DCC 2009 Residents’ Opinion Survey

### Channel 9 Online July 6, 2009 – 8:00pm
Residents Opinion Survey Released Today
Dunedin City Council Chief Executive Jim Harland presented the findings of the 2009 Residents Opinion Survey today. Speaking at the Mayor’s Reception Chambers, Harland delivered a mixed bag of results; with one downward trend standing out.

### ODT Online Tue, 7 Jul 2009
Council survey shows plunging confidence level
By Chris Morris
The impact of the global economic downturn is reflected in the Dunedin City Council’s latest residents’ opinion survey.
Read more


█ There has been an 11% drop in the number of people who see Dunedin as a thriving city. Mr Harland attributes this to the global recession, which is the worst one since the 1920s. More than 1,300 ratepayers were surveyed. This number from the 4,500 surveys sent out in the post. DCC Link

Or how the “silent majority” was found…

Purpose of the survey:
One way the Council gauges the views of the “silent majority” is through the annual Residents’ Opinion Survey, or ROS. The Council has been undertaking the ROS since 1994 and by giving expression to all sectors and areas of the community it has become a valuable tool for guiding its decision-making process and prioritising expenditure.

God, I missed the question ‘Does Dunedin need a new rugby stadium?’
How did I manage that…


Residents’ Opinion Surveys (ROS)
These surveys measure residents’ satisfaction with the Council’s performance and with Council owned facilities. The output of these surveys enables the Council to assess the extent to which the Council has met its performance objectives. In addition, each year subsequent surveys add to a growing body of research about what Dunedin residents think about their city and their Council.

2009 Residents’ Opinion Survey Results (PDF, 950kb, open in new window)

Summary points (PDF, 250kb, open in new window)

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Business, DCC, Democracy, Economics, Geography, Hot air, Media, New Zealand, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Stadiums, Tourism, Town planning, Urban design, What stadium

13 responses to “DCC 2009 Residents’ Opinion Survey

  1. LG

    This is as silly as the STS survey. Mail surveys inevitably have 20-40% response rates, with responses not at all representative when compared to better quality survey techniques. So I’m not sure how either the council or STS get off on claiming that they’re tapping the silent majority. The silent majority are the people who can’t be bothered sending it back. That’s, uh, why they’re called “silent”.

  2. David

    And they’re especially unrepresentative when they’re sent out to three times more male recipients than female.

  3. Peter

    Isn’t the gender matter just a reflection of the ratepayer database? What should Council do to get around that?

  4. David

    It could be addressed to the householder, ratepayer etc, or they could just leave the three to one male bias.

    Despite the 3 to 1 male bias, there was a larger percentage of people who didn’t want the stadium, compared to those who did (50% vs 47%).

    And a significantly greater percentage who didn’t want the DCC involved in funding (57% vs 41%).

    And this is the survey that is often said (falsely) to show that a silent majority support the stadium.

  5. LG

    What should Council do to get around that?
    From the 2009 Survey: “A probability sample, stratified across Council wards (i.e., clusters of suburbs), drawn from the electoral roll”
    They also conducted a separate survey of those who did not respond. This most recent survey is definitely a step up from both the STS survey and the DCC’s prior efforts.

  6. LG

    And this is the survey that is often said (falsely) to show that a silent majority support the stadium.
    There was also a phone survey, which didn’t have the gender problems. It showed some support for the stadium, but not so much excitement about paying for it.

    Click to access Evaluating-Public-Perceptions-Carisbrook.pdf

  7. DCC Resident’s Survey; A new version of “Trivial Pursuit” except the cost is not trivial. In this case it is required in order to boost the egos of some very insecure bureaucrats. It would be so much better value, if instead we paid for them to have a series of sessions with a clinical psychologist.

  8. David

    LG – exactly – even the phone survey had 50% against DCC funding $91m (vs 43% for funding at that level) and 56% against rate rises to pay for the stadium.

    So neither survey showed a “silent majority” supports ratepayer funding of the stadium as is often claimed by some supporters.

    I suppose only a referendum would have given a truly accurate result.

    But apparently Dunedin is not capable of holding one. Only advanced places like Wanganui can accomplish such futuristic technological surveys.

  9. LG

    As noted above, this latest DCC survey was drawn from the electoral role (captures 18+, although younger people are less likely to be enrolled; also biased against students, many of whom are enrolled in their home town), and stratified across council wards. Then briefly surveying those who didn’t reply, to get a picture of who didn’t respond, is also pretty good.
    It would be unusual to use open-ended questions in a survey of this size. They’re quite uncommon in samples much above 50, because the analysis gets too unwieldy. They can, however, be very useful in informing the questions you ask, and the response options to the questions, for a larger survey.
    Assuming a good sampling method, sample size becomes increasingly unimportant above ~800. This is because around this point, adding more data does not appreciably diminish the margin of error, and most of the time 2-3% is plenty accurate enough. In contrast, the bias introduced by a mail survey can be 0-30%.
    Even with superwards, trying to get a clear geographic spread makes sense. I wouldn’t expect the residents of Waitati to agree with North Dunedin, with South Dunedin, with Mosgiel, with Middlemarch.

  10. LG

    I suppose only a referendum would have given a truly accurate result.
    Perversely, referendums don’t give very accurate results either, because they are not usually accompanied by any background material, or anything more complicated than a Yes/No question. And most of the time, the silent majority can’t be bothered voting in them either.

  11. Calvin, enough of the name calling, it’s not very fitting of someone trying to hold onto a dignified position.

    I am so disappointed in you people though, suddenly we are worried about 50ish% vs 47ish%, I thought it was the entire city or at least 80% that was against the stadium?

    There is no way under gods clean skies that a referendum would have given anything other than a snap shot of peoples, fears, insecurities, misconceptions, bloated ideas (from both sides of the fence). Are these of any use to anyone. And considering we have now had 2 years of sustained bullshit, lies and misinformation clouding the issue, what are we asking of people in a referendum?

    Go back 2 years, wipe all of the sensationalist ideas of terrorism, global warming flooding, false opportunity costs – start with a level playing field of just some ideas and some facts, then ask the people. But what are you achieving then, a time and place snap shot of people’s opinions. Opinions that are flexible, and change. Just humour me for a second (go on give it a go), what say this thing is an outrageous success, take another snap shot of people’s opinions and what do you have.

    I’m just deeply distrustful of public referenda. Sure it started with 80% of the country wanting to keep Homosexuality illegal, supported by some several hundred thousand signatures. Sometimes the public doesn’t know best (as perfectly demonstrated by their complete and utter inability to meet facts and say “hi”). If we were to believe the public over the experts, it would flood, be blown up, sink, collapse, fail. Shame the truth or the experts don’t collaborate these myths. But that’s not what we are asking with a referendum are we. We are asking, what is your greatest fear, and lets hear about it.

  12. Richard

    The Annual Residents’ Survey is simply a tool used to measure performance, principally against what is set out in each Annual Plan.

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