Public Attendance and Participation at Meetings

Everyone is welcome to attend our public meetings - this page explains how you can be involved. There is a public seating area at meetings where you can observe the meeting, and many meetings have a public forum where you can speak if you wish.

Public Forum

At the beginning of ordinary meetings up to 30 minutes is set aside for public forum. Each speaker is allocated up to five minutes.

You are advised to pre-register your intention to speak with the Committee Secretary, as well as the topic you wish to speak on. Details of how to contact the Committee Secretary can be found on the front page of any meeting agenda for the Committee at which you wish to speak.

Members of the public may speak on any item within the delegations of that meeting provided the matters are not subject to to legal proceedings, or subject to a consultation process which provides for submissions to be heard. 

With the permission of the Chairperson, members may ask questions in public forum, but questions must be to obtain information or clarify of matters raised by the person speaking. Members won't engage in debate or make decisions about matters raised.

These presentations don't form part of the formal business of the meeting - a brief record will be kept of the matters raised. Any matters requiring further investigation may be referred to staff by the Chairperson.

Where two Committee or Subcommittee meetings are scheduled for one day, ordinarily only one public forum will be offered at the start of the first meeting.

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Presentations are another way the public or community groups can address meetings. Presentations may not be given on matters subject to legal proceedings, or subject to a process which provides for submissions to be heard.  Presentations are limited to 10 minutes, unless the members of the meeting decide otherwise. Presentations exclude presenting petitions.

We require at least one day's notice to the Chairperson or Chief Executive for an individual or community group to present during the 'public forum' part of the meeting.  

Alternatively, presentations about any matter on the agenda for that meeting may also be received and heard during the normal course of the meeting, providing you have applied to, and received approval from, the Chairperson or Chief Executive at least two working days before the agenda is sent out to members. 

The Chairperson can refuse a presentation, and also has the discretion to allow a late presentation, if it is an item of urgency or major public interest. Other stipulations also apply - please check if you intend to apply to give a presentation.

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Any petition presented to the Council must contain at least 20 signatures and must consist of fewer than 150 words (not including signatories). Petitions must be received by the Chief Executive at least 5 working days before the date of the meeting at which they will be presented. Petitions must not be disrespectful, malicious or use offensive language.

Petitions must be written in English or te reo Māori. Petitioners planning to make a petition in te reo Māori or sign language should advise the relevant Chairperson at least two working days before the meeting to enable the petition to be translated and reprinted, if necessary.

Where a petitioner wants to present a petition to a meeting, a limit of 5 minutes is placed on that person.  Alternatively, a petitioner can ask a member to present a petition on their behalf.  Petitions are normally taken during the 'public forum' part of a meeting. 

Contact Council for other stipulations that apply to petitions.

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Public Excluded Sessions

While all Council meetings are open to the public, sometimes parts of the meeting are kept confidential and the public are asked to leave ( this is also known as 'In-Committee' meetings).

The meeting must agree that one or more of the reasons listed in the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 apply for the public to be excluded and for the reports for that part of the agenda be kept confidential. 

Ordinarily the items to be considered confidentially are listed in the publicly available agenda, along with the reasons why staff recommend they are kept confidential.  

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