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Reaching people on rates issues

12 May 2005

Malls out-rate halls in reaching people on rates issues

Auckland City Council’s new approach to consulting with the public on its draft annual plan is getting a positive response from the people of Auckland.

Councillor Vern Walsh, chairperson of Auckland City Council’s Finance and Corporate Business Committee, says people are finding the draft plans understandable and easy to access.

“This year we have published the summary of the draft plans and budget in a way that communicates simply what is quite a complicated, but thorough planning process.

“The public response to a short, animated presentation summarising the plans which features the voice of Mayor Dick Hubbard, has been fantastic too,” he said.

For the first time the council is using a booth in shopping malls around the city where people can collect information about the plans, see the animated movie and ask questions of Auckland City staff.

“In the past we held community meetings. They were poorly attended because people had to make an extra effort to come to them. The shopping mall booths are attracting many more people. We’ve gone to where the people are.”

Auckland City held some community meetings as part of the consultation process this year.

“We really want people to understand the issues facing the city and how this council is addressing them,” said Mr Walsh.

“It’s important to give people the information they need and to have their questions answered so they can decide whether there are issues in the draft annual plan that they want to give feedback on or not.”

Auckland City has received 161 submissions to date which is in line with last year’s figures. Historically most submissions arrive in the last week of the consultation period. Last year Auckland City received 669 submissions.

The draft annual plan is available for public consultation until Friday 20 May. The plans and submission forms are available: online at www.aucklandcity.govt.nz/annualplan, which can be accessed free of charge at all Auckland City libraries at all Auckland City libraries and service centres.

Hearings of written submissions can be made from 7 – 10 June. All submissions will be considered by the council. They will be analysed by councillors at a meeting on 23 and 24 June, where the final decisions will be made. The final annual plan for 2005/2006 will be published on 22 July.

ENDS

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