Council CEO statement on numbers in public meetings
Ōpōtiki District Council Chief Executive, Aileen Lawrie explained why several people were turned away from a public council meeting on Tuesday.
“It was the first time we have been in this situation and I imagine that councils around the country are dealing with this same issue.
“We are currently operating under red traffic light restrictions and using venue capacity guidelines, we need to keep our numbers to 17 in the Chambers. This was very quickly filled with councillors, CEO, minute taker, media, managers speaking to their papers and members of the public who had arranged to speak in the open public session. I had also asked some staff who would normally attend to watch remotely to keep the numbers down.
“However, we did have a livestream of the meeting for the first time meant that anyone could watch proceedings. It is a way to include more people and we’ll make it clearer in future public notices now that we know it works well. And things will certainly improve as we get more used to and comfortable with the technology. I appreciate that it isn’t quite the same as being in the room but it is something we are all getting increasingly used to.
“If people want to speak in the meeting, they can get in touch with council well in advance so they can be added to the agenda."