Really – With The Surveys?

Seems the Centre Right are Lacking Again?

 

This keeps cropping up today thanks to Councillor Cameron Brewer:

Polls cost millions

Len Brown‘s Auckland Council has spent more than $5.1 million on pollsters and surveys in the past three years.

A council spokesman said about 60 per cent of the spending was required under law, mainly for annual planning and reporting.

 

But councillor Cameron Brewer said spending on pollsters was “out of control”.

 

Brewer said: “Think of the improvements a local park or playground could’ve enjoyed with this money. Instead it’s all gone into lining the pockets of private pollsters.”

The figures were released to Brewer under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act.

 

“It’s time to stop the spinning and get back to delivering core council services for ratepayers,” he said. He suspected the polling was being done for “purely political reasons”.

 

A further $212,237 has been spent on around 15,827 panellists that the council use to “have their say on a wide range of council issues, activities and plans”.

You can read the rest over at the Herald site.

 

Seriously though is this all Cameron and candidate for mayorship Palino really think about at the moment?

While conducting polls is a vexed issue (and rightfully so), the People’s Panel to which I participate in is a straight forward exercise.

You sign up and periodically you get to fill out an electronic survey that comes into your email box. Where ever you can access the emails you can do the survey. And that means some days I might be filling one out at a lunch break in Town Hall. Most are short (although I did get a long one on parks and recreation) and relate to CORE service issues Council provide and the Right Wing blather on about.

The surveys I have done from the People’s Panel have included:

  • The Proposed Takanini Library (survey commissioned by the Local Board)
  • Parks and Recreation
  • Unitary Plan (had a few of those and a reason I was invited to the Civic Forums on the Unitary Plan)
  • Public Transport
  • The CBD

I seriously don’t see what the problem is with the People’s Panel (which do release summaries after the said survey). The surveys are designed to be quick, efficient and “portable” for when Council, the Local Boards, or even Auckland Transport are scoping out opinions.

Yes Desley (of Orakei) we can go to the Local Boards and the Local Boards can come to us. But, that can be slow and cumbersome when one needs a quick fire quantitative survey done on something. Heck even the Papakura Local Board engaged in a People’s Panel survey on the proposed Library.

I would assume my Local Board would then hold face to face or submission sessions on the Library if the survey results were in favour of the proposal.

 

So the People’s Panel has its use and I don’t mind giving my opinions to the Council in that format when they want to answer something particular. It can sure beat writing 105 page submissions and long blog posts to boot.

But, in their drive for “savings” and “core services” it would seem Brewer and Palino would cut off an actual “core service” – by denying an easy medium for Council to (you know Cameron seeming you go on about it) engage with the local or wider community.

Oh and if you wonder about the gauge of opinions, well I know the Panel would be diverse if my comments and Facebook friend Scott’s are anything to go by. Some days we would agree other days the Centre Left and Centre Right arguments (me being the “young Tory) will come out. And by looking at the Civic Forums the mix was reasonably balanced except on the geographic front where South Auckland was lacking in numbers BADLY!

 

Come on guys find better ways in getting our rates bill down – while not hobbling an engagement arm Council and running distractions on lack of hard policy…

2 thoughts on “Really – With The Surveys?

    1. Might not in the release, but he did mention and imply it in both Social and Main Stream Media. Catch is Millie would you scrap the Panel that reaches 15,100 and is a tool of many to engage the community?

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