Whanganui residents have been given more time to take part in the city-wide waste survey amid concerns many households have been missed.

Whanganui District Council is gauging public support among 18,000 urban households for a rate-funded rubbish and recycling collection ahead of next year's annual plan.

The survey was posted out to urban households earlier this month and about 3000 have been returned so far.

Council's waste advisor Stuart Hylton told council's strategy and finance committee that number could be expected to double over the next fortnight and people now have until November 9 to complete it.

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"I mean, 3000 responses in terms of credibility is fine, it's great, but I think 5000-6000 can be expected," he said.

"We're usually very good with this type of thing in Whanganui, we punch above our weight."

The survey asks if urban residents would prefer a ratepayer-funded recycling and rubbish collection, a recycling-only collection or to retain the current recycling drop-off and user-pays private rubbish collection.

Councillor Rob Vinsen, who himself had not received a survey, said there was evidence delivery of the survey was "unsatisfactory".

"Is it valid that a large number of people didn't get their survey forms?"

Hylton was "conscious some people have not received them" and had personally been notified of about 40 households.

Where council was notified "we are delivering them personally to their households", he said.

People who have not had a survey delivered are still able to request one.

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"There is no indication there are pockets geographically that have been missed. They do seem to be individual and it doesn't seem to be any particular suburb."

Vinsen asked if that raised the question of having to do it again.

"Ideally you want everyone to be able to participate, that goes without saying, but the validity of the survey with the number of responses we're going to receive will still remain," Hylton said.

"But I think council can be clear about that and have some confidence with the amount of responses they're going to get that they'll get a valid response to the survey."

Whanganui District Council's waste advisor Stuart Hylton says the household waste survey results will be valid. Photo/ Stuart Munro
Whanganui District Council's waste advisor Stuart Hylton says the household waste survey results will be valid. Photo/ Stuart Munro

The survey was not a referendum, Vinsen said.

"And the public need to understand that. It's an indication only and councillors will have to discuss the implications of that and use it as part of their background information for making a decision."

Meanwhile, councillor Helen Craig addressed concerns that the traffic light colour-coding on the survey options was trying to sway the survey result.

"There is some suggestion by some members of the public that is indicating council's preference, that it's a subliminal message to the community."

But Hylton said the "categorically" was not the case.

"I wasn't even aware of the colours until that was pointed out," he said.

"Graphic designers came up with it, we thought it looked good in total and didn't event think about that, so no, certainly wasn't the case."

Councillor Alan Taylor said councillor should not be concerned and suggested subliminal messaging was "much more hidden than just the use of different colours".

A council-run kerbside recycling-only collection would cost urban households about $100 per year ($2 per week), while a rubbish and recycling collection would cost $220 per year ($4.20 per week).

The council began considering the matter this year after Envirowaste decided to stop collecting rubbish bags in the city and Waste Management, the only other private waste collection company, indicated it was eyeing a similar move.

Envirowaste also stopped its recycling collection in April.

*People who have not received a household waste survey can call 06 349 0001 or email stuart.hylton@whanganui.govt.nz​.

*For more information visit www.whanganui.govt.nz/our-district/have-your-say/waste_survey/