State Services Commission, April 2010. To print or download this fact sheet, use the PDF version attached above.

Key Facts

  • The Local Government group improved from 68 in 2007 to 69 in 2009.
  • Three services improved on their 2007 scores. Your local council about a building permit improved from 44 in 2007 to 51 in 2009.
  • Your local council about road maintenance scored very highly among Pacific peoples, but did not score well in the Upper North Island

Introduction

The focus of the Kiwis Count survey is on services to the public provided by State Services organisations. The single largest service grouping is Local Government. Previous research has shown many New Zealanders do not differentiate between services provided by central and local government. Therefore, local government has an important role to play in determining New Zealanders' experience of public service delivery.

In 2009, the overall service quality score for the Local Government service group rose from 68 in 2007 to 69 in 2009, the same as the overall survey average. The improvement was driven by Your local council about a building permit, which improved significantly to 51 (from 44 in 2007), and Your local council about road maintenance, which improved by three points to 45.

A smaller improvement was also made in Your local council about rubbish or recycling. There was a moderate decline in Your local council about property rates, and a small decline in Visited a public library (the second most frequently used service in the survey).

Fig 1: Overall service quality scores for services in the Local Government group, 2007-2009

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Comparisons with Canada

The Citizens First survey in Canada has been measuring service quality for many of the services in this group since 1998. During that time, Public Libraries have consistently scored highly, just as they have in New Zealand over the first two Kiwis Count surveys. Your local council about rubbish or recycling improved considerably between 1998 and 2005, but declined slightly in 2007. In New Zealand, this service has shown positive signs of improvement in 2009. Building permits were steady in Canada across the first three surveys, and then had a big improvement in 2005 before declining in 2007.

Fig 2: Comparison of service quality scores in Canada from 1998-2007 and New Zealand from 2007-2009 1

               

Service

Canada

Kiwis Count

1998

2000

2002

2005

2007

2007

2009

Local Government

 

 

 

 

 

68

69

Visited a public library

77

77

79

83

80

83

82

Your local council about rubbish or recycling

74

72

72

81

79

63

65

Your local council about property rates

-

-

-

59

58

59

57

Your local council about a building permit

58

56

57

65

60

44

51

Your local council about road maintenance

-

-

-

46

51

42

45

Results for and and Pacific peoples

Results for changed changed little since 2007, although three of the services did trend downwards. Your local council about road maintenance had a small improvement, but the improvement among the general population was greater. Your local council about road maintenance scored considerably higher among Pacific peoples, at 61 compared to a survey average of 45.

Fig 3: Comparison of service quality scores for Local Government services between and and the survey average, 2007-2009

         

 

Survey average

Service

2007

2009

2007

2009

Visited a public library

83

82

82

81

Your local council about rubbish or recycling

63

65

62

60

Your local council about property rates

59

57

56

55

Your local council about a building permit

44

51

n/a

n/a

Your local council about road maintenance

42

45

40

42

Other interesting facts

Your local council about road maintenance performed very poorly among respondents in the Upper North Island (excluding Auckland), with a service quality score of 37. Building permits scored highly in the Lower North Island (57, compared to a survey average of 51).

Performance against the drivers of satisfaction

The Local Government services performed very well on the drivers of satisfaction, with substantial increases on all six of the drivers, including eight point increases on Staff kept their promises, You were treated fairly and The service experience met your expectations. Local Government services had the highest scores among all service groups for The service experience met your expectations and It's an example of good value for tax dollars spent. The impressive scores against the drivers are in large part due to Visited a public library, which was the second most frequently used service in the survey, and scored above 90 on five of the six drivers.

Fig 4: Performance against the drivers of satisfaction for Local Government services, 2007-2009

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How can these results be improved?

While the results for the Local Government group are generally very positive, there is still room for improvement. Of the six drivers, Local Government services had the lowest score for Your individual circumstances were taken into account. The service experience met your expectations contributes the most to overall satisfaction so improvements here should have the biggest effect on service quality. In order to see further improvements in these services, the following should be considered:

  • Ensure staff may exercise some flexibility and discretion around processes. Regardless of the outcome of a service experience, it is particularly important to New Zealanders that they feel they have been listened to and not treated like a number.
  • Set and monitor service standards so that staff know what is expected of them and the public are aware of the standards they can expect to receive.

For more information

Visit the SSC website:

www.ssc.govt.nz/nzers-experience

or email:

newzealanders.experience@ssc.govt.nz

1 Some of the services included in the Citizens First surveys do not completely align with the services in Kiwis Count

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