10 May 2018
A massive 2190 submissions on Hamilton City Council’s draft 10-Year Plan has been reflected in a record number of people who wish to speak about it to the Mayor and Councillors.
Verbal submissions on the plan start tomorrow, Friday 11 May, and the Council’s Chief Executive Richard Briggs says more than 300 people will be presenting their views in coming days.
“This consultation process has seen more engagement than ever before,” Mr Briggs says.
“People are really getting involved and having their say on the Council’s proposals.”
During the month-long draft 10-Year Plan consultation period, the Council’s website has received 80,000 more page views than during an average four-week period.
In December last year, after months of briefings and thousands of pages of detailed information, the Council put together its vision for the future of Hamilton.
A working group of four elected members was established to work with staff to develop the consultation document. At a Council meeting in March, Councillors voted to approve the documentation and questions for public consultation. The Consultation Document was then audited by Audit New Zealand.
“There’s been some discussion about the wording in the consultation document and whether some people may have misread a question but our city solicitor has confirmed, the process itself is robust,” Mr Briggs says.
“Further, the Council has this afternoon resolved to contact all submitters who have supplied an email address to confirm they understood this question and offer them the opportunity to amend it if needed.”
Mr Briggs says criticism of redactions of some content in submissions has been overstated.
“We’ve done this before in submissions, but there’s higher numbers, and higher interest in this one. To be clear, any changes to content have not changed the thrust of the submission and only around 5% of submissions had a word or words removed.”
Mr Briggs says the Council made redactions in three broad areas:
- For privacy reasons address details and/or information which may identify submitters beyond their name. This was the main reason for redactions.
- On legal advice content considered potentially defamatory was redacted.
- Offensive language was reviewed. A total of 23 words were redacted, across more than 2000 submissions.
The hearings start tomorrow and continue Monday to Thursday next week. They will be live-streamed through the Council’s website.
By early June the Council will make its final deliberations on the draft Plan, before it is finalised and audited. When complete, the Plan will be adopted in late June and take effect from 1 July 2018.