Celebrating Our Quality of Life

30 April 2013

Despite the occasional southerly breeze, Wellingtonians know that with its unparalleled access to nature, wonderfully compact form and uniquely creative and friendly atmosphere – our city is an absolutely positively fantastic place to live.

Surfer walking on Wellington's south coast.

Knock off work and you can be surfing on the south coast in 10-15 minutes

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Increasingly, it’s not just locals who recognise this – Wellington is receiving major international accolades on a regular basis.

Most recently, the Capital was found to be an environmental leader for cities across  Australasia in The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Australia-New Zealand Siemens Green City Index.

Using a range of criteria, the index compared Wellington to six major cities across the region – Adelaide, Auckland, Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney and Perth. The index aims to show best practice.

Wellington City Council’s new Chief Executive, Kevin Lavery, says the survey firmly established our city as a top performer in key areas, especially when it comes to air quality, carbon dioxide emissions, energy consumption and waste management.

This is a major accolade for Wellington from a highly respected international research organisation. The survey’s findings will also be extremely useful to help guide our future decisions on environmental policy.”

The study praised Wellington for its commitment to renewable energy – with wind turbines generating enough electricity for the city’s domestic use (about 70,000 homes) – and also found our residents use less energy, generate less waste, recycle and walk more than the average across the surveyed cities.

As well as being highly rated for our environmental credentials, Wellington fares extraordinarily well for ‘liveability’ ratings. Late last year we won our category (population 150,000–400,000) in the International Awards for Liveable Communities.

This is no mean feat,” says Mr Lavery. “These awards are associated with the UN, and received entries from 60 cities in 40 countries. Past winners and contenders include Chicago, Seattle and Sienna.”

The award is notable when you consider that despite the growth in megacities, the largest percentage of the world’s population live in cities like ours with populations of 100,000– 500,000. And our city is the most liveable.

Mr Lavery believes this represents a real opportunity for Wellington to position itself as a model city internationally and attract new people, new businesses and new opportunities.

Quality of life is a major factor in people’s decisions on where to live. We need to seize on every available advantage in order to attract skilled migrants and do business with the world.”

Our high quality of life was also reinforced by last year’s national survey on Quality of Life in New Zealand’s Largest Cities, released in February this year.

Wellington consistently outperformed the national average across a range of key indicators, including health, public transport, city safety, and cultural richness and diversity.

Compellingly, 93 percent of Wellingtonians agreed our city was a great place to live in.

Clearly, Mr Lavery says, Wellington is doing very well. But we can’t afford to be complacent.

With its talented, creative population, enviable connections to nature and increasingly diverse economic opportunities, this city has some remarkable attributes. I look forward to working with Wellingtonians to continue building on these to make it an even better place to live. I chose Wellington just recently, and I intend to make sure plenty of others will too.”