7 Sep 2023

With its next 10-year budget in the works, Christchurch City Council has been talking with its community about what matters most – and the results are in.

“The big challenge of any Long Term Plan is getting people to understand the trade-offs involved – any focus on one issue means there’s less to go towards another – and what we’re hearing suggests that people understand the extent of the challenge,” says Chief Executive Dawn Baxendale.

The Long Term Plan 2024–2034 goes out for public feedback early next year, and will set out the Council’s activities, services and budget over the next decade.

“It’s been encouraging to see that broadly, our community understands the tension between investing in the future and looking after what we have, versus reducing rates increases,” Mrs Baxendale says.

“Of those we engaged with, 43% want us to focus on the long-term progress and future of our city, even if it means spending a bit more, and 41% want us to focus on maintaining what we have before embarking on new projects.

“Just 16% want the main focus to be reducing spending, which would come at the expense of our services.

“Although there are many competing priorities, they’re mostly consistent across all our wards and community board areas, and this window into how the community really feels is going to be invaluable to councillors and staff as we get to work on the Long Term Plan in the coming months.”

According to the Christchurch and Banks Peninsula residents, the five priorities that matter most are:

  • Climate change (67% participants allocated an average of 16.2 points) - a priority across all ages, ethnicities and geographic areas.
  • Drinking water (83% participants allocated an average of 14 points) - the reaction to drinking water is closely linked to people’s dissatisfaction with chlorination.
  • Roads and footpaths (71% participants allocated an average of 12.8 points) - there’s a strong desire to improve the quality of the city’s roads and footpaths.
  • Travel choice (58% participants allocated an average 11.7 of points) - there’s also a strong desire for the Council to make cycling and other forms of transport easier.
  • Parks and gardens (78% participants allocated an average of 11.1 points) - residents value the importance of reserves and recreation areas across the city and Peninsula, as well as neighbourhood parks and playgrounds.

The results were informed by the 4000 participants in an activity that let people prioritise the different Council services, and by the 3825 who took part in nearly 80 in-person activities across various community events and meetings and at Council facilities like libraries.

Of the respondents, 6% were younger than 25, 7% were Māori, 1% Pacific, 5% Asian, and 18% lived in Christchurch’s east.

To see a breakdown of the results by demographic, visit What Matters Most.