Public opinion on councils’ role to provide shade in public places: In Fact

Public opinion on councils’ role to provide shade ...
01 Feb 2015

HPA’s SunSmart programme encourages New Zealanders to reduce excessive sun exposure by staying in the shade, as well as adopting other sun protection behaviours. In addition to promoting individual responsibility for sun protection, HPA also works to encourage sun-safe environments. Councils have the opportunity to consider shade provision for the “local recreational facilities and community amenities” that they manage (Local Government Act 2002, Amendment Act 2014, 2015). The 2013 Sun Exposure Survey (SES) asked New Zealanders about their expectations of their councils to provide shade.


Respondents aged 18 or older were asked two questions about their opinion on their council’s role in providing shade. First, they were asked how much they agree with the statement "I expect local councils to use money from rates to provide shade in public places such as beaches, pools, parks and gardens". They were then asked how much they agree with the statement "I would pay ($10/$20/$30) more on my annual rates or rent if it meant that local councils could provide more shade in public places". The dollar amount included in the question was randomised so that approximately a third of the sample was asked $10, a third was asked $20, and the remaining third was asked if they would pay $30. This method allows comparisons to be made about how much respondents are willing to pay to have shade provided in their community.

Response options to both questions include "strongly agree", "somewhat agree", "neither/nor", "somewhat disagree", "strongly disagree", and "don’t know". To examine differences in agreement by different subgroups (ie, age, gender, skin type, tanning attitudes, and whether the respondent was sunburnt the weekend prior to interview), responses were grouped into "agree" (strongly agree and somewhat agree) or "not in agreement" (neither/nor, somewhat disagree, strongly disagree). "Don’t know" responses were removed from the subgroup analyses. The Fitzpatrick Scale was adapted to classify skin type into one of the following three categories- "Just burn, and not tan afterwards", "Burn first, then tan afterwards", and "Not burn at all, just tan" (Fitzpatrick, 1988). Tanning attitudes were assessed by agreement with the statement "A suntan makes me feel better about myself". Responses were grouped using the same method as above ("agree" or "not in agreement").

Key Results

• More than three-quarters of respondents (77.6%) agreed that they expect their council to use money from rates to provide shade in public places.

• Females (80%) are more likely than males (72%) to agree that their council should provide shade in public places.

• Younger age groups (18 to 24 and 25 to 34-year-olds) (81% and 83 %, respectively) are more likely than 45 to 54-year-olds (72%) to agree that councils should provide shade in public places.

Page last modified: 15 Mar 2018