Jeremy Smith reports Kāpiti councillors have been told that social media misinformation may be a significant part of the sharp drop in public perception of the District Council.
And third-term Councillor Jackie Elliott says the drop in the annual satisfaction survey is the worst in her time as an elected representative.
Six per cent drop in a year
This year’s survey shows the satisfaction level at 74 percent, a six percent drop on the result twelve months earlier.
The slide in satisfaction shows up in the March survey with 20 per cent showing as partly or very dissatisfied. It is even more apparent in the final survey with 25 per cent either partly or very dissatisfied.
The survey was carried out in four parts- over two periods in 2020 and two this year.
Two key issues
The briefing for Councillors noted that two issues seemed to be driving the drop- the Te Urihi gateway decision at Paraparaumu beach and rate increases.
These were in the news at the time of the final survey.
And it is the 60 plus age group which has particularly lost confidence.
Martin Halliday said this is the group most worried about rate rises.
“It seems to me we have a lot to talk about,” he opined.
“Not an outlier”
Deputy mayor Janet Holborow said the Kapiti result was not an outlier with the drop in confidence in councils throughout the country. But it was “undeniably disappointing.”
KCDC CEO Wayne Maxwell said they should make sure future surveys were not too long. Surveys with specific questions on designated topics should be separate from the overall satisfaction survey.
He said the council’s communications were not adequate and, in a reference to social media noted that more noise meant more information.
McCann worried about social media
Rob McCann said social media in the Kapiti district was full of false and misleading information and it signalled the need for better council management.
He referred to a “disconnect between we do and what people think we do”.
He also wondered if the raised level of anxiety in the community was partly related to Covid.
Meanwhile, KIN will continue to ferret out the truth — and separe fact from fiction where ever possible — Editor Alan Tristram