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Hamilton City Council Recommends Community Committees

Hamilton City Council is supporting the introduction of community-based committees, to develop more inclusive and collaborative community engagement.

Current Elected Members will recommend to the incoming Council (after elections in October), to establish a trial of two community-based committees, and to increase support for existing community-based organisations.

“This Council and staff already do a lot to connect with the community. A 160% increase in submissions on the Long-Term Plan is testament to that,” Mayor Paula Southgate said.

“But increasing engagement with Hamiltonians is a balancing act of costs and resources. This trial continues our efforts to find new ways of strengthening our community’s voice.”

There is no set definition or ‘rule book’ of what community-based committees are, but they generally represent either a demographic of the community, or a geographic community.

The scope and structure of any community committees will be determined by the incoming Council.

At an Extraordinary Council Meeting today (29 June), staff presented a report outlining the options for introducing committees and how they are structured.

The report was developed after consultation with Councillors through workshops, review of other Council arrangements and online hui with community groups.

The option chosen by Councillors is for two new committees to be established, on a trial basis, through a combination of election and appointment.

A hui would be held with residents and key stakeholders of the chosen communities, to discuss how committees would work best for them.

Council’s role would be to support the committees by facilitating the election and appointment of committee members, facilitate the first meeting, and provide training, information and advice.

Council may also provide discretionary funding that the committees may allocate to community-led improvement projects.

The introduction of community-based committees was first put forward after Council undertook a representation review in 2021. At a November hearing, some community groups advocated for the establishment of community boards.

Submissions on the topic were largely about improving collaboration and engagement with the community; hearing from diverse voices and disengaged groups; empowering neighbourhoods to come up with solutions; and fostering grassroots democracy.

Community boards are more formally structured and governed by legislation.

Council’s final representation review proposal did not include community boards, instead agreeing to investigate other ways to address these issues. This was noted by the Local Government Commission, which ultimately supported Council's approach.

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