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Hamilton Mayor Seeks Community’s Voice

A new engagement programme launched today will impact on Council activities for the next decade in Hamilton.

Hamilton City Council has launched the ‘Shape Your Future City’ campaign – a month-long community-based programme which aims to test what’s most important to Hamiltonians.

Mayor Paula Southgate, who campaigned for much more meaningful community engagement in Council business, says this is ‘first cab off the rank’ for many more community conversations to come.

“That’s what I promised during my campaign and I meant it,” she says.

“I’m absolutely serious about making sure the community voice is heard loud and clear before key decisions are made on behalf of our city. I’m confident a lot of the Councillors support me in this.”

The campaign includes a social media campaign, a series of videos, radio and print advertisements and stalls at community events. It also includes the use of a web-based tool which will be used to gauge sentiment around four key areas – the environmental, social, cultural and economic wellbeing of Hamilton.

Feedback from the campaign will be used to help assess projects, activities and levels of service put forward by staff for consideration as part of Council’s next Long-Term Plan. The Long-Term Plan outlines what is budgeted for the city for the next 10 years.

“By law, we must take these issues into account, so this is not ‘soft’ stuff that we’ve dreamed up. Looking at wellbeing across those four areas is a legislated responsibility of local government and it’s actually a really exciting piece of work, ” Mayor Southgate says.

“Before we even start talking about the Long-Term Plan and what will and won’t be funded, I want us to be absolutely clear on what things the people of our city most value. We need to look at decision making through a community-value lens, as well as taking into account issues like funding and resources.”

Formal feedback opens today and will run until 9 April. The campaign asks the community to choose words to complete a sentence relating to each wellbeing, and share their ideas for what would make Hamilton an even better place to live, work, play and visit.

Feedback can be provided electronically by visiting futurehamilton.co.nz or by picking up booklets from Council offices or community facilities.

There will also be an opportunity to get involved at events across the city including at Gourmet in the Gardens on March 15 and Balloons Over Waikato on March 17. Events will be publicised on ourhamilton.co.nz and on the Council’s Facebook page.

The Council will share the outcomes of that feedback with the community.

Mayor Southgate says the Council’s work has been informed by the Waikato Wellbeing Project launched by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern last month.

“That is a broader piece of work. This engagement programme is very specific to our city and focuses on getting a handle on what matters most to Hamiltonians.”

Share your voice at futurehamilton.co.nz

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