Make A Submission

Submissions are how you can have your say on local, regional and central government plans.

Submissions: what are they and how do you make them?

What is a Submission?

Auckland Public Places Bylaw
A submission is just a formal name for having a say on a topic.  Generally, a submission will include both what you are requesting (or opposing), and also some reasons why you want (or don't want) that thing.  All government (Councils = local government) must CONSULT on their projects, and plans.  This means they must ask the general public for their opinions. 

Most of the time, this is how it happens
  1. A draft of the document is created by officers\officials.  
  2. This draft is published for the public to view and comment on (make changes)
  3. Anyone can then send in a submission (even if you don't live there).  
  • There will be a start date (when the plan was made available to the public), 
  • an end date (closing date for submissions), 
and a number of options for making a submission.

Sometimes there will be 'informal feedback', workshops or surveys prior to step 1.  There are sometimes 'stakeholder' meetings or feedback sessions. Any time you can give information, views or feedback BEFORE the draft comes out, the better the draft will be (and the less of a fight you will have to change it).

What Councils have open submissions?

How to Make a Submission  

There are all sorts of ways to make a submission.

Good Old Fashioned Paper
Yes, you can still write or type up your comments and information and send it in.  Look for preformatted submission forms, and see if there are local places you can drop your submission in to, or if it must be posted.

Most submissions can now be made online.  Either via a web form, or by emailing your written submission into a specified email address.

Public Meetings

Big topics will often have public meetings or workshops.  Everyone is invited to attend.  This can be a good way to understand the issues, and size up any opposition. 

Social Media

More and more Councils are allowing comments from Social Media, as well as more traditional methods.  Do read whether there are any special hashtags, or posting methods you must use.

Hearings - What are they? 

After you have made a formal written submission to council, or on the submission form, you are asked if you would like to make a verbal submission. 

Say yes! Turning up to talk to council makes an impression. 

Whangarei District Horse Bylaw Hearings
If these 2 young girls can speak up, why can't you!

What to Say

You will usually only have 5-10 minutes to speak. Do not just read out what your submission says.  This is your chance to talk directly to the decision makers. 

  • Introduce yourself and state whether you represent any others. 
  • Make your presentation - keep to the facts, don't get personal. 
  • Be prepared for questions - leave time for this.  It can be the most productive part! 

What to Show

You can bring photos or make a presentation.  

You will need to tell the organiser what you need (a projector etc) and they may ask you to bring enough copies for all the Councillors.  Once your submission is over , you are not permitted to make any further comments. 

Then What...

Then it is the big wait to hear the decision.  Sometimes you will be notified, sometimes not.  

Council Websites

All Councils have websites. Look for the page titled "Have Your Say" or "Consultations"

Look for:

  • bylaws - that can restrict where horses are allowed 
  • parks management plans - that say whether you can ride in a park or not 
  • road plans - road safety 
  • Any strategy, Long Term Plan, or other plan that includes how sport and recreation are managed and funded. 

Many let you sign up to be notified when things that interest you are available for comment.