Significance and Engagement Policy consultation opens
Ōpōtiki District Council is currently updating its Significance and Engagement Policy and is seeking feedback from the community about the proposed changes that aim to improve the engagement process.
The Policy helps to determine how, when and to what level Council engages with the community about specific decisions that need to be made.
“This year we’re utilising a new online platform called Connect | Hono Mai, which will hopefully boost levels of engagement by making it easier for the community to have their say,” says Stace Lewer, Council’s Chief Executive Officer.
About Connect | Hono Mai
The new platform has been developed with the aim of increasing community engagement by making it more interactive and simpler when it comes to submitting on Council consultations.
“I can’t think of a better consultation to use for the rollout of Connect | Hono Mai. This is a policy that has a significant impact on our community, so for people to be able to have a say before any decisions are made is really important,” says Lewer.
Lewer says that Council recognises that not everyone has access to the internet and wants to reiterate that other methods of providing feedback will still be available.
The computers at Te Tāhuhu o Te Rangi are available if you do not have access to a computer and printed copies of all Council engagements are available to be collected from the Council building. We’ll also be dropping copies off at the isite and some cafes.
About the Significance and Engagement Policy
The Significance and Engagement Policy is reviewed every three years, alongside the Long-Term Plan process. It provides a framework that can be used to determine a decision's significance of a decision and how Council will engage about that decision (or proposal, issue, etc.,) with the community.
There are a range of considerations when determining significance level, including financial cost, effect on levels of service delivered by Council, community interest in the decision, and who might be affected by the decision.
The criteria in the policy help Council to identify what process is required for each unique situation, and determine what level of community engagement/consultation is required. The higher the significance level, the more input Council will seek from the community.
This year's updates that Council are seeking feedback on include:
- Improved flowchart for ease of use when determining significance level.
- Clarifications added to high significance thresholds.
- An additional method of engagement with the community – “Kōrero” – that Council already uses but had not previously been captured within the policy.
Have your say
Consultation opens on Thursday 26 October and closes on Friday 24 November. Submitters will have an opportunity to present to Council on Monday 11 December before the updated policy is adopted by Council in early 2024.
The easiest way to make a submission is to visit Council’s Significance and Engagement Policy | Connect | Hono Mai (odc.govt.nz) website. Printed copies will also be available to be collected from, and returned to Ōpōtiki District Council at 108 Saint John Street, Ōpōtiki.
Lewer says it’s really important that Council hear from as many people as possible.
“Your voice matters - all the feedback received as part of the consultation process directly contributes to Council’s decision-making and to the future of Ōpōtiki. Thank you in advance, to everyone that takes the time to submit their feedback.”