Media release

Media release: Public survey input praised by ORC Chair

Wednesday 7 December 2022

ORC’s Chair Gretchen Robertson has thanked the 1700 people from around Otago who took the time to take part in the 2022 community survey; highlighting the need for their input.

“It’s very important to us that the public have their say and identify the environmental issues that are of most importance to them.”

For the survey, over last September-October, there were a total 1700 online and phone interviews undertaken, across Waitaki, Central Otago, Queenstown Lakes, Dunedin and Clutha.

“The survey is a fantastic resource for the Council. We thank everyone who gifted us their time and got involved. The survey results reflect the values and perceptions of 1700 people right across Otago.

“This is hugely valuable information we can pick up and use straight away”.

The survey was tabled at the full Council meeting in Dunedin today.

Cr Robertson says the 2022 survey results were similar to the previous year, with water quality, public transport and flood protection being the main activities respondents thought ORC undertook.

People identified the most important environmental issues facing the region as water quality, climate change, and land/coast erosion, she says.

“There have been some challenges for ORC over the past year, like the nationwide shortage of bus drivers impacting public transport services, plus the extra costs of repairing floodbanks after mid-year floods”.

Along with the challenges, were several positives she says.

A total of 73% of respondents said that they felt ‘neutral’ through to ‘satisfied’ with how ORC services the region, while 19% were dissatisfied.

“These results are similar to 2021,” she says.

“A key issue as Chair is reinvigorating the unity of Councillors in working together, alongside staff, to enhance our role as environmental custodians,” Cr Robertson says.

“We’ve taken on board the recommendations of the survey. These highlight a need to lift our game in positively and proactively telling our stories.”

“ORC is in strong heart with a great team of both staff and Councillors doing valuable work in many key areas like environmental protection, hazard management, navigational safety, public transport and science.”

“We’re serious about changing the way Otago perceives us. We need a strong relationship with our communities - only together will we succeed”.

While the 2022 survey saw a slight increase in the proportion of people who were aware ORC is responsible for reducing risks from hazards, there was a significant decline in the proportion of people who were aware ORC was responsible for water quality monitoring and implementing government policy.

“These are areas where we’re aware there needs to be improvement and are taking action to restore public confidence in the ORC’s work, its environmental programmes and regulatory responsibilities.”

Community survey 2022 most important environmental issue chart