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Public ForumWānanga Tūmatanui

Public Forum

Public Forum Guidelines

Up to 30 minutes are allocated at the start of each open meeting for public forums and deputations. The public are able to present to Council on matters of particular interest and concern. The structure of a public forum is guided by Council's standing orders and anyone wishing to speak must seek the approval of the Chair prior to the meeting. This can be done by contacting - or on (06) 857 8060.

The time allowed is 5 minutes per speaker. No debate will take place in regard to issues raised at public forums and no decisions will be made, except to refer the information/matter if required to a committee for further consideration. 

The Purpose of the Public Forum

The purpose of the public forum is to give members of the community an opportunity to come along and speak to Council.  This is a reflection of the Council’s desire to see more public participation in decision making and meeting procedures.

The forum allows members of the community to address Council on any subject that they believe the Council may have some influence over.

The forum is not an opportunity to ask questions of Council or Council staff but an opportunity to publicly highlight any issue or concern that you have.

Conduct at Public Forum

The Chairman will call members of the public to speak.  Speakers will be required to identify themselves and advise the subject matter they wish to speak on.  They will also need to indicate whether they are speaking on behalf of a group or an organisation or as an individual.  No more than two speakers can speak on behalf of an organisation during a public forum.

If a speaker is speaking to a written presentation that has been previously circulated to Council that presentation may be taken as read.  In order to make the best use of the available time, the speaker should use the opportunity to emphasise or highlight any salient points rather than reading the presentation.

Each member of the public can speak for up to five minutes which is to include time for questions from members.  Speakers will be afforded the opportunity to speak without interruption unless the Chairman interrupts the speaker to warn them about either inappropriate conduct or speaking beyond the allotted time.

Speakers at the Public Forum will be afforded common courtesy and it is expected that this will be reciprocated.

The Chairman 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 of submissions where the local authority or committee sits in a quasi-judicial capacity

If the speakers’ conduct is considered unacceptable in the view of the Chairman, the Chairman may request the speaker to withdraw any remark, cease speaking or in extreme circumstances request the removal of the speaker from the meeting.

Unacceptable conduct may include, but is not limited to:

  • Swearing
  • Offensive gestures
  • Racial, ethnic, sexual or cultural slurs
  • Threats
  • Inflammatory language

Should a member of the public have concerns about the behaviour, conduct or performance of either elected members or Council staff, they should raise this matter with either the Mayor or the Chief Executive at an appropriate occasion.

The public forum is not the place for a person to enter into a debate with Council or make personal attacks against elected members or Council staff.

At the conclusion of the presentation, with permission of the Chairman, elected members may ask questions of speaker.  Questions are to be confined to obtaining information or clarification on matters raised by a speaker.

The speaker may answer these questions of clarification posed by councillors but may not pose their own questions to councillors or enter into a debate.  The Chairman will also ensure that councillors do not attempt to debate with the speaker.

Following the public forum no debate or decisions will be made at the meeting on issues raised during the forum unless related to items already on the agenda.

No speaker or member of the public has speaking rights outside the public forum and may not attempt to participate in the debate at Council or Committee meetings.

Refer to section 14 of the Central Hawke’s Bay District council Standing Orders for more information.

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