We asked for your feedback on the natural environment. More than 2300 of you gave us your feedback, here is a summary of what you told us.

2018 results

Environmental issues and biodiversity

53% of respondents feel they have good or very good knowledge of the environmental issues in Christchurch and Banks Peninsula.

An additional 35% stated they have neither good nor poor knowledge of environmental issues in the Christchurch and Banks Peninsula.

Fewer respondents rated their understanding of biodiversity in Christchurch and Banks Peninsula as high, with 44% considering they have good or very good knowledge of biodiversity, and 38% stating they have neither good or poor knowledge of biodiversity in Christchurch and Banks Peninsula.

“I had pretty good knowledge pre-earthquake's, but now I've lost my way a bit.”

“Don't really seek out the issues, but am aware of some (e.g. bore water contamination) through the media.”

Visits to natural areas

The most popular natural areas that respondents visit are the city’s beaches, the Port Hills, the Ōtākaro/Avon and Ōpāwaho/Heathcote rivers and Banks Peninsula’s Bays and Harbours, with between 60% and 80 % of respondents visiting these areas in the past 12 months.

3% of respondents had not visited any of these areas in the past 12 months.

The main reasons given for going to these areas are for recreational purposes such as walking, biking etc 85%, and the scenery and views with 77%.

“Ensuring whanau & mokopuna know where they are from and the stories of their tipuna”

“I am so grateful to have these places on our doorstep.”

Protection and identity values

97% of respondents agree or strongly agree that the city’s natural plant, birds, animals and landscapes need to be protected for future generations, the majority (79%) strongly agree with this statement.

95% of respondents agree or strongly agreed that areas of native bush, tussock land and wetlands are an important part of the identity of Christchurch and Banks Peninsula.

Many of the open-end responses wanted to see native environments and species balanced with non-native or English garden aspects of the city’s identity.

There were some who preferred exotic planting (but not the majority), much of this is within the urban area.

“Whether people understand it or not. These natural environments are one of the most special things about Christchurch. Interaction with nature is just out your front door. It is one of the most special cities in the world for this. Climb the hills, swim in the sea. Surf beach, quiet bay etc. it is what keeps it’s people mentally healthy and happy. The wildlife is essential to our happiness also. We must look after it and protect it.”

Condition of the environment

Respondents generally feel the following environments are in good condition:

  • Parks and reserves (49% of respondents)

  • Native bush and forests (48% of respondents)

  • Air quality (41% of respondents)

Respondents generally feel the following are in poor condition:

  • Surface water including streams, rivers and lakes (76% of respondents)

  • River banks (57% of respondents)

  • Groundwater (41% of respondents)

The city’s coastal waters are thought to be in poor condition by 34% of respondents, and in good condition by 33% of respondents.

15% of respondents stated that none of the listed environments were in good condition.

“Everyone harps on about the air in Christchurch when, really, we need to spend more time and effort on our waterways”

“I am impressed, however, by efforts to encourage river bank regeneration along Ōtākaro and Ōpāwaho rivers”

Perception of water quality and litter

63% of respondents think water quality in Christchurch’s waterways is either poor or very poor.

Around 9% of respondents think the water quality in the Christchurch waterways is good or very good, while 24% think they are neither good nor poor.

Water quality of Banks Peninsula waterways is perceived to be better (results only include Banks Peninsula residents (n = 176) as many respondents said they did not know about water quality on the Peninsula) than in the water quality of  city waterways, with around 30% saying it is poor or neither good nor poor.

25% of Banks Peninsula respondents thought water quality was good or very good.

80% of respondents said they see rubbish or litter in Christchurch’s waterways often, most of the time or always. 17% of these respondents said they always see rubbish or litter in Christchurch’s waterways.

53% of Banks Peninsula respondents said they see rubbish or litter in Banks Peninsula waterways at least often while 41% rarely or never.

“I look for eels and trout as an indicator of water condition. They are getting harder to find!”

“Lake Forsyth is the gateway to BP – so it's hard to give anything above Very Poor to BP waterways overall with Wairewa in such a bad state...  In Chch there are some nice little streams that counter the poor state of the 2 main rivers.”

Volunteering and individual actions

29% of respondents have carried out conservation volunteer work in the past 12 months.

The main type of voluntary work has been maintaining natural environments such as picking up rubbish and weeding, with 66% of those who had volunteered doing this.

The most common individual action respondents carried out to improve the environment was living sustainably (89%).

More than 90% of respondents recycle and have made their homes energy efficient (98% and 90% respectively).

“I feel ChCh is so far behind other cities, for example Wellington has Zealandia and council/community-wide initiatives to trap pests and then Dunedin with Orokanui,… we really need to do better as a city.”

“I would like to volunteer to plant but I am not sure when this happens or how to join”

Protecting natural environment

Respondents feel the responsibility for protecting and maintaining the environment in Christchurch and Banks Peninsula fell on all the groups and organisations listed, with between 86% and 92% of respondents each.

Many of the other responses (approximately 5%) included “all of us” statements, but also identified local Māori / Ngāi tahu, iwi and runanga as groups that should also be included as well as other government departments responsible for protecting and maintaining the environment in addition to the Department of Conservation.

When asked if the Council was doing enough to protect and enhance biodiversity in the city, 19% of respondents agree, 38% were neutral and 33% disagree or strongly disagree.

“Funding is always an issue when it comes to conservation. But our native biodiversity is priceless.”

“Doing best with available resources. I've met some Christchurch City Council Rangers. Good people doing a great job”

Views on climate change

68% of respondents feel very concerned about climate change and feel it is a real threat.  This compared with 49% who felt the same way 10 years ago in the 2007 Christchurch City Council Natural Environment Strategies survey.

12% of respondents are also concerned about climate change, but thought other issues are more important.  This is a similar result to 10 years ago (14%).

Confusion about climate change due to conflicting views decreased by half from 21% to 10% over the 10 years.

The proportion of people who do not believe in climate change has also declined from 12% to 2%.

Only 10% of respondents feel the Council is doing everything it can to address climate change, while 13% feel Central Government was.  However, more respondents feel Central Government (50%) wasn’t doing enough to address climate change than the Council (39%).

“This is the overwhelming issue of our time and I fear for my grandchildren.”

“We are a coastal town at near sea level and with a high water table. We can’t afford to ignore climate change”

Impacts of climate change

The top three challenges respondents think would result from climate change in Christchurch are:

  • Sea level rise (66%)

  • Increased extreme weather events (65%)

  • Increased natural disasters such as floods, wild fires and drought (44%).

“What really concerns me is not the effect on Christchurch as much as the effect on the places I love to go on the weekends: the rivers, the ski-fields, the amazing West Coast...”

“I live at Redcliffs and am personally very aware of issues....  but dumbfounded at lack of knowledge or willingness to act of fellow citizens."

The full set of results from the survey can be found in the 2018 natural environment summary report [PDF, 538 KB].