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Public apathy on consultation disappoints Council

Media Release
12 May 2006

Public apathy on consultation disappoints Council

Attempts by Manukau City Council to involve the public in consultation on bylaw reviews which impact the everyday life of its citizens’ have largely been ignored with only one week left for public input.

So far there have been only 20 submissions – all but one relating to the keeping of birds – to the Council’s review of its bylaws relating to the keeping of animals, use of council libraries, swimming pools, cemeteries and noise control. Submissions close on 19 May.

Councillor Noel Burnside, chairman of the council Environment and Urban Design committee, which oversees the animals and noise control bylaws review, says the lack of response from the public is disappointing.

“We go to a lot of trouble to prepare documents and communicate with the public over these changes to ensure the democratic process is followed as thoroughly as possible,” says Cr Burnside.

“So it’s very disappointing to not get any significant feedback from the public – both individuals and organisations – on these bylaws which impact the everyday lives of the community.”

Cr Burnside says there is now only a week for submissions to be made and he hopes the public will take the opportunity to review the bylaws and make their views known.

He says that while the actual bylaw documents themselves can be a ‘somewhat difficult technical read’, Council has prepared a plain English summary document of the bylaws highlighting the major changes.

It has also advertised the bylaw changes twice in local papers and on Pacific Island radio as well as having news reports on the bylaw changes published in local papers.

“The danger is that – if we don’t know what the public thinks about these changes – they will go through the process and become bylaws which are then very difficult to change or amend.”
Some of the changes proposed which the public should have a vital interest in are:

- Restricting numbers of animals kept in urban areas

- Stricter rules for unsupervised children at libraries and swimming pools and recreation centres

- Limitations on who can do works on plots at cemeteries

- Controls on driving stock on roads and grazing stock in public places

- Abandoning, disposing and slaughtering of domestic pets and animals

- Keeping bees, and

- Pest management

Councillor Burnside says Manukau City “bends over backwards” to make sure it provides ample opportunity for consultation and public input on all issues.

“We have played our part. We now need the public to play theirs and tell us what they think of the proposed new bylaws.

“Given that we have had such little public feedback, one could assume we are doing a great job and everyone is happy with what we are proposing,” he says, “but given my experience in public life I’m absolutely certain that won’t the case”.

The summary document – as well as copies of the full proposed bylaw – is available from:

- the Council’s Customer Service Centre at Kotuku House in Manukau Square,

- council libraries and community centres,

- by calling the Council’s Call Centre on 262 5104 or

- on the Council website, www.manukau.govt.nz/bylaws.htm


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