A Word from the Mayor
8 March 2018
You could be excused for switching off the next time you see the term, Council Long Term Plan (LTP), but don’t.
While this subject may be tedious, don’t underestimate the influence the LTP will have on your life, and that of your community.
Every Council across the Country is currently reviewing their 10 year LTP, every Mayor will be commenting on their Draft LTP, and exhorting their Constituents to get involved in the consultation and submission processes.
While this system has been around for over a quarter of a century, many still aren’t familiar with how to use it, and benefit from it. Others are sceptical about their ability to influence their Council, and their Councils willingness to listen to their views.
Recently I have read and heard scathing criticism and scepticism of the genuine willingness of Councils across the country to listen and respond to community views, that’s not my experience, from both sides of the fence.
The first time I ever entered our Council Chamber was to submit on an issue I felt strongly about, with a successful outcome, a new Medical Centre for my Community.
During my time on Council we’ve supported the building of three more Medical Centres and many other Community assets, directly resulting from compelling submissions.
However, the harsh reality is, not every submission, or multiple submissions supporting the same view will necessarily be successful.
I will highlight some reasons why submitters may at times be disappointed:
- Councils are subjected to numerous ‘Acts of Parliament’ and Government audits that regulate Councils activities; financial constraints, including available revenue, debt levels, rating restraints, and spending priorities at the local and district levels;
- Councillors, while able to advocate for their Community, are required by law to be accountable to the entire District, and District wide priorities.
- Striving for affordability for all sections of the community, striving for fairness about who pays and who benefits, are challenges in an inherently unfair funding system.
I repeat, if you don’t engage you can’t influence, if you feel strongly and have support, but not successful first time, persist.
In my experience, backing up written submissions with a presentation to the Submissions Hearing is more powerful.