For Wellingtonians it's home, sweet home

Wellingtonians believe they are safer, healthier and generally better off than most other New Zealanders, according to a new survey.

The quality-of-life survey conducted every two years in six cities shows Wellingtonians are generally more content than their urban brethren elsewhere.

Nearly nine in 10 Wellingtonians are happy with their quality of life - more than the proportion in the other cities surveyed.

They also consider themselves healthier, and feel safer walking home day or night, even when travelling through the central city. Despite the capital's infamously tight and winding streets, its residents are the least concerned about dangerous drivers.

The general lack of concern may arise from a deep conviction that they are living in a wonderful city - a view held by 93 per cent of Wellington residents.

And they are generally happy for others to enjoy it as well, with Wellingtonians the most tolerant of diversity.

One of the few areas in which Wellington rates poorly is for the impact of drugs and alcohol, with seven out of 10 residents expressing some concern. They were still less alarmed than student-swamped Dunedinites, where eight out of 10 expressed concern.

Wellingtonians and their neighbours in the Hutt Valley and Porirua were also most satisfied with their local councils in almost every way.

Christchurch residents, whose council has ceded much of its power to central government since the 2011 earthquake, were the least satisfied.

The three Wellington region cities were also the heaviest users of public transport and were the least concerned about air pollution.

But though Wellingtonians felt safe almost anywhere, Porirua and Hutt Valley residents were less comfortable wandering about. Despite Porirua having the greatest sense of community among the cities surveyed, it also had the highest level of concern over crime. A high proportion surveyed in Porirua and the Hutt Valley were concerned about vandalism, car thefts and "unsafe people".

Despite Wellington being the most satisfied city, residents were less positive than two years ago. This was true of all cities surveyed.

More than 5000 people across the country participated in the survey, jointly funded by participating councils. Hamilton and Tauranga were the only major urban centres not to participate.

Contact Ben Heather
Social Issues reporter
Twitter: @BHeatherJourno

The Dominion Post