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Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Wayne Brown is urging the public to overcome “consultation fatigue”

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Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown. Photo: Supplied
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Local Democracy Reporting | Free Public Interest News Service

By Kim Meredith of Local Democracy Reporting

Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown is urging the public to overcome “consultation fatigue” and help community boards with their future planning.

Across the country, community boards have released their strategic draft plans setting out the vision for the next three years, with public submissions now open until August 14.

Mayor Brown said the importance of public consultation was demonstrated recently when Auckland Council set its controversial annual budget. More than 40,000 public submissions were received, helping to guide elected officials who debated fiercely, in particular over the selling of the Council owned Auckland International Airport Limited shares.

“I really encourage Aucklanders to take the time and think about what is important for them and their community. Feedback from the public is what guides decision making. For instance, Council’s final annual budget was different from the proposal we consulted on, because it reflected the feedback we received from all Aucklanders. It is vitally important to have your say, it can make all the difference!”

Auckland councillor Lotu Fuli Photo: Jared Williamson/ Stuff

Manukau ward councillor Lotu Fuli agreed “consultation fatigue” was likely with the public being urged to plug in and give feedback on a number of major strategic plans as well as tuning in during the general election year.

“I absolutely agree and totally understand if our communities are feeling ‘over it’ with all the consultation and requests for feedback. But I’d encourage them to please participate in this round of Local Board plans, as it’s often at the local level that most of our church, youth, sports and seniors group get support.”

Manukau ward councillor Alf Filipaina said planning at the local level required the input of a local voice.

“It’s about the community and where they live, whereas the Long Term Plan is a regional look. Matters for the local board are directly relative for our community.”

Henderson-Massey Local board member Oscar Kightley. Photo: Stuff

Henderson-Massey local board member and international actor Oscar Kightley said the last six months had been harrowing with the council’s annual budget the most contested since the Super City started 13 years ago.

“It’s important to drive community engagement, lots of people came forward and [now] with local board consultation, people are a little bit exhausted.”

Since coming into the role as the first Pacific member of the Henderson-Massey local board last year, Kightley said the machinery of local government was constant and consultation was necessary for transparency.

“Plans have to be improved, strategic directions have to be consulted. It never stops, this is a really important one for decision making for the next three years. If you don’t get in there and tell them what you think is important; what could be better than elected representatives making decisions on your behalf. You’ve already voted for them, it’s important for the process to have that transparency, that everyone gets to have input.”

Mangere-Otahuhu Local Board Chairperson Tauanu’u Nick Bakulich. Photo: Twitter / Tauanu’u Nick Bakulich

Māngere-Ōtāhuhu local board chair Tuanu’u Nanai Nick Bakulich reiterated the importance for Pacific communities to have a say and consult on local board planning.

“There is consultation fatigue, it seems to come around faster and faster. The big point is having your say, even if it’s brief, whether you agree or support the direction. The last thing we want is having a community with 60 per cent Pasifika and then [later] hearing most of the feedback isn’t from the community.”

Bakulich said the consultation period was a good opportunity for everyone, especially young people to have a say on their future, noting their strategic draft looked at community initiatives with an environmental focus; the board are hopeful of a strong response.

For more info check out the Auckland Council’s website or your local board’s FB page.

Local democracy reporting

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