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Friday, 05 February 2021

QLDC releases Quality of Life Survey results

The study covered a range of topics and encompassed several aspects of wellbeing

In September 2020, Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) conducted its third Quality of Life (QoL) Survey. The results have now been released and can be found here: https://www.qldc.govt.nz/community/community-research#quality-of-life

QLDC Chief Executive Mike Theelen said the high levels of participation showed people were keen to tell Council about their experiences of life in the district.

“I’d like to thank all those who took the time to complete the survey. The development of good longitudinal data is very important and will enable Council and other public agencies to target areas of growing need,” Mr Theelen said.

“While the focus of the study has traditionally been to collect data on the wellbeing of communities, the most recent one had a particular focus on the impact of COVID-19.”

The study encompassed cultural, social, economic and environmental aspects of wellbeing. Similar to previous studies in 2018 and 2019, the survey covered a range of topics including perceptions of tourism, income, housing, transport and community connections. This year included additional questions regarding the impact of COVID-19 on peoples’ employment, health and resilience. The findings confirm much of what was already known regarding the impact of COVID-19. However, these can now be used alongside other data to build a holistic picture of the district. 

QLDC Senior Policy and Performance Advisor Katherine Davies, who manages the study, said the information would help build an overall picture of the district’s wellbeing.

“The study continues to prove a vital piece of the data puzzle that we have been building for the last three years. However, this data now gives us a baseline for recovery and helps inform our discussions with central government,” Mrs Davies said.

Key findings from the 2020 survey include:

  • Overall quality of life was rated as extremely good (32%) or good (49%) which is on par with previous years’ findings. 16% said their quality of life was average and 3% poor and extremely poor.
  • 29% of respondents who rented said they would need to move in the next 12 months. The main influence was affordability, which increased from 3% (2019) to 26% (2020). Interestingly, moving due to lease expiring decreased significantly from 66% (2019) to 36% (2020). 
  • Levels of disposable income remained on par with 2019 findings, with 32% of respondents saying they had sufficient disposable income and 48% saying they had some.
  • Working status changed significantly in a number of areas, including self-employment which increased from 18% (2019) to 22% (2020). At the same time the number of students increased from 1% (2019) to 4% (2020). Respondents who reported they were not currently employed amounted to 6%, where previously this had been less than 1%.
  • The amount of people who have visited a GP/doctor about mental health had not increased significantly year on year, going from 24% (2019) to 27% (2020). However, the amount of working people in the 25-39 year age group who sought help with mental health increased significantly compared to previous years.
  • The majority of respondents would like to see more done to add to the cultural aspects of the district, particularly greater expression and presence of Māori language, art and culture in public spaces.

Impact of COVID-19 on communities:

The impacts of COVID-19 were generally found to be synonymous with changes to employment. The study found that many people had an overwhelming sense of job insecurity, which likely added to a decline in people’s overall sense of wellbeing. For some, it lessened their confidence and ability to speak up for themselves, while others were on edge wondering what their future held.

  • Respondents who reported that they owned a business were asked what changes they had made as a result of COVID-19. 76% had reduced overheads where possible, 45% had made changes to staff employment and 37% had reduced or stopped marketing activity. 36% had also cancelled or delayed capital projects.
  • In terms of the impact on individual employment, 30% had temporarily reduced hours while 34% said someone in their household had temporality reduced hours. Similar percentages were seen for temporarily reduced pay. 15% of respondents had their employment ended and 18% said someone else in their household had their employment ended. However, only 6% said they were still unemployed, suggesting the majority of these people had subsequently found work.
  • Changes to employment by industry type show the most significant changes had been felt by people working in tourism and hospitality. However, significant changes had also been felt by people working in wholesale trade and the mining industries.

QLDC is committed to measuring the wellbeing of communities over time and will run the survey again in September 2021. Data continues to be a focus for COVID-19 recovery.

The Recovery Intelligence Report, which contains up-to-date information on a range of indicators related to the economy, can be found on QLDC’s website here: https://www.qldc.govt.nz/recovery/recovery-intel-report

ENDS|KUA MUTU.

Media contact: communications@qldc.govt.nz or call 03 441 1802.

The study was administered on behalf of QLDC by independent company Versus Research.