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Waste consultation submissions analysis requires a different approach

15 Sep 2023

Residents were invited to have their say on proposed changes to rubbish collection services and how that is paid for in collection zone one, between 7 August and 4 September 2023, which was extended to Thursday 7 September.  

Infrastructure delivery manager Eric de Boer says 340 submissions were received in total - 182 in written form and 158 online.  

He notes “Given the quantity and quality of the information provided by submitters to the recent Waste Management consultation we felt it was appropriate to outsource the analysis to ensure the community's voice was correctly captured ahead of the upcoming hearings.” 

“This consultation has generated a lot of interest in the community, more so than most. Factors such as the increased cost and the mandatory nature of the proposed new system have sparked debate in the community and, from what we can see of the submissions generally, prompted a number of submissions focused on elements of affordability for single person households and low users in particular.

More than 70 percent (approx. 240 submitters) indicated they are not in favour of the change. Around 21 percent (71 submitters) were in favour or strongly in favour, with others remaining neutral in their views or not supplying the information. 

“As the changes were proposed as a package, we asked people what they thought of the package as a whole and to identify particular elements that they wanted to comment on.

This has resulted in a large number of submissions that have provided valuable comments and insights.  This volume of material needs to be unpacked in order to accurately reflect the community's concerns and suggestions.  

“Therefore, staff opted to employ Wellington-based Public Voice Ltd which has a lot of experience with Local Government consultations, to analyse the data for council, using advanced software. This ensures an objective, impartial treatment of the submissions and will provide staff and elected members with the necessary information on the common themes and people’s inputs.

The cost is $11,000 plus GST for the data analysis. The promotional budget for the entire consultation has been around $6,000 plus GST.  Cost to date remains in the overall budgets set by Council for the service level review and ultimate contract retendering as part of this year's Annual Plan.”  

“In the past, we have used research companies for engagements like the Customer Satisfaction Survey, but not usually for a consultation.  

“This situation required a different approach to analyse the data since council does not hold the internal resources, expertise or the technology to deal with that type and quantity of data,” says Mr de Boer. 

The final submission summary reports will be considered by full Council for their governance decision making. Public hearings are due to be held on 11 October.  Council staff will be contacting the submitters that indicated they wished to speak in order to agree on the timetable for the oral submissions on the day.   


For further information please contact: 
Infrastructure Delivery Manager 
Eric de Boer