How to Have Your Say at Meetings

You can have your say during the public comment session of a Council meeting. This can be a general comment or a formal submission related to a particular consultation. Anything you say, including personal information such as your name, will be available to the public and media as part of the decision-making process.

What is a submission

A submission tells us what you agree with, what you are concerned about, disagree with or feel should be changed or what other issues you would like considered.

Where to come

You will be advised as to where the meeting will be held. Many meetings are held in the Council Chamber located at 26 Gordon Street, Dannevirke.

When to come

We will let you know of the next relevant meeting. For formal submissions, meeting times are often shown on submission forms. We will let you of the approximate time that you will be able to speak.

It is important that you arrive at the meeting at least 15 minutes before your allocated time. If we are ahead of schedule you may be asked to speak earlier than your allocated time.

Who will be there

You will be there together with the Mayor, Councillors and Council Officers. Other submitters, members of the public and the media (journalists) may also be there.

Before the meeting

At least a week before the meeting please advise our Secretarial Team if you need any special equipment set up or if you have any special needs, e.g. accessibility issues.

You can bring along written material summarising or elaborating on your position. Please ensure that you bring sufficient copies by asking the Secretarial Team how many copies are required.

At the meeting

  • When you arrive sit in the public area of the meeting room.
  • If you have brought written material please give it to the secretary to distribute.
  • The chairperson will advise you of how long you have to speak.
  • When it is your turn to speak the chairperson (usually the Mayor) will introduce you to the Councillors and invite you up to the submitters table. You may sit or stand to present your submission. Note: Please be aware that Councillors receive copies of all written submissions and you should not read your submission to the Council.
  • If you wish, you may bring a support person who can sit with you when you speak.
  • The submitters table often has a microphone on it. The microphone is fully automatic and will pick up your voice provided you are not too far away from it.
  • Any equipment you have prearranged to use will be accessible from your speaking position.
  • When you have finished speaking Councillors may ask you a few questions; you may not question or debate with Councillors.
  • Following your public comment, you may take a seat in the public area to hear proceedings.

If the matter that you have spoken about is on the meeting agenda then your comments will be taken into consideration by the Councillors/members when they are considering that report.

If the matter that you have spoken about is not on the agenda then no resolution can be made on your presentation, but Council Officers may be asked to prepare a report for consideration at a subsequent meeting.

What you cannot do at a meeting

  • Public comment sessions are not a forum to request information. General requests for information are best made by calling us on 06-374 4080
  • You may not enter into a debate with the members of the meeting.
  • You may not be disrespectful or offensive – if you are then the chair may terminate your speaking rights.
  • Placards, banners and signs are prohibited, you may be asked to remove other similar items from the room.
  • The public may not make disturbance during the meeting and the chairperson has the right to have disruptive people removed.
  • Remember that because these are public meetings you may attend and observe proceedings on any day the Council meets.

For any other enquiries regarding public participation in meetings please email us.