Public services

Auckland Council’s provision of a range of public services across planning and regulatory services, community, arts and recreation services, infrastructure services and asset management and economic development appears to be satisfactory and improving, according to Council information and rating of residents.

Planning and regulatory services

Processing times for planning and regulatory services experienced an average overall improvement with the establishment of Auckland Council. Success rates in processing of notified resource consents continue, however, to be below target.

Legacy councils had high rates of success in completing the processing of resource consents within statutory periods.68 By 2012 Auckland Council had successful completion rates of 95.2 percent for building consents and 95 percent of non-notified resources consents, improvements on 2011.69 This compared well with Wellington City Council reports of 96 percent successful completion of building consents within 20 days, and Hamilton City Council which reported 99.1 percent.

However, notified resource consents completions under Auckland Council are an issue. Legacy councils in 2010 had successful completion rates within the statutory period of 70 days between 67 and 98.4 percent. This dropped significantly lower under Auckland Council in 2011 to 65 percent, improved to 84 percent in 2012, but remained well below the target of 100 percent.

Success rates in the Council’s consent processing times are important for assessing the effectiveness of Council in facilitating building development. The data suggest that straightforward building developments are being processed largely within acceptable timeframes, but more complex developments have experienced delays in gaining consent.

Community, arts and recreation services

Access to and satisfaction with community, arts and recreation services are important factors in influencing notions of liveability for Auckland residents. These provide the opportunities and space for recreational enjoyment, community interaction, connectivity and support, and the development of social capital.

The vast majority of Auckland residents, 91.5 percent, report high ease of access to local facilities.

Access to local facilities such as shops, schools, post shops, libraries, and medical services was reported in the New Zealand General Social Survey (2010)70 as being easy all of the time for 61.8 percent of Auckland residents. This was lower than for non-Aucklanders, at 67 percent. Another 29.7 percent of Aucklanders reported it was easy to access such facilities most of the time, compared with 25.7 percent of non-Auckland residents.

A very high proportion of Auckland residents, 88.3 percent, are satisfied with the conditions of their local facilities.

In 2012, 88.3 percent of Auckland residents reported being satisfied or very satisfied with the condition of the facilities in their local area.71 This was higher than that of residents outside of Auckland at 87.6 percent. Levels of dissatisfaction at 2.9 percent were also lower than the national average, 3.4 percent.

Use of services and facilities is contingent on access and perceptions of the conditions of facilities. This is high for most Auckland residents, but lack of 28 access and dissatisfaction with the condition of local facilities clearly represents a barrier for use to a small but significant 3 to 4 percent of the population.

Less than half of Aucklanders are satisfied that there are opportunities to
participate in arts related activities.

Satisfaction with the availability of arts related activities is quite low, with just 45 percent of those polled in 2012 indicating satisfaction. This was an increase from the 2011 figure of 35 percent, but still well below the target of 65 percent.

The low satisfaction rates may be related to low participation in community arts programmes, with on average 24 people in 100 participating in such programmes across Auckland, but in some areas this being as low as one person per 100.

Satisfaction levels varied across local boards in this respect, in a range from 29 percent to 67 percent. The lowest rates of satisfaction were reported. by respondents in Papakura, 29 percent, Manurewa, 36 percent, Maungakiekie-Tamaki, 37 percent and Rodney 39 percent. The highest levels of satisfaction were reported by Great Barrier, 60 percent, and Waiheke residents, 67 percent. Of those across the Auckland region who did participate in arts programmes, 93 percent expressed satisfaction, and 87 percent were satisfied with arts facilities.

Satisfaction with Council community halls and community centres was high to very high, at 69 to 87 percent.

Residents who in the past 12 months had hired a hall or centre was higher (and above target) at 87 percent, whereas satisfaction of those who had used a community hall or centre was lower and below the 80 percent target at 69 percent.

Use of community halls and centres was reportedly quite low, with an average of 45 percent usage across all local board areas. Waiheke residents reported the highest usage rate at 65 percent, and Franklin residents reported the lowest usage at 20 percent. Those who did use community halls and centres expressed a range of levels of satisfaction with the facilities, from 75 to 98 percent across Auckland’s local board areas. Satisfaction rates above 90 percent were reported by residents of Devonport-Takapuna, Franklin, Howick, Kaipatiki, and Waiheke local board areas. Lowest satisfaction rates were reported by residents of Henderson-Massey area, 75 percent.

Satisfaction with city-wide events was very high in 2012 at 83 percent for Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED)-run events 73 and at 89 percent for Council-run events.74

It was estimated that there were 980,519 attendees at city-wide events in 2012. The satisfaction rates were similar to 2011 figures at 88 percent (events not differentiated between Council-run or ATEED-run), and the targets of 85 percent. This is an important performance indicator for ATEED, who report that from their surveying, 78 percent of Aucklanders ‘agree that events make Auckland a great place to live’.75

Participation in smaller scale, local events ranged across local board areas mainly between .05 to .92 attendees per capita, although it was markedly higher in Otara-Papatoetoe with 1.7 attendees per capita which may reflect the popularity across Auckland of the regular Otara markets. Satisfaction levels
with local events ranged across local board areas between 78 to 96 percent, with all but one having 83 percent satisfaction or more. Highest satisfaction with events was expressed by attendees of local events in Manurewa and Orakei, 96 percent. The lowest rate of satisfaction was expressed by attendees of local events in Kaipatiki 78 percent.

Satisfaction with Auckland libraries is generally very high, but varies in relation to satisfaction with services, collections, and information technology and tools. Use of libraries and their services also varies quite widely across the local board areas.

Libraries had a high reported usage in the Auckland region, with 14 million visitors in 2012 and an average of 9.6 library visits per capita. The usage ranged across the region, however, with between three and 23 visitors per capita across the local board areas. Satisfaction with the overall services provided by Auckland region’s libraries was very high, at 91 percent in 2012, up four percent from 2011. This appears to have increased slightly since amalgamation, as average satisfaction levels with library services reported across legacy councils from 2007 to 2010 were between 82 and 87 percent. There are no consistent data available before 2010 to compare other areas of satisfaction with the
library collections, information technology or programmes.

In local board areas, satisfaction with library services was correspondingly high with a range of 81 to 100 percent satisfaction reported. Highest levels of satisfaction were reported by users in the Great Barrier area, 100 percent, Upper Harbour and Waitakere Ranges local board areas, 95 percent. All other local board areas reported 88 percent satisfaction or above, except for Mangere-Otahuhu where the satisfaction level was 81 percent.

Satisfaction with specific areas of the library services was high, but tended to be lower than overall satisfaction. Satisfaction with the content and condition of library services was between 81 and 94 percent across the Auckland local boards. Satisfaction with tools and technology to access information was lower, at between 60 and 91 percent over the region.

Participation in library reading and information skills programmes varied across the region between one in twenty and just over one in three people, and tended to loosely correlate with library usage per capita across local boards. Satisfaction with these programmes also varied but was generally quite high at between 70 and 100 percent.

The vast majority of visitors to Auckland’s regional parks (96 percent) are satisfied with the services and facilities overall. Lower proportions of residents are satisfied with the overall provision, quality and maintenance of local parks and reserves, but this is still high at 73 to 75 percent.

There are 4000 local parks throughout the Auckland region, and 224 sports parks, and the Auckland Council reports that 93 percent of urban residential properties live within 500 metres of a local park. This proximity is reflected in high reported use of parks, with 93 percent of respondents to the Auckland residents’ survey reporting they had visited a park or reserve in the last year.

Overall satisfaction with regional parks and reserves was very high at 96 percent in 2012. The reasonably high level of satisfaction with the overall provision of local parks and reserves, 73 percent, reflected a variation across the local board areas, ranging between 60 and 82 percent. Lower levels of satisfaction with provision were reported by residents of Great Barrier at 60 percent, Manurewa and Otara-Papatoetoe at 61 percent, Franklin at 65 percent and Papakura at 66 percent. Satisfaction was reportedly highest in Howick and Devonport-Takapuna, both 82 percent, Hibiscus and Bays at 81 percent and Kaipatiki, 80 percent.

Residents of Waiheke had the highest reported levels of satisfaction with the overall quality and maintenance of local parks and reserves and sports fields at 88 and 87 percent respectively. Lowest satisfaction with local parks and reserves quality and maintenance was reported by Mangere-Otahuhu residents at 58 percent and Manurewa residents reported the lowest satisfaction with the quality and maintenance of sports fields at 50 percent.

Antique Auckland map.

A very high proportion of customers, 84 percent, are satisfied with Auckland’s local recreational centres and programmes overall.

High usage of Auckland’s recreation facilities is reported, with 6.1 visits per capita in 2012, up on 4.4 percent per capita in 2011. High satisfaction with centres and programmes overall is reported, at 84 percent, although this is slightly lower than 2011 (target is 85 percent). Across the local board areas, reported satisfaction levels ranged between 76 and 86 percent. Lowest levels of satisfaction were reported by Henderson-Massey users at 76 percent. All other local board areas had 80 percent satisfaction or above, with the highest levels of satisfaction in users from Devonport-Takapuna, Franklin, Kaipatiki, Mangere-Otahuhu and Orakei, all 86 percent.

Region-wide facilities

Satisfaction of users with Auckland’s region-wide facilities was high across all facilities, but had some variations in terms of satisfaction with and access to facilities, and in the social outcomes reported.

Under the Auckland Council structure, facilities intended for region-wide use are administered and maintained by the Regional Facilities Auckland (RFA) CCO. Under RFA’s statement of intent, performance objectives include optimising service to facilities visitors. In 2012, 5,659,313 visitors were recorded to these facilities, which include the Aotea Centre, The Civic, Viaduct Events Centre, Mt Smart Stadium, Western Springs Stadium, North Harbour Stadium, North Shore Events Centre, TelstraClear Pacific Events Centre, Bruce Mason Centre and The Trusts Stadium and other facilities such as Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, Auckland Zoo and museums.76

There was very high reported satisfaction of visitors with their experiences at Auckland Zoo, 98 percent, and Auckland museums at 90 to 98 percent. Users of the Centre for Performing Arts and Auckland Conventions reported very high satisfaction with the facilities and collections, at 91 percent and 80 percent respectively. There was also very high satisfaction with access to the Centre for Performing Arts, 89 percent, and Auckland Zoo, 91 percent. Satisfaction with access to and use of the Mt Smart facilities was high but somewhat lower than the other facilities, at 74 percent.

Reporting on the levels of positive social outcomes that occurred as a result of visits to facilities was higher for the Art Gallery, 95 percent and Auckland Zoo, 92 percent, and more moderate for Mt Smart Stadium 78 percent and the Centre for Performing Arts, 65 percent. The high level of positive social outcomes from visiting the zoo may have been caused by the outcomes of engagement in Zoo education programmes, which had 56,736 participants in 2012. Satisfaction of participants that their learning outcomes were achieved was reported at 98 percent.

Satisfaction with Auckland Council’s services and access to and the experiences of using regional and community facilities and attending events are important influences on perceptions of quality of life for Aucklanders. The generally high levels of satisfaction are accordingly important indicators that Auckland Council is successful in its service provisions.

The most room for improvement is in the provision of community facilities and in developing opportunities for arts related activities. Satisfaction with region-wide facilities in relation to arts and culture was on the other hand very high.

Infrastructure services and asset management

A high proportion of Auckland residents, 72 percent, are satisfied with the quality of Council services relating to water supply, drainage, rubbish collection and roads.

Perceptions of the quality of core council services in relation to water supply, drainage, rubbish collection and roading were reasonably high for Auckland residents, with 72 percent of residents reporting that they were satisfied or very satisfied with the overall quality of those local services. This was slightly higher than the national average of 69.6 percent.77

Water charges for Auckland users are estimated by Watercare to comprise 0.72 percent of average Auckland household incomes.

In the case of water services, Watercare has stipulated household affordability as a Statement of Corporate Intent target. The target is to keep average water bills below 1.5 percent of the average Auckland household income of $7,219 monthly. Watercare reported that household water bills averaged 0.72 percent of this figure in 2012.78 Affordability is an important factor influencing access to services.

Very high proportions, 85 percent, of Auckland’s public transport passengers are satisfied with public transport services overall.

Public transport patronage in Auckland is reported as being 71,087,755 for 2012.79 This was an increase of eight percent on 2011 numbers. Increases were across all areas of public transport, including buses, rail and ferries. Satisfaction with overall public transport services amongst users is very high, meeting the target of 85 percent. This was down just one percent on 2011 figures.

Auckland Transport also report on customer service enquiries timeframes, and showed that in 2011 (8 months), 79 percent of enquiries were answered within 20 seconds, and with an average wait time of 16 seconds. This was reportedly lower than the previous system under the Auckland Regional Transport Authority, which showed 85 percent success in this indicator. Responses to calls to the MAXX call centre were reported as having been better in 2012, with 86 percent of the 580,046 calls answered within 20 seconds.80

Aucklanders are moderately satisfied with the quality of roads and footpaths.

In 2012, 50 percent of Auckland residents were satisfied or very satisfied with the quality of roads and 46 percent were satisfied with the quality of footpaths. Auckland Council reports very high standards of road maintenance.

Auckland Council responses to stormwater service requests show very high success rates, with targets exceeded for non-urgent and urgent requests. However, residents’ reported satisfaction with stormwater services is moderate, at 51 percent in 2012.

Responses to service requests, both non-urgent and urgent, were well met in terms of targeted response times. The targeted timeframe for responding to non-urgent service requests is three working days, which was met for 99.5 percent of requests in 2012. Ninety-eight percent of urgent service requests were attended to within the targeted time frame of four hours.

Auckland residents’ satisfaction with Council’s stormwater service provision was, however, more moderate. Reporting on surveys measuring satisfaction with the council’s effectiveness in providing stormwater services reported only 47 percent satisfaction in 2011, and a slight improvement to 51 percent in 2012.

Public satisfaction with overall wastewater services is very high at 82.2 percent, and Watercare reports targets being met on service requests and closure of complaints.

High levels of satisfaction by Auckland customers were reported for wastewater services in 2012, at 82.2 percent. This may have been related to response times for water and wastewater issues, and high compliance levels in urban wastewater treatment plants. Watercare reported high levels of success in response times for urgent wastewater blockages, with 99 percent of notifications of blockages responded to within one or two hours in 2012, an improvement on the 2011 figure of 93 percent. Compliance in major urban wastewater treatment plants with discharge consents was 99 percent in 2012, but this was much lower for rural wastewater treatment plants, at 64 percent. Of the 1355 complaints registered in 2011/2012, 96.4 percent were reported to have been closed within 10 days.81

The stipulated indicators for determining the quality of Council services in relation to infrastructure, transport, roading, water and wastewater services are very mixed. They make assessment of what these mean for liveability in Auckland difficult. Access and ease of transport and roading is an especially important factor given commuters on average spend more time travelling each week than others in New Zealand.82

Quality of Life survey data show that Aucklanders are slightly more likely to be very satisfied with the quality of council services such as water supply, drainage, rubbish collection and roads in their area than those living outside of Auckland. Auckland Council reporting shows that residents’ satisfaction with services provided by council in terms of public transport, road quality and wastewater are reasonably high, but for stormwater there is room for improvement.

When 80 percent is 100 percent……Watercare’s method of assessing performance involves scoring the organisation on its ability to meet targets. Customer satisfaction scores of 100 percent across a number of indicators suggest great performance. The fine print shows, however, that the score is calculated on the success rate of meeting the designated targets—for example, 80 percent of customer satisfaction with water and wastewater services. Accordingly, scoring 80 percent or above actually scores Watercare 100 percent.

Economic development services

Stakeholder satisfaction with ATEED’s business support services is very high, at 87 percent in 2012. Events have also enjoyed very high rates of satisfaction. Awareness of Brand Auckland is low, however, with only 34 percent success with key audiences. Satisfaction of stakeholders with ATEED’s business development services83 is high at 87 percent, but improvement will help it meet the target of over 88 percent satisfaction. Satisfaction with events held by ATEED is also high at 83 percent against the target 85 percent. ATEED’s work in developing an Auckland brand with key audiences appears to have struggled somewhat, with only 18 percent awareness recorded in 2011. This significantly improved in 2012 to 34 percent, but is still a long way from the 75 percent target.

Economic development services should be provided to support Auckland residents and business people in contributing to development throughout the local and regional economies. ATEED’s areas of work in terms of business development and events appear to be receiving a high level of stakeholder satisfaction. As a regionally focused organisation with a broad strategy towards economic development, a much wider set of indicators needs to be developed to assess ATEED’s service delivery and performance.

We all know New Zealand requires Auckland to do well. All New Zealanders stand to gain from our only world-class city of scale.
Michael Barnett, Chief Executive of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce.

68. The statutory period for processing of building consents and non-notified resource consents is 20 days and 70 days for notified resource consents.
69. Auckland Council. (2012). Annual Report 2011/2012 (see endnote 63); legacy council annual reports 2009/2010.
70. Statistics New Zealand, General Social Survey, 2010.
71. Statistics New Zealand, General Social Survey, 2010.
72. Unless otherwise stated, data for this and the sections dealing with satisfaction with community, arts, and recreation services and with infrastructure and asset management is accessed from reporting in the Auckland Council Annual Reports 2010/2011 and 2011/2012.
73. ATEED. (2012). Annual Report 2012, p.84. Retrieved from
Satisfaction for ATEED-run events was taken from an average of surveying undertaken at Pasifika, Lantern Festival and Diwali.
74. Auckland Council. (2012). Annual Report 2011/12, Vol.1, p.124.
75. ATEED. (2012). Annual Report 2012, p.82.
76. Regional Facilities Auckland. (2012). Annual Report 2012. Retrieved from
77. Statistics New Zealand, General Social Survey, 2010. 78. Watercare Services Limited. (2012). Annual Report 2012.
Retrieved from .
79. Refer also to pp.35–36.
80. Auckland Transport. (2012). Auckland Transport Annual Report 2012. Retrieved from
81. Watercare Services Limited (2012). Annual Report 2012 (see endnote 78).
82. Aucklanders spend on average 8.3 hours per week travelling compared with between 5.7 and 7.3 hours per week for the rest of New Zealand residents. Statistics New Zealand, New Zealand Household Travel Survey. Retrieved from:
83. Measured from surveying attendees at ATEED local office business advice, start-up, training and mentoring programmes/events. ATEED. (2012) Annual Report 2012, pp.86–87.

Auckland transport maps.