How you Council is up to you
Would shorter Council meetings starting at 7pm make you think again about standing for Council?
As part of Generation Change / He panoni ā reanga, Western Bay of Plenty District Council wants to kōrero on what changes would allow a more diverse range of people to become a Councillor.
Council CEO John Holyoake says to achieve diversity changes to the current Council operating system are needed.
Traditionally Council meetings begin at 9:30am on Tuesday and Thursday and are held at Council’s chamber at Barkes Corner.
“It is obvious the existing model doesn’t work for the majority of people who have full time jobs or other day time commitments.
“We appreciate not everyone can get away from work or pay for childcare, but we can’t expect different people to stand if we are excluding them with these restrictions.
“We want to talk about ways that we could change the model to allow people from all walks of life to stand for Council. Whether retired or semi retired, tangata whenua, a businessperson, community advocate or university student everyone deserves the right to represent their community.”
Every three years the newly elected Council sets the meeting structure – times, duration and frequency – but John hopes by having the kōrero now on what a different model could look like might see a new structure voted in by this year’s incoming Council.
- Meetings running at night after work (from 7pm) – like Council’s community boards
- Meeting duration to be restricted to two hours
- Meetings one day a month – running committees back-to-back rather than on different days
- Setting a limit of meetings each month
- Ability to be in-person at Council Chambers or remotely from home
“It’s about thinking differently. Because having different voices around the table makes for more balanced decision making.
“But to achieve this there needs to be more flexibility and accessibility for our new Councillors. Regardless of whether you have a full-time job, or other commitments, we want to work with you to make it easier for you to sit on Council by removing barriers and looking at new ways of running things.
“We’re not making any promises, rather acknowledging we need to change too and here’s some ways we could potentially do this by working together.”
Candidate nominations open Friday 15 July and close at midday Friday 12 August.
Voting documents will be delivered 16-21 September and voting closes at midday Saturday 8 October with preliminary results announced mid-afternoon on Saturday 8 October.
Visit generationchange.nz for more information on how to stand for Council or a community board, what being a Councillor involves, and how to enrol to vote.