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Standing orders are the set of rules for how meetings will be conducted. This includes full council, committees, subcommittees and subordinate decision-making bodies, but do not apply to advisory bodies or workshops, unless incorporated in their specific terms of reference.
They enable decision-making to happen in a transparent, inclusive and lawful manner.
All councils must adopt standing orders under the Local Government Act 2002.
For clarity’s sake whenever a question about the interpretation or application of these standing orders is raised, particularly where a matter might not be directly provided for, it is the responsibility of the Chairperson of each meeting to make a ruling. All members of a local authority must abide by standing orders.
Public Participation Process
Members of the public are welcome to attend all council and committee meetings unless there is reason to consider some items 'in committee'. If you wish to speak at a meeting, prior arrangement must be made with Council.
This is part of Standing Orders, and is put on the agenda as Public Forum.
Public forums are a defined period of time, usually at the start of a meeting and the purpose is so that the public can bring matters of interest to the Council’s attention. In the case of a committee or subcommittee, any issue, idea or matter raised in a public forum must also fall within the terms of reference of that meeting.
- Up to 15 minutes is available for the public forum. However this can be extended by the Chairperson. Requests must be made to the meeting secretary at least one clear day before the meeting; however this requirement may be waived by the Chairperson.
- Speakers can speak for up to 5 minutes. No more than two speakers can speak on behalf of an organisation during a public forum. Where the number of speakers presenting in the public forum is more than three, the Chairperson has discretion to restrict the speaking time permitted for all presenters.
- Representatives of tangata whenua can address the meeting for a period of 15 minutes in total without restrictions on the number of speakers within the time period.
The Chairperson can decline to hear a speaker or stop a presentation where a speaker is being repetitious, criticising elected members and/or staff, disrespectful or offensive, or the matter is subject to legal proceedings or a hearing, including hearing of submissions, where the local authority or committee sits in a quasi-judicial capacity.
Questions at public forums
After presenting, with the Chairperson’s permission, the speakers may be asked questions by the elected members. These questions are only to gather further information or clarify information that has been raised.
After the public forum, no debate or decisions will be made at the meeting on issues raised during the public forum, unless related to items already on the agenda.
For more information on the Public Participation Process, please contact the Governance Team.
Agendas and Minutes
The Council agenda is a public document although parts of it may be kept confidential – if certain circumstances relating to privileged or commercially sensitive material apply. Minutes of meetings must be kept and made publicly available subject to the provisions of the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987.
Current Agendas and Minutes are found on the appropriate committee page on this website, or by contacting the Regional Council's Governance Team.
Workshops are held for in-depth discussion on specific issues. The Council can't make decisions at a workshop, and any matters arising from a workshop must be taken to a later Council meeting for a decision to be made. Public cannot attend workshops.
Before the end of each month, the following month's meetings must be publically notified. Any additional meetings not on this calendar can be called with at least five working days' notice of the time and place of the meeting.
Extraordinary meetings may be called at three working days’ notice. Legal requirements for Council meetings are set down in the Local Government Act 2002 and the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987.