Pros and cons of living in Wellington

Across all surveys, both those that were statistically robust as well as those where participants self-selected, there was a high degree of thematic consistency. While it’s impossible to quantify the factors below precisely from survey to survey because of the generally qualitative sense in which they were expressed, they all feature strongly.

In terms of the top ten things that people like most about Wellington, the compactness and ease of getting around were regular frontrunners across the surveys these were frequently followed by comments relating to the natural environment. The harbour and waterfront were often singled out for mention. A cluster of issues closely associated with the vibrancy of the capital – economically, culturally and socially – tended to round out the lists.

Top ten things people like about Wellington

  • A compact city that’s easy to get around
  • The natural environment and its accessibility
  • The harbour and waterfront
  • Cafes, restaurants, and bars
  • The vibrant and diverse culture
  • Tourist attractions
  • Public events
  • Public facilities
  • The sense of community
  • The feel and heritage of the city


Similarly, there was significant agreement from respondents within each survey about the biggest frustrations they face in Wellington.

Traffic and congestion issues appeared consistently at the top of people’s lists of concerns. These were frequently accompanied by comments relating to the ways in which they think public transport – in particular – should be improved to help deal with the problem.

Safety issues for both cyclists and pedestrians featured prominently too, with some mention of parking difficulties for motorists and road conditions rounding out transport themes.

High costs of living and the rising price of housing in Wellington also tended to be a fairly significant concern for many, supporting initial focus group findings.

Top ten frustrations about Wellington

  • Traffic and congestion
  • Public transport issues
  • Cost of living and housing
  • Parking difficulties
  • Weather
  • Cycle and pedestrian dangers
  • Cyclist/motorist interaction
  • Social issues and begging
  • Road condition and maintenance
  • Council decisions/priorities


Download UMR’s overall summary of research findings (PDF, 7.1MB)

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