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Public Forums

Each Council meeting has a formal agenda of items for discussion that is completed one week before the Council meeting takes place. This agenda is made public at least two working days prior to the meeting. Details on how to view the live meeting via the Westland District Council YouTube Channel is included on the front of each agenda .

The agenda includes any supporting reports and information required to assist Councillors during the meeting.

Meetings are organised and run by the regulations set in statute. These include the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987, and the Local Government Act 2002.

Speaking at the public forum

In accordance with Council’s Adopted Standing Orders, public forums are a defined period of time, usually at the start of an ordinary meeting, which, at the discretion of the Mayor, is put aside for the purpose of public input.  Public forums are designed to enable members of the public to bring matters of their choice, not necessarily on the meeting’s agenda, to the attention of the local authority.

In the case of a committee or subcommittee, any issue, idea or matter raised in a public forum, must fall within the terms of reference of that body.

The Mayor has the discretion to add an agenda item for public discussion.  The applicant who wishes to speak must advise the Mayor seven working days prior to the meeting date.  The Mayor has full discretion to approve or not approve the applicant’s request.

Anyone wishing to speak at a public forum can complete this form at least seven (7) working days before the meeting. Alternatively, you can contact the Executive Assistant by email or call on 0800 474 834.

View the Calendar of Council Meetings for dates and times of meetings.

If speaking time is granted, each speaker is allocated five minutes.  If there are more than 6 speakers, the Chairperson may decrease the speaking time for all presenters.

Meetings take place in person and via Zoom. Public forum presenters can speak in person. 

What can I talk about?

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

With the permission of the Chairperson, committee members may ask questions in the 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.

If you intend to address the meeting in New Zealand Sign Language or in te reo Māori; notice must be given no less than two working days prior to the meeting being held. Council cannot guarantee that an interpreter will be available.

Is there anything I can't talk about?

The Chairperson has the discretion to decline to hear a speaker or to stop 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.

Is there a public forum at all meetings?