State Services Commission, August 2008. To print or download this fact sheet, use the PDF version attached above.

Key Facts

  • Satisfaction with local government services was 73%, above the survey average of 68%.
  • This service grouping performed particularly well on 'it's an example of good value for tax dollars spent'.
  • Local government services were rated slightly below average on 'you were treated fairly' and 'your individual circumstances were taken into account'.
  • Satisfaction was high with ease of accessing services and with contact methods.

Introduction

Kiwis Count is the first all-of-government survey to ask New Zealanders about their perceptions and experiences of public services.

Kiwis Count prompted New Zealanders about their experiences with a list of 42 services which broadly represented services provided by central and local government, tertiary education institutions and kindergartens. These services were categorised into nine service groupings. This factsheet sets out some key information for the local government services grouping.

Below are the services included in this grouping along with the percentage of New Zealanders who had used them in the past 12 months.

Service

%

Visited a public library

58

Your local council about rubbish or recycling

24

Your local council about property rates

21

Your local council about a building permit

12

Your local council about road maintenance

11

Local government services was one of the more commonly used service groupings. Visiting a public library was the second most frequently used of the services listed in the Kiwis Count survey. Nearly a quarter of New Zealanders had contacted their local council about rubbish or recycling and a similar proportion had contacted them about property rates. Overall, 18% of New Zealanders had used a local government service on their most recent service experience, the highest of all the service groupings.

Who's using local government services?

New Zealanders who had used local government services in the past 12 months were more likely to be female (55% compared with 45% male), between 45 and 64 years old (38% compared with a survey average of 32%) and be of New Zealand European ethnicity. They tended to have higher educational qualifications than the survey average (for example 32% had a degree compared with an average of 24%) and higher incomes (35% had an income of over $50,000 per annum compared with a survey average of 25%). They were less likely to be under 30 (12% compared with 21%) or to be of Māori or Pacific Island ethnicity: local government services had the smallest percentage of Pacific Island people using their services of all the service groupings, 2% compared with an average of 6%.

Why are they using local government services?

New Zealanders were asked why they had contacted local government services. Most had contacted this service grouping to use a specific service (47%). The other main reasons for contacting local government services were to get information (18%), apply for or request a specific service (17%) or get help or advice with a problem (14%).

Most New Zealanders who had used local government services had done so through choice, rather than because they felt it was a government requirement: 71% had chosen to use the service and only 22% had done so because they felt it was a requirement. For the survey as a whole, New Zealanders who had used a service through choice were more likely to be satisfied overall.

How are they contacting local government services?

Two thirds of New Zealanders using local government services contacted them by visiting an office or location, higher than the survey average of 47%. Only 16% called on the telephone, compared with an average of 24%. Other contact methods were relatively infrequently used.

Over three-quarters of New Zealanders using local government services were satisfied with the contact method they had used: 76% compared with an average of 70%.

New Zealanders were asked how they would prefer to contact local government services. The results were very similar to actual contact methods. For example, 17% said they would prefer to use the telephone compared with 16% who actually did so. Slightly more said they would prefer to contact local government services online (6% said they would prefer to use email compared with 3% who did so and 4% said they would prefer to use a website compared with 2% who did so).

Local government services were rated third highest of all the service groupings for accessibility: 82% of New Zealanders felt they were easy to access on their most recent service experience compared with a survey average of 74%.

Performance against the drivers

New Zealanders were asked about satisfaction with their most recent service experience. Nearly three-quarters (73%) of New Zealanders whose most recent service experience was using local government services were satisfied, higher than the survey average of 68%.

Kiwis Count measured satisfaction in relation to the six main 'drivers', or factors, which influence New Zealanders' satisfaction with public services. The results were broken down into the nine service groupings. The following graph shows average satisfaction and satisfaction for local government services.

Local government services performed well against 'the service experience met your expectations', which is the most important driver of satisfaction and also on 'staff were competent' and 'staff kept their promises'. Compared with the average, local government services performed best on 'it's an example of good value for tax dollars spent'. This was 14 percentage points above the average and was the second highest rating of all the service groupings for this driver. Local government services were slightly below average on two drivers: 'you were treated fairly' and 'you feel your individual circumstances were taken into account'.

Performance against the drivers of satisfaction for most recent service experience

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Conclusions

Local government was one of the most commonly used service groupings in the Kiwis Count survey. There appears to be a distinct profile of New Zealanders using local government services: in particular fewer young people, Māori and Pacific Island people and fewer people with no or low qualifications appear to be using these services. Satisfaction ratings for local government services were 73% compared with an average of 68%. This service grouping performed well on the most important driver, 'the service experience met your expectations' and was well above average for 'it's an example of good value for tax dollars spent'. However, performance was slightly below average on 'you were treated fairly' and 'you feel your individual circumstances were taken into account'. Satisfaction with contact methods and ease of accessing services was high.

For more information

See the SSC website:

www.ssc.govt.nz/kiwis-count-research-survey

or email:

newzealanders.experience@ssc.govt.nz

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