Regional Amenities Review
The Wellington Region Mayoral Forum is reviewing the funding of Wellington's regional amenities.
The term 'regional amenities' is defined here as any service, activity, event, attraction or facility (whether it be cultural, social, rescue, recreational, environmental or economic) that is of regional significance and benefit.
In December 2010 and January 2011, councils across the Wellington region worked with Colmar Brunton Social Research Company to conduct a regional survey of 2,000 residents to better understand:
- the types of amenities that residents view as important to Wellington region's identity, quality of life, economy and attractiveness
- the levels of public support for regionally funded amenities - as measured by whether residents support collaboration between councils and to what extent residents are prepared to pay for regional amenities.
For further details of the survey and results, refer to the Colmar Brunton Regional Resident Survey on Regional Amenities:
The research generated a sample list of 22 amenities. This list was used to test resident use of amenities as well as their:
- perception of the benefits provided by regionally significant amenities
- support for collaborative funding across the region
- willingness to pay to support regional amenities.
The survey results suggest that it would be worthwhile to continue looking at a regional fund to support amenities in the Wellington region.
The list of amenities included in Colmar Brunton's research is not a definitive list of amenities that the region should fund.
The funding review for Wellington's regional amenities is driven by the following factors:
- the declining ability of any single council to maintain existing amenities or to develop new amenities that meet resident and visitor expectation
- amenities are struggling to maintain talent and levels of service due to a cut in local sponsorship and grants funding, and limitations on household budgets
- the greater investment power and pull of Auckland Council for regional talent and organisations
- Creative New Zealand (CNZ) moving to a national, regional and local tiered funding structure for leading arts organisations.
Key Findings from the Survey
- Residents across the region highlighted a wide range of amenities as being regionally important and beneficial.
- Backing for region-wide support is not strongly related to level of use - people saw the regional importance of amenities whether or not they used them.
- The region-wide benefit of an amenity is normally viewed as a prerequisite for region-wide support.
- Views from those living outside the amenity's immediate council area did not differ very much from the regional results.
- Support for region-wide collaboration was fairly consistent across the different amenities.
- Most of the region's residents (76%) were willing to pay to support regional amenities and a regional fund.
The Mayoral Forum has agreed to continue work to confirm how a regional funding system would work to benefit the region.