Top rating for student army boss

LEADER: Student Army founder Sam Johnson.
LEADER: Student Army founder Sam Johnson.

Tousle-haired Student Volunteer Army head Sam Johnson and controversial Christchurch City Council boss Tony Marryatt find themselves at opposite ends of the leadership spectrum in The Press's Local Issues Survey.

In a time of crisis Christchurch residents have looked to their leaders for guidance and reassurance.

The Opinions Market Research survey shows some have inspired us with their efforts, others have dispirited us, and the work of others remains seemingly unknown.

The top dogs of local and central government agencies, and of business and community organisations, came under the spotlight in The Press survey of 300 Christchurch, 33 Waimakariri and 26 Selwyn residents.

Johnson's performance was head and shoulders above the rest, with a staggering 98 per cent of the 359 surveyed considering he had done a good job.

Fifty-eight per cent said his leadership had been "extremely good" and 33 per cent said it was "very good".

The perception of charismatic cyclist Roger Sutton as a white knight riding to the city's rescue still holds firm in the minds of residents, with 81 per cent of those surveyed saying he is doing a good job as chief executive of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera). Thirty-six per cent believe Sutton is "very good" and 19 per cent consider his performance "extremely good".

Other high-fliers in the survey are Prime Minister John Key and Labour earthquake spokeswoman and Christchurch East MP Lianne Dalziel, perceived by 74 and 73 per cent of the survey group respectively to be performing well.

Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker has put in a good performance since the earthquakes, according to 63 per cent of the 300 Christchurch people asked the question, while former Cera operations general manager and now Christchurch Central Development Unit director Warwick Isaacs' performance was unknown to 24 per cent but was rated "good" by 62 per cent of 359 respon-dents.

Unlike Dalziel's high approval rate, Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee's performance polarised the survey group, with 52 per cent saying it had been good but 44 per cent considering it poor.

Recipients found it more difficult to say how Earthquake Commission chief executive Ian Simpson had performed, with 33 per cent stating they did not know how he had done.

Only 36 per cent thought it had been a good performance and 31 per cent said it was poor.

The worst performance rating was for Marryatt. Sixty-five per cent said he had done a poor job and only 24 per cent rated his work as good. The remainder didn't know.

The results among the 300 Christchurch participants were similar.

Sutton (good – 78 per cent) and Dalziel (75 per cent) were at the top, followed by Key (69 per cent), Parker (63 per cent) and Isaacs (61 per cent).

Opinions were evenly divided among city respondents about whether Brownlee had done a good or poor job (48 per cent each way).

Simpson's performance was still something of a mystery to 34 per cent, the same proportion who believed he was doing well, while 33 per cent considered his work poor.

Marryatt's performance was judged to be even worse by Christchurch residents than the wider sample. Sixty-nine per cent said it was poor and 22 per cent thought it was good.

Respondents were also asked to rate the performance of the leaders of community and business organisations.

Three-quarters believed Canterbury University geologist and science communicator Dr Mark Quigley had done a good job and 63 per cent thought former Christ Church Cathedral dean and now city councillor Peter Beck had put in a good performance.

However, the achievements of Anglican Bishop of Christchurch Victoria Matthews, split the survey group, with 45 per cent stating it was good and 44 per cent judging it as poor.

The Christchurch respondents rated her more harshly, with 47 per cent saying she had performed poorly and 42 per cent saying she had done a good job.

Christchurch residents in the Hagley-Ferrymead ward differed largely in their ratings of leaders performance. They communicated significantly lower levels of satisfaction with individual performance across the board, with the exception of Johnson and Parker, who were given a similar performance rating to that of other residents, while Dalziel got considerably higher praise.

Smaller groups from the Selwyn and Waimakariri districts gave their views on their respective mayors. Eighty-four per cent of 33 respondents said Waimakariri Mayor David Ayers had done a good job, six per cent believed it was poor and nine per cent did not know how to rate it.

Interestingly, Selwyn Mayor Kelvin Coe's performance could not be judged by 54 per cent of the 26 respondents living in the district, who were possibly newcomers from Christchurch. Thirty-four per cent said it was good and 12 per cent rated it poor.

Tomorrow – the performance of groups and agencies.

The Press