Public consultation: Do they really care what we think?

Wellington City Council

Wellington City Council are soliciting feedback for their ten-year plan.Quote:

A rather unusual approach is being used to encourage Wellingtonians to have a say on the future of their city.

Public consultation opened on Sunday on Wellington City Council’s 10-Year Plan, and rather than relying on websites and fliers to draw people’s attention, the council will be using prominent Wellington buildings instead.

The campaign will kick off on Sunday night, when a “provocative” message will be projected onto the Wellington Town Hall building on Wakefield St in the hope it will resonate with citizens.

“I want a city that can withstand anything nature throws at it,” the statement will read. It will be followed by the hashtag #wgtnplan. [?]

[?] The 10-Year Plan will determine investment levels across the city for the next decade, including critical areas such as housing, transport, arts and culture, economic growth, resilience, and environment.

“This is our chance to shape how Wellington will evolve over the next decade and to invest in what Wellingtonians tell us is important,” Lester said.? End of quote.

What is important is a council that will listen to the feedback given by their ratepayers.

The Island Bay cycleway, which most people didn?t want at all, was always going to go ahead. That decision had already been made. Public consultation led to some tweaking, but it was always a matter of how it would be done, rather than whether it was needed at all.

It doesn?t matter how clever you get, people will not take the time and effort to submit feedback if it feels like a decision has already been made.

That also seems to be the case with the New Zealand Transport Agency proposal to reduce the speed limit on State Highway 58 between Lower Hutt and Pauatahanui. Under NZTA rules there must be a formal consultation on changes to the speed limit. But, speed limit signs for 80 kilometres per hour have already been erected, even though the current speed limit is 100 kilometres per hour.

Credit: Virginia Fallon/Stuff


A post on the?NZTA?Facebook page asking for feedback received derision from one motorist, who said it was “interesting that the [80 kilometres per hour] signs are already up but covered”.

The agency responded, saying the [80 kilometres per hour]?signs were installed as part of the Haywards interchange exchange works, prior to proposals to have speed limits?reduced to [80 kilometres per hour.]

“They have been covered because we have not yet made that speed limit change. If we decide not to go to [80 kilometres per hour], then the signs will have to be removed and replaced with [100 kilometres per hour] signs.”

Consultation ends on April 20.

The admission prompted angry reaction on the agency’s Facebook page, with commenters accusing the agency of “box ticking”.? End of quote.

It seems like a complete waste of money to install speed-limit signs before a final decision has been made. Or has it already been made?