Is public consultation just a sham?

You could be forgiven for thinking that Councils are not really that interested in your opinion, especially in 2021 when so many Far North District Council reviews and plans have all been opened for public consultation at the same time. Adding to the 'log-jam' are regional and national consultations currently open for public feedback.


It is totally unacceptable to expect volunteer community groups and members of the public to provide meaningful, quality comments on 4 major FNDC consultation documents at the same time. Many of us have limited time available because of work and other commitments. and can only review documents and draft submissions in our miniscule ‘spare’ time, a few hours at weekends or after other work.


While it may be too late to make changes to the current schedule, if the Far North District Council is genuine in its desire to consult with the public, we implore the council to be more realistic about the schedules and be mindful of both regional and national processes in play.


At present the following plans and reviews are open for consultation:

Far North District Council: (4 overlapping plans) by 6 April

Northland Regional Council: by 26 March

National

- Infrastructure Commission: Three Waters discussion document

- Climate Change Commission: by 28 March, submissions on draft Greenhouse Gases reduction budgets

- Water Services Bill: by around 14 March