Our role and direction

We are responsible for community wellbeing

Who we are

Wellington City Council is made up of 15 elected representatives – the Mayor and 14 Councillors. It’s their job to make bylaws, set the city’s overall strategic direction, and approve budgets, policies and plans aimed at achieving that direction. Part of their role is to listen and take the pulse of the community before making decisions. They are supported in their governance role by two community boards.

The elected representatives are supported by the Council’s Chief Executive and 1550 staff, who provide advice, implement Council decisions, and look after the city’s day-to-day operations.

Our aimsTop

In June 2012 the Council adopted the 2012–22 Long-term Plan. This plan outlined the services we planned to deliver for the next 10 years.

This Annual Report explains how we’ve delivered on year one of the Long-term Plan.

The Long-term Plan outlined our vision for the city – Wellington Towards 2040: Smart Capital, which contains four outcomes for the city: to be people centred, connected, an eco-city and have a dynamic central city. These outcomes guide our decisions about our services and what we plan to do. The Long-term Plan also outlined three priorities to guide us for the next three years: an inclusive place where talent wants to live; a resilient city; and a well managed city.

We will work with other organisations to further these community outcomes

These outcomes and priorities are structured around seven areas. The chapters in this report highlight progress towards those outcomes.

The seven chapters are:

Governance – delivering trust and confidence in decision-making.
Environment – protecting and enhancing Wellington’s environment.
Economic development – promoting the city’s competitive advantages to enhance quality of life.
Cultural wellbeing – reflecting and helping shape Wellington’s unique cultural identity.
Social and recreation – sustaining safe, resilient, and healthy communities.
Urban development – preserving Wellington as a compact, vibrant, and attractive city now and into the future.
Transport – delivering an efficient and safe transport system that connects people and places.

Explaining our workTop

In this report you’ll be able to find information about the state of the city – everything from the transport network to the state of the environment to the strength of Wellington’s communities.

For each activity we explain:

What we do – an outline of the scope of our work under the activity.
Contribution – how our activities contribute towards our outcomes.
Key projects – a description of milestones and activities achieved during the year.
What it cost – a summary financial table for that activity.
How we performed – an outline of results against targets. We place these in the context of past results and next year’s targets where appropriate.

Our methodologyTop

The performance information is drawn from a wide variety of sources, including annual surveys of Wellington residents.

Every year we carry out a series of surveys which collectively are called the Residents Monitoring Survey (RMS). Some of the information is used to inform the Annual Report and highlights how the Council and its Council Controlled Organisations (CCOs) are performing from the point of view of Wellington and New Zealand residents.1 They also help us identify where we may need to make improvements in how we do things.

In recent years the survey has consisted of two separate surveys of Wellington residents, one focusing on the Council and one on the CCOs, as well as a survey of residents across New Zealand focusing on Wellington’s reputation across the country.

Change in methodology

In 2012, two of the three surveys were changed from telephone surveys to online surveys. In 2013, all of the surveys were conducted online (80 percent using the Council’s newly established research panel and 20 percent from an external research panel).

The Council’s research panel members were recruited using a third party media company. Invitations were sent to individuals to sign up – but were only accepted as members if they met quotas around age, gender and electoral ward to ensure the panel is representative of Wellington. No panel members were self selected.

This change was carried out because:

Impact on results

Between the 2012 and 2013 years, some measures in the RMS show a drop in people rating the Council and its CCOs positively. In some cases the drop is large. In most cases this is represented by an increase in the ‘neutral’ response as well as an increase in negative ratings.

Some of the decline is due to the change in methodology. There is a tendency to respond more negatively when answering a question anonymously in written form, as opposed to a person on the telephone. In some cases it has been shown that people respond more truthfully when answering about something that is socially desirable.

There is also a tendency to respond more neutrally, towards the middle of the scale and away from extremes.2
It is not possible to know how much of the change is due to the change in method and how much is due to an actual drop in performance.3 The timing of the surveys may also have impacted the results. Previously the surveys were carried out in February and May. In 2013, the surveys were carried out in June.

Consequently, care should be taken when comparing the results of the survey in 2013 with results from previous years. In this report, we have drawn a line between the results of this year and those of previous years to highlight the change in the survey methodology. We have also tried to identify factors that may have contributed to the change in result where appropriate.

The sample of 500 residents4, aged over 18, is representative of the Wellington population in terms of electoral ward, age and gender. The maximum standard margin of error is +/-4.38 percent.

Areas highlighting where improvement is needed

Regardless of the change in method, the Council is taking the results seriously. In particular the Council is exploring further the following areas, which show some of the largest increases in negative ratings:

Council decision-making and information:

Satisfaction with some Council services and facilities:

The Council needed to make this change in how the survey was conducted at some point for a number of reasons as noted above. We chose to coincide the change with the start of a new Long-term Plan period and with the introduction of some new measures. Therefore, the results of this year’s surveys can now be viewed as a new benchmark for residents’ satisfaction.

1Approximately 23 percent of the measures in the Annual Report are derived from the RMS.
2The Quality of Life survey of residents in six New Zealand cities changed from telephone to online methodology in 2012. A smaller sample of Wellington residents were also surveyed using the telephone method enabling a direct comparison to be made. Overall, those questions concerned with Council decision-making showed a shift away from the extreme positive towards the negative in the online responses.
3Given the impact of the change in methodology, we will be reviewing our performance targets in some areas.
445 percent of those sent the survey responded.