapa District Council plans to check in with its ratepayers during the current financial year.

-NZLDR

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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