Do you think life in Wellington has improved in the past 10 years?
We are happier and better educated – but we're also fatter, fewer businesses are opening and more people are unemployed, a new report has found.
The draft Genuine Progress Index report assessed wellbeing in the Wellington region and found its performance had improved by 5 per cent overall.
The report measures the region's progress in 83 categories from 2001 to 2010.
Community health and economic progress both stood out as areas where performance had declined.
The Greater Wellington regional council report for the Wellington regional strategy committee, which includes all the region's mayors, measures performance against the regional strategy.
Strategy and community engagement general manager Jane Davis said the report "told a story" about how the region was doing.
"The story is that in a lot of areas our wellbeing is good. In the health area and probably the economic activity area, we're starting to slip."
From the stories the report told, different agencies – including local and central government as well as community groups – could "drill down" to focus resources on areas that needed it, she said.
Community health was the main area of concern, with increasing levels of obesity and inactivity probably feeding into other areas, such as the growing number of avoidable admittances to hospital.
In 2003, 55.8 per cent of the region's population was overweight or obese. By 2007 that was 63.2 per cent – higher than the national level.
Porirua GP Larry Jordan said the report confirmed what a lot of people already knew was happening in the community.
"The prevalence of unhealthy eating in our community is going faster than the increase in endeavours to eat more healthy."
Reports such as this drew attention to the matter, but any moves to combat obesity would take a long time and had to be multi-pronged, he said. Along with government agencies, community groups and individual families also had to play a part.
"It's not something that gets solved in a year or even 10 years."
He often found himself being brutally honest with patients who believed they were not eating too much. "If you weigh 150kg I can tell you – it's not true."
In Wellington yesterday, residents said people needed to be encouraged to get active to help combat obesity.
"If Wellington wants less obesity, the price of exercise should be lowered, gyms and classes can be really expensive," student Alanah Ferris said.
Greater Wellington chairwoman Fran Wilde said the report was designed to encourage buy-in from different agencies and the community.
"No single organisation is going to be able to turn this round – we need to work together and have a common goal."
The committee would be releasing the information to the community, as well as discussing the findings with key agencies to look at how to address concerns raised in the report, she said.
Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown said the city was well aware of concerns about the economic situation, and was "absolutely focused" on addressing those problems, particularly with more public service cuts looming.
Groups such as Grow Wellington would play a vital role in focusing attention on filling offices in the CBD. But the region was coming out of a recession, and there was "plenty of light at the end of the tunnel".
City residents said yesterday that parking should be addressed to encourage business in the city.
Ms Davis said there were also positive points in the report – people are generally happy and feel safe in the city, more people are achieving NCEA and tertiary qualifications, and the environment was in a positive state.
The report was based on available research and statistics from numerous government agencies, and would continue to be updated as more information came to hand. It will be published once it is adopted by the regional strategy committee later this week.
The value of household and community work has increased, reaching $5.97 billion last year.
From 2001 to 2006 the proportion of the working-age population with no qualifications fell to 18.1 per cent.
More people are leaving school with NCEA level 2 or higher, reaching 76.9 per cent in 2009.
Last year, 36 per cent of freshwater sites were suitable for recreation, up from about 24 per cent in 2006.
80.9kg of material was recycled per person in 2010 – up from 69.2kg in 2008.
More people are using public transport, 76.4 per capita last year, up from 62.9 in 2001.
In 2009, 68.5 per cent of households had broadband internet access, up from 38.1 per cent in 2001.
Last year, 90.6 per cent of the region's residents indicated they were happy or very happy, up from 88.7 per cent in 2008.
In 2010, 86.9 per cent of residents felt safe, up from 84.1 per cent in 2008.
In 2010, business start-ups made up just 44.9 per cent of turnover, meaning more businesses shut.
The unemployment rate was 5.9 per cent last year, up from about 4.3 per cent in 2001.
In 2007, 63.2 per cent were overweight or obese, compared with 55.8 per cent in 2003.
In 2007, 18.7 per cent of adults showed potentially dangerous drinking habits, little changed from 18.3 per cent in 2003.
For every 1000 people, 23.4 were treated in hospital for avoidable reasons in 2010, compared with 20 in 2001.
In 2006, 14.8 per cent of adults did voluntary work, down from about 15.5 per cent in 2001.
In 2006, 25.2 per cent of people were living in deprivation, up from 23.3 per cent in 2001.
Last year, for every 10,000 people there were 142 crimes against people, compared with about 120 in 2001.
- © Fairfax NZ News
How diligent are you when it comes to sorting roadside recycling?Related story: City recycling a juggling act for council