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The 2016 Quality of Life survey is a collaborative local government research project. The primary objective of the survey is to measure residents’ perceptions across a range of measures that impact on New Zealanders’ quality of life. The Quality of Life survey was originally established in response to growing pressures on urban communities, concern about the impacts of urbanisation and the effect of this on the wellbeing of residents. The results from the survey are used by participating councils to help inform their policy and planning responses to population growth and change.
The survey measures residents’ perceptions across several domains, including:
- Overall quality of life
- Health and wellbeing
- Crime and safety
- Community, culture and social networks
- Council decision-making processes
- Environment (built and natural)
- Public transport
- Economic wellbeing, and
The Quality of Life survey was first conducted in 2003, repeated in 2004, and has been undertaken every two years since. The number of participating councils has varied each time.
Nine councils participated in the 2016 Quality of Life survey project, as follows:
- Auckland Council
- Hamilton City Council
- Hutt City Council
- Porirua City Council
- Wellington City Council
- Christchurch City Council
- Dunedin City Council
- Waikato Regional Council
- Greater Wellington Regional Council.
See also, www.qualityoflifeproject.govt.nz
The 2016 survey employed a sequential mixed-method methodology, enabling respondents to complete the survey either online or on paper. This methodology was also used successfully in the 2014 and 2012 surveys, whereas in previous years a CATI survey had been undertaken.
The sequential mixed-method approach allows respondents to complete the survey in their preferred format – either online or by paper. Potential respondents were selected from the New Zealand Electoral Roll.
Respondents were encouraged to complete the survey online in the first instance, later being offered the option of completing a hard-copy (paper based) questionnaire. Similar to previous years, 62% of respondents completed the survey online compared with 38% on paper.
The research took place in two waves from 14 March to 22 June 2016. A two-stage approach to fieldwork was taken in order to seek cost efficiencies, and to allow for targeted mailouts to specific demographic groups (for example young people) and/or geographic areas (for example certain local board areas in Auckland) that are known to be less likely to respond to surveys. Colmar Brunton was able to take into account demographic groups and areas that had not responded strongly to the first wave mailout and adjust the second wave mailout numbers accordingly.