Have Your Say at Meetings

You can have your say during the public forum or deputation session of a Council meeting. This can be a general comment or a formal submission related to a particular consultation. Anything you say, including personal information such as your name, will be available to the public and media as part of the decision-making process.

Speaking at Council meetings

Every Council meeting has time allocated for Public Forum and Deputations.

Public forums enable members of the public to bring matters to the attention of the Council.  The matters being raised are not contained on the agenda of the meeting at which the presentation is being made.

Deputations enable a person, group or organisation to make a presentation to a meeting covered by that meeting's agenda.

If you would like to speak as a public forum or deputation, please contact a member of the Governance Team on (06) 759 6060 at least one working day before the meeting.  We will discuss the rules around the processes including time limits and obtaining permission to speak.

What is a submission?

Submissions are your opportunity to provide feedback on matters the Council is consulting on.  A submission tells us what you agree with, what you are concerned about, disagree with or feel should be changed or what other issues you would like considered.   For the majority of submissions processes, you will be given an opportunity to speak to your written submission at a Council meeting.

Where to come

You will be advised where the meeting will be held. Many meetings are held in the Council Chamber located in the Civic Centre, Liardet Street, New Plymouth.

When to come

For general comments you need to contact us and let us know what subject you'd like to comment on. We will let you know of the next relevant meeting. For formal submissions meeting times are often shown on submission forms. We will let you know of the approximate time that you will be able to speak. 

It is important that you arrive at the meeting at least 15 minutes before your allocated time. If we are ahead of schedule you may be asked to speak earlier than your allocated time.

Who will be there

You will be there together with the Council and Council Officers.  Other submitters, members of the public and the media (radio, print and television journalists) may also be there.

Internet broadcast

Live streams and recordings of Council meetings are available online.

About the meeting

Well before the meeting, the Council receives copies of all submissions so you don't need to read your submission to the Council.

The purpose of the meeting is to allow submitters to speak to the Council and highlight points made in submission.

Before the meeting

  • At least a week before the meeting advise our Governance Team if you need any special equipment set up, e.g. PowerPoint, or if you have any special needs, e.g. accessibility issues.
  • If you want to provide additional written material, you'll need to supply that the day before the meeting.  We will provide the information electronically to elected members before the meeting.  Contact a member of the Governance Team to arrange the provision of information.

At the meeting

  • When you arrive sit in the public seating area of the meeting room.
  • If you have brought written material please give it to the secretary to distribute.
  • The chairperson will advise you how long you have to speak.
  • When it is your turn to speak the chairperson  will introduce you to the Council and invite you up to the submitters table. You may sit or stand to present your submission. Note: Please be aware that Councillors receive copies of all written submissions and you should not read your submission to the Council.
  • If you wish, you may bring a support person who can sit with you when you speak.
  • The submitters table often has a microphone on it.  The microphone is fully automatic and will pick up your voice provided you are not too far away from it.
  • Any equipment you have prearranged to use will be accessible from your speaking position.
  • When you have finished speaking the Council may ask you a few questions; you may not question or debate with the Council.
  • Following your public comment, you may take a seat in the public area to hear proceedings.

If the matter that you have spoken about is on the meeting agenda then your comments will be taken into consideration by the Council when they are considering that report.

If the matter that you have spoken about is not on the agenda then no resolution can be made on your presentation, but Council officers may be asked to prepare a report for consideration at a subsequent meeting.

What you cannot do at a meeting

  • Public Forum and Deputation sessions are not a forum to request information. General requests for information are best made by calling us on 06-759 6060.
  • You are not able to question elected members at the meeting.
  • You may not be disrespectful or offensive – if you are then the chair may terminate your speaking rights.
  • Placards, banners and signs are prohibited, you may be asked to remove  items from the room.
  • The public may not make disturbance during the meeting and the chairperson has the right to have disruptive people removed.  
  • Remember that because these are public meetings you may attend and observe proceedings on any day the Council meets.

For any other enquiries regarding public participation in meetings, meeting schedules and meeting procedures, please contact us.