Attending and speaking at Council and committee meetings

Overview

Feedback from the public is an important and essential part of our democratic process. We encourage public attendance at meetings and want you to feel welcome and comfortable when sharing your views.

Your input can help shape the decision-making process, providing local knowledge and helping to build an inclusive community.

How Council meetings work

The legal framework for establishing and administering Council meetings is set out in Schedule 7 of the Local Government Act 2002 (LGA), Part 7 of the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 (LGOIMA).

All Councils are required to adopt Standing Orders(PDF, 2MB) that enable local authorities to exercise their decision-making responsibilities in a transparent, inclusive and lawful manner. Standing Orders contain rules for the conduct of the proceedings of the Local Authority, committees, subcommittees and subordinate decision-making bodies. All members of a local authority must abide by the Standing Orders.

Upcoming meetings

The Council and Committee meeting schedule is on our website. To find the agenda or Council minutes, click on any of the meeting on the Council Meetings Calendar. Each Council and committee meeting has an agenda, this is a public document. Some items may be withheld from public discussion, these are listed under public excluded business on the agenda alongside the specific grounds for the passing of the resolution (LGOIMA). Agendas will be available two clear working days before the scheduled meeting date and available for inspection at Council Reception, Upper Hutt Central Library, and Pinehaven Library.

Accessibility

If you have any accessibility needs, you can phone us on 04 527 2169 or email Governance@uhcc.govt.nz. We can book translators and interpreters if required, we will endeavour to help in any way we can. 

Submit a presentation to be displayed during the Public Forum

If you would like your presentation displayed on the screens in Chambers during the public forum, please email this to Governance@uhcc.govt.nz by 9.00 am on the day of the meeting. This will need to be approved by the Chief Executive, Mayor and/or Chair of the meeting before it can be shared during the meeting.

Public Forum and supporting information

The first 30 minutes of each meeting is usually available for Public Forum, in which members of the public will have the opportunity to speak for up to five minutes on any matter falling within the particular meeting’s terms of reference. Anybody wishing to speak should let us know preferably no later than midday of the working day before the meeting. This can be done by sending an email to governance@uhcc.govt.nz or by calling us on (04) 527 2169, please let us know if you are representing an organisation, and which item(s) you wish to speak to.  

You are welcome to bring along or email information summarising or elaborating your Public Forum views. 

When you start speaking at the Public Forum, please announce that you wish to “table your presentation”. You can do this by passing a printed copy of your comments to a Council officer once you have finished speaking, or by emailing your presentation to Governance@uhcc.govt.nz; before the end of the meeting.

Alternatively, when you arrive please provide 20 printed copies of your presentation, these will be distributed to the Councillors (time permitted).

You can also provide your information electronically on a USB drive or via email to the Governance Team. However, all electronically tabled information must be to the Governance team email before the Chair declares a close to the meeting. No information can be tabled once the meeting is closed.

Please note, anything presented to the meeting will become part of the public record of the meeting and attached to the minutes. The minutes of the meeting, are the official public record and may contain your name, the item you spoke to, and any information presented.

Recording a meeting

 

Members of the public may make a recording of meetings open to the public. Any recording of meetings must be notified to the Chairperson at the commencement of the meeting to ensure the recording does not distract the meeting and to allow other members of the public in attendance at the meeting to be notified. The Chairperson may request to stop the recording at any time.

Getting here

The Upper Hutt Train Station and Bus Interchange is a short walk from Council. There is also free 120 parking outside Council, along Fergusson Drive.

After signing in at reception and heading to Level 2 where the Council Chambers are located, please make yourself known to a member of the Governance team, who will be at the entrance to Council Chambers.

Where do I sit?

The Council chambers has a public gallery. These seats can be pointed out to you by a member of staff when you attend a meeting. Please ensure you are seated before the meeting starts, checking that your mobile phone and devices are switched off or turned to silent.

When do I speak?

Members of the public are only permitted to speak during the 30 minute public forum.

The public forum is at the start of the meeting, after some initial housekeeping and meeting procedures are completed.

When it is your time to speak, the Chair will call you up to a space at the end of the table for you to address the meeting.

A bell will sound after four minutes and again at five minutes to indicate that your time has expired.

Members, with permission of the Chair, may ask questions of speakers.

Questions are to be confined to obtaining information or clarification on matters raised by a speaker. It is important not to interrupt the Chair or members when they are speaking.

Once you have finished speaking, please return to your seat where you can continue to observe the meeting.

You are welcome to leave at any time, but the Chair will announce when the meeting closes and you will be asked to leave Chambers if there is public excluded business on the agenda.

Public excluded business is not open to members of the public, due to the sensitivity of the agenda items.

It’s important to note that your name, the item that you spoke to and any information that you present will be included in the official record of the meeting, referred to as the Minutes. You cannot ask elected members to keep the information you present confidential.

Restrictions on speaking at public forum

During public forum, the Chairperson has the discretion to decline to hear a speaker or to terminate a presentation at any time where: 

  • A speaker is repeating views presented by an earlier speaker at the same public forum
  • The speaker is criticising elected members and/or staff
  • The speaker is being repetitious, disrespectful or offensive
  • The speaker has previously spoken on the same issue
  • The matter is subject to legal proceedings
  • The matter is subject to a hearing, including the hearing

Role of the Governance Advisors

Governance Advisors support the meeting to ensure the democratic process is followed. This includes:

  • Acting as a liaison between members of the public attending the meeting and the chairperson if required
  • Advising the chair on meeting procedures and recording the decisions
  • Acting as a channel of communication between the reporting staff member and the chairperson
  • Ensuring any technology requirements are met

More information about Council and Committee meetings

For more information, please refer to Standing Orders(PDF, 2MB). The Governance team at Upper Hutt City Council is responsible for meeting administration, organisation and management. 

If you have any feedback or require any additional information, you can contact us by phoning 04 527 2169 or by emailing Governance@uhcc.govt.nz

Download or print a version of the key points, Attending and speaking at Council meetings(PDF, 79KB)