Public Forums, Deputations and Petitions
The opportunity for members of the public to address Council or a Council Committee is available under Council’s Standing Orders. If you wish to speak to one of our meetings please read the information below.
Public forums are a defined period of time, usually at the start of a meeting, which, at the discretion of a meeting, is put aside for the purpose of public input. Public forums are designed to enable members of the public to bring matters to the attention of the local authority.
In the case of a committee, subcommittee, local or community board, any issue, idea or matter raised in a public forum must also fall within the terms of reference of that meeting.
A period of up to 30 minutes, or such longer time as the meeting may determine, will be available for the public forum at each scheduled local authority meeting. Requests must be made to the meeting secretary at least one clear day before the meeting; however this requirement may be waived by the Chairperson. Requests should also outline the matters that will be addressed by the speaker(s). You should phone the Council on 0800 422 522 if you want to request a speaking time.
Speakers can speak for up to 5 minutes. No more than two speakers can speak on behalf of an organisation during a public forum. Where the number of speakers presenting in the public forum exceeds 6 in total, the Chairperson has discretion to restrict the speaking time permitted for all presenters.
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;
- the matter is subject to a hearing, including the hearing of submissions where the local authority or committee sits in a quasi-judicial capacity.
Following the public forum no debate or decisions will be made at the meeting on issues raised during the forum unless related to items already on the agenda.
The purpose of a deputation is to enable a person, group or organisation to make a presentation to a meeting on a matter or matters covered by that meeting’s terms of reference. Deputations are approved by the Chairperson or an official with delegated authority five working days before the meeting. Deputations may be heard at the commencement of the meeting or at the time that the relevant agenda item is being considered.
Speakers can speak for up to 5 minutes. No more than two speakers can speak on behalf of an organisation’s deputation. You should phone the Council on 0800 422 522 if you want to request a speaking time.
The Chairperson has the discretion to decline to hear or terminate a deputation at any time where:
Questions of a deputation
At the conclusion of the deputation members may, with the permission of the Chairperson, ask questions of speakers. Questions are to be confined to obtaining information or clarification on matters raised by the deputation.
Any debate on a matter raised in a deputation must occur at the time at which the matter is scheduled to be discussed on the meeting agenda, and once a motion has been moved and seconded.
Form of petitions
Petitions may be presented to the local authority or any of its committees, local boards or community boards. Petitions must contain at least 20 signatures and consist of fewer than 150 words (not including signatories). They 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, use offensive language or include malicious statements (see standing order 21.9 on qualified privilege). They may 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 be translated and reprinted, if necessary.
Petition presented by petitioner
A petitioner who presents a petition to the local authority or any of its committees and subcommittees, local boards or community boards, may speak for 5 minutes (excluding questions) about the petition, unless the meeting resolves otherwise. The Chairperson must terminate the presentation of the petition if he or she believes the petitioner is being disrespectful, offensive or making malicious statements.
Where a petition is presented as part of a deputation or public forum the speaking time limits relating to deputations or public forums shall apply. The petition must be received by the chief executive at least 5 working days before the date of the meeting concerned.
Petition presented by member
Members may present petitions on behalf of petitioners. In doing so, members must confine themselves to presenting:
- the petition;
- the petitioners’ statement; and
- the number of signatures.