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Attending a Meeting

Attending a Council, Committee or Community Board meeting.

Attending a Meeting

You can attend any council, committee or community board meeting unless it is public excluded (see below). You are welcome to come and listen, but you cannot interrupt or make a comment.

Public excluded meetings

A local authority has to provide a good reason if they wish to exclude the public from council or committee meetings - this also includes the media. The reasons for excluding the public are listed in the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987.

Making a verbal submission to a public consultation or hearing

If you have made a submission to a public consultation or hearing you can request to come along to present your submission at a formal meeting. You will be asked if you want to do this on the submission form. We have put together a handy guide to help you should you wish to speak to your submission in person.

Where council meetings are held

Council and committee meetings are normally held in the council chambers at Fairlie. Several times a year council meetings are held off-site at Tekapo and Twizel.

Fairlie, Tekapo and Twizel community board meetings are held at the respective locations.

Who will be at the meeting

There will be the chair of the meeting, elected members and council staff. Other members of the public and the media may also be there.

What happens before the meeting

If you have made a submission to a consultation and requested to come along and present, we will contact you and let you know the date, time and venue of the meeting. You will be allocated 10 minutes which includes question and answer time.

Please let us know if you have any special needs or require any audio visual facilities. If you wish to present your submission in Māori or sign language please contact us at least two working days before the meeting. We may need to arrange for an interpreter so the more time you can give us the better.

At the meeting

Please choose a seat in the public seating area. In the Council Chamber at Fairlie this is to the right of the door you come in through. When it is your turn to speak the chair will introduce you to the meeting and invite you up to the table. Any equipment you have prearranged to use will be available to you. When you have finished speaking elected members may ask you a few questions. The questions will be for clarification, no debate will take place.

Once you have spoken you may take a seat back in the public seating area and listen to the rest of the public proceedings or leave the meeting.

Public Forums

Public forums are usually held at the start of a meeting and are designed so members of the public can bring matters to the attention of the council or community board.

Anyone can speak at a public forum. You can bring along written material or a presentation supporting your position, but please ensure that enough copies are available for all elected members. If you send your written material or presentation to the governance advisor up to 48 hours before the meeting, copies can be made for you.

At the conclusion of your presentation, elected members may ask you questions. Usually, the purpose of these questions is to obtain information or clarification from you on matters you have raised.

Legislation prevents hasty decisions. The elected members are not allowed to decide on a path of action after hearing from you at a public forum. They can, however, ask staff to prepare a report on your issue to bring to a future meeting. This report will consider the options, the costs, the resources needed, and will contain staff recommendations on a path forward.

Sometimes the issue you raise will already be on the agenda for later in the meeting, with a staff report already available. In this case the issue will be debated, and decisions made, when that agenda item comes up. You are welcome to stay in the meeting and observe, as long as the matter is not public excluded (e.g. to protect privacy or commercial information).

Conduct at Public Forums

The Chairperson has the discretion to decline to hear a speaker or to terminate a presentation at any time where:

  • A speaker is repeating views presented by an earlier speaker at the same public forum.
  • The speaker is criticising elected members and/or staff.
  • The speaker is being repetitious, disrespectful or offensive;
  • The speaker has previously spoken on the same issue;
  • The matter is subject to legal proceedings; or
  • The matter is subject to a hearing, including the hearing of submissions.

If there are many people wishing to speak on the same issue at a public forum, the chairperson has the discretion to restrict the speaking time permitted for all presenters.

Request to Speak at a Public Forum

Have your say at a Mackenzie District Public Forum.