A nation-wide local government survey has found many people want better value for money from their councils.
The recently released New Zealand Local Government Survey (LGNZ) 2017, conducted by Colmar Brunton, has revealed the New Zealand public and business owners want similar things from their councils - value for rates money spent, "trust in spending decisions" and to focus on infrastructure - such as water supply, sewerage/wastewater and rubbish collection and recycling.
The survey was made up of 2492 public and 406 business interviews nation-wide and was carried out in March. It is the second survey of its kind carried out by LGNZ, the first was held in June/July of 2014.
LGNZ president Lawrence Yule said in the report the survey results were fairly similar to the 2014 results and it was "evident that New Zealanders continue to seek stronger leadership and performance than what they perceive us to currently provide".
Rotorua Lakes Council acting chief executive Craig Tiriana said the council had been focusing on making improvements for the past few years and "our impression has been that we've made headway".
"We acknowledge there's always room for further improvement, but won't know how the national LGNZ survey relates to us specifically until we receive and analyse our own annual satisfaction survey."
The LGNZ survey results show the public and businesses "consider that local government has an increasingly important role in the country's prosperity and wellbeing, yet local government's reputation remains low, and is particularly low amongst businesses".
Key priority areas for improvement continue to be "sound financial decision making, delivering strong leadership to develop strategies for prosperity and wellbeing, and listening to, and acting upon, the needs of the community".
Mr Tiriana went on to say there could possibly be a "lack of understanding of the breadth of council work and services and we will keep looking for ways to improve that understanding".
"We are speaking with people on their own turf during consultation processes like the 2030 Vision refresh and spatial plan development and working alongside the community and Te Tatau o Te Arawa boards.
"We can only speculate about the reasons for ratings of local government.
"Locally, our customer centre deals with thousands of inquiries per month, over 9000 calls alone, and these are often related to regulatory matters, so that may provide some insight into general public perceptions.
"Reasons for business sector ratings is a question for them but we work with anyone or any group keen to work constructively with council," Mr Tiriana said.
He said last year's Rotorua Lakes Council NRB survey revealed 81 per cent of people surveyed rated council staff performance "acceptable or better".
Performance of elected members was rated as acceptable or better by 71 per cent of those surveyed and 64 per cent said they were "fairly or very satisfied" with how rates were spent.