Wellington Scoop

Satisfaction with the WCC has halved in 12 months – official survey

council satisfaction

A survey of 1500 Wellington residents shows that satisfaction with how the city council makes decisions has halved this year – only 16% were satisfied compared with 30% last year. The survey also shows a decline in the number of residents who agree that Wellington is a good place to live, work and play – 76% this year, a significant decline on the previous four years when the figure was an average of 93%.

The survey in full

The city council’s media release about the survey fails to include any of the specific statistics.

News from WCC
The Wellington City Council conducted its annual Residents Monitoring Survey (RMS) this year, with over 1500 residents giving their views on how Council is performing.

Mayor Andy Foster says the “results are mixed during these challenging times such as the pandemic, but Wellingtonians are mostly satisfied with what its Council is doing – but there is plenty of room for improvement and we’re taking it all on board.

“Where the survey shows that Council has not got everything right, these concerns align with areas we are already focusing on and setting as priorities for our city in the immediate future.

“The survey raised concerns around pipes, urban development, the vibrancy of the city, getting around, and safety in the CBD. These are all areas where work has either started or is due to start, including the development of the Central Library, the Pōneke Promise social contract, the implementation of the Long-Term Plan, Let’s Get Wellington Moving, Te Atakura and the Spatial Plan,” adds the Mayor.

The survey also highlighted challenges being faced around satisfaction with decision-making at Wellington City Council.

Following the Winder report recommendations there have been numerous changes to Council governance, including the new committee structure which came into effect in June this year. This new structure allows the Council to conduct business and decision making more effectively and efficiently.
powered by Rubicon Project

Councillor Diane Calvert Chair Pūroro Tahua – Finance and Performance Committee says the results, whilst concerning, are not surprising.

“We know we provide our core services well from libraries, community services through to parks and gardens. However, there are significant issues within governance and leadership that still need to be addressed for the ongoing health of our city,” says Councillor Calvert.

The survey is a valuable resource for the Council and its many business units to ensure the decisions being made are based on what the people of Wellington want.

Meanwhile, the Capital has just been announced as the number one world city for Environmental Security on The Economist World Safe City 2021 Index.

“The Economist environmental accolade has meant we are 7th in the top ten overall global Safe Cities Index which rates cities against five security pillars: digital, health, infrastructure, personal and environmental,” says Mayor Foster. “We are very proud of this accolade and the recognition it pays to the Wellingtonians who believed achieving such a benchmark was possible.

“Environmental security is being achieved through urban renewal programmes, Town Belt and Outer Green Belt developments, Te Atakura – First to Zero, infrastructure resilience work, carbon emission initiatives, circular economy, city sea walkways, burgeoning bike networks, and engaging with the community with initiatives such as Predator Free.

“When you consider the leadership, scale and success of nearly three decades of work to restore and enhance the environment, I am not surprised by this global recognition,” says the Mayor.


  1. Carrie Brump, 24. August 2021, 11:08

    Give it another year and it will be down to 1% satisfied, at the rate it’s going. Interestingly it dropped by 14% from the year before while our council rates increased by 14% – coincidence?

  2. Claire, 24. August 2021, 11:52

    I am surprised the approval is even 16%. At least nine city councillors ignored submissions (and therefore democratic process) in which the majority had said serious modification was needed to the DSP. And then when the officers presented a new plan it was voted against.

  3. Meredith, 24. August 2021, 13:42

    I am tired of the mayor blaming the pandemic as the source of the problem of council governance and leadership. I am assuming that the survey was taken during the period when we had no pandemic. The closure of the library, the bursting of the pipes, not knowing where the pipes are, dereliction of duty towards our civic centre, poor governance, poor strategic planning regarding future population needs (the spatial plan), are all the fault of the pandemic? No!

    Regardless, the Council clearly seems to have been struck down with something bad. But it’s not the pandemic. Maybe it should go and get tested? [We’ve fixed the link. so now you can read the complete survey results.]

  4. Ray Chung, 24. August 2021, 15:00

    My biggest surprise is that the approval rating is even 16%! Everyone I’ve spoken to considers this the most dysfunctional and disastrous council they’ve ever experienced. I agree that it has carried out its basic core services satisfactorily but everything else is a disaster. Whenever I speak with members of our Residents’ Association, they’re astounded that the council has the temerity to put the rates up 14+%!

    Many people blame Andy Foster but I consider the biggest issue is councillors who are making decisions according to their ideology, not by what’s best for ratepayers and the city. We have councillors who don’t have any financial experience much less understanding a balance sheet or business cases. We have councillors who don’t read the council briefing notes because they’ve been told how to vote by their colleagues. We have councillors who think their sole purpose on the council is to see how much ratepayers’ money they can spend! At a recent meeting where Andy Foster announced that council officers had identified savings that could reduce the rates increase to 11%, a councillor said: “what can we spend that money on?” How can we trust such people to make governance decisions?

    The Council is meeting this Thursday to vote on changes in the ward makeup so they can include the Maori ward. I have no confidence in them making the best decision for Wellington.

  5. Georgina Campbell, 24. August 2021, 16:07

    Honestly can’t believe the WCC PR sent out today was titled “Wellington performs well in resident survey … and is working to do better”. This is a shocking result for the council and councillors should be worried come local body elections. [via twitter]

  6. Claire, 24. August 2021, 16:30

    Georgina: I would say they should be looking for new jobs most of them.

  7. Michael Gibson, 24. August 2021, 17:34

    This sort of blurb throws serious doubt on what officers say in their formal reports – on Shelly Bay for instance.

  8. Ray Chung, 24. August 2021, 18:15

    Georgina, you’re correct! The WCC PR are still playing ostriches with their heads in the ground!

  9. Vicki Greco, 24. August 2021, 19:40

    Ray Chung you’re right on the money. Wellingtonians you need to step up and vote this lot out next year.

  10. Thomas Nash, 24. August 2021, 20:40

    Some important indicators in the survey for us to acknowledge at the Regional Council as well – public transport and environment chief among them…

  11. Hel, 24. August 2021, 22:09

    Poor governance meets poor management and the outcome is playing out before our eyes.

  12. Concerned Wellingtonian, 25. August 2021, 7:43

    Very good, Vicki!

  13. Harold Rodd, 25. August 2021, 10:49

    Thomas Nash, you are right to be concerned about the environment. I hope that you get a chance to consider the possible damage from the proposed plans for Shelly Bay. The City Council ignored the environment when they sold Council land on the shore-front to a developer.

  14. Phil Quin, 25. August 2021, 11:39

    Lester, backed by Labour + the Greens and seeking only his 2nd term, couldn’t manage reelection when support for Council leadership was more than twice this high. [via twitter]

  15. Marlon, 26. August 2021, 10:57

    When the Labour Party uses the WCC as a kindergarten for future MPs, what do you expect? Sadly they get in because of apathy; people become too despondent to vote when what is needed is for them to get angry and vote in change and demand value for the hard earned money that goes to pay the councillors.

  16. Peter Kerr, 26. August 2021, 12:08

    Marlon, are you sure about the need for people to be angry? Anger occurs when we hold wildly optimistic views about how others should act.

  17. Claire, 26. August 2021, 12:32

    Peter: I think we can should expect better democratic process and behavior from councillors. It would only have to be half as bad, and people would be reasonable about it. Anger doesn’t cover it for this batch, the nine who voted for a retrograde DSP when they would have got widespread agreement if they had gone with the new plan.

  18. TrevorH, 26. August 2021, 12:37

    Marlon, your anger is justified. This Council is destroying our city before our eyes.

  19. Groggy, 26. August 2021, 13:10

    Marlon, are there any Labour councillors left in Wellington? I thought with Paul & Justin gone they were all Greens now aside from the dissenting four and Andy.

  20. Marlon, 26. August 2021, 15:24

    Anyone know why comments get edited in scoop? [We edit, among other reasons, when there’s personal abuse or unfounded and unsourced allegations about individuals.]

  21. Claire, 26. August 2021, 16:39

    Groggy: there are at least three Labour councillors. At least three Green councillors also. They often vote together. Hence a bloc.

  22. michael, 26. August 2021, 17:41

    The major problem next election will be getting enough professional, accomplished, and competent people, without personal or political agendas, and who genuinely care about Wellington, to stand for election. Who would want to inherit the critical problems facing the city, and the dysfunctional council systems, until serious directorial changes are made, which is not likely to happen with the current lot?

  23. Mad Hatter, 26. August 2021, 18:33

    Michael – surprised more people don’t run. $100k plus a year for three years and no accountability, better than winning lotto probably. That or getting a job at LGWM. Might throw my own hat in the ring.

  24. Ray Chung, 26. August 2021, 20:06

    Michael and Marlon, you’re both absolutely correct! We should be angry at the way this council treats ratepayers with complete disdain. I’m talking with people to try to get them to run next year and yes Michael, I’m only seeking professional, accomplished and competent candidates without personal and political agendas. Mad Hatter, I’d discount anyone who wants to run for the money and we need people who care about the city, not just making money!

  25. TrevorH, 27. August 2021, 8:24

    Until people stop voting for candidates standing for political parties we will never get our city back.

  26. Dave B, 27. August 2021, 10:19

    Maybe it’s time I stood for council. But like most people, I’ve got lots of agendas…!

  27. Michael Gibson, 27. August 2021, 10:29

    TrevorH – please ask Grant Robertson not to write to me again on Labour Party paper asking me to vote for one of his former staffers. Look at the damage this has caused!

  28. Claire, 27. August 2021, 12:56

    Dave B; yes but would you be a puppet of the Green or Labour Party? That is the point.