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Life is good in Christchurch

22 February 2007

Most Christchurch residents believe they have a very good quality of life and have pride in the look and feel of their city.

The results of the national 2006 Quality of Life survey, which measures the impacts of urbanisation on the wellbeing of residents in 12 New Zealand cities, shows Christchurch ranks very highly as a place to live, work and play.

More than nine out of 10 (91%) of residents say their overall quality of life is good or extremely good. The majority (68%) too have pride in the look and feel of their city.

The reasons Christchurch residents give for feeling pride relate directly to the city’s image as clean and green. Respondents to the survey say they find it easy to get to parks and other green spaces and also value their easy access to public transport facilities. Three quarters of public transport users in Christchurch say it is safe and affordable while 83% says it is convenient.

Christchurch mayor Garry Moore says it is great news for the city that so many residents are satisfied with their quality of life.

"The survey spells out some fantastic news for the city, but we cannot afford to rest on our laurels and need to continue moving Christchurch forward," he says.

"This is going to be a big year for Christchurch with many big decisions about its future to be made, including the make-up of the new Council, the new Civic Offices, new world-class aquatic facilities underway and the City Mall upgrade to name but a few. These results all point to us being on track to being a world class city.’’

Almost all Christchurch residents (98%) say they feel safe in their homes during the day and a similar proportion (96%) feel safe in their homes at night.

However, there is a perception that it is unsafe in the city centre after dark.

Some 58% of residents say they feel unsafe in the city centre at night.

Mr Moore acknowledges there is a perception that the city centre is unsafe but says the council has many projects underway to improve the perceived safety of the area and is working closely with the police on the issue.

Canterbury Police District Commander Superintendent Sandra Manderson says in reality Christchurch’s city centre is far safer at night than Auckland or Wellington’s.

Police statistics show the rate of recorded violent offences per 10,000 people in Christchurch is 91.3 compared with 132 in Auckland and 131.8 in Wellington.

"Police are concerned about the perceived levels of violence in the city. We are working to drive down violence and disorder through various strategies including the Alcohol Accord and improved intelligence,’’ Superintendent Manderson says.

The Council is also working on improving safety in the inner city through environmental design and encouraging the development of an inner city residential community. The planned revamp of City Mall, the opening up of the city’s network of lanes and improved lighting will all contribute to creating a safer environment in the central city.

While the inner city is perceived as unsafe after dark, three quarters of Christchurch residents believe their local neighbourhood is safe for their children to play in unsupervised.

Most (85%) are happy in general and most (86%) are satisfied with their lives.

Almost two-thirds of Christchurch residents believe that ethnic diversity makes Christchurch a better or much better place to live and three-quarters believe that other people can be trusted.

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