The 10 Year Plan: Set the agenda event
We all hold opinions on what we think the Council is doing wrong, and voice them feverently on social media and in 'letters to the editor'. But how often do we turn our passionate rants and conversations into meaningful advocacy to our elected Councillors?
The '10 Year Plan - Set the Agenda' hui was organised by Go Eco, Community Waikato and Population Health and was held last week. The 10 Year plan (which all local Councils have) sets the direction and budget for how our city will move forward in the long term, and how we will pay for things. The purpose of this hui was to give some advice as to how to advocate successfully to get your issue under the nose of elected members.
For more on the Hamilton City Council 10 Year plan. http://www.hamilton.govt.nz/ou...
For more on the Waikato Regional Council 10 Year plan. https://www.waikatoregion.govt...
We were spoilt for choice for advice at this workshop, with community advocates Sarah Nathan (Creative Waikato), Neil Tolan (Western Community Centre) and local Councillors Mark Bunting, Dave MacPherson and Tipa Mahuta at hand to share their tips. At Go Eco we believe sharing's caring so have some of those for you here.
Successful advocacy tips
Start early. Leaving your issue until formal consultation, risks it being drowned by numerous other individuals and groups making submissions.
Relationship building. Find common ground with one or all Councillors. They are "just people" and are very much open and responsive to constituents requesting they attend a public meeting or speak to your group. 'Come with honey not a stick'
Come with solutions not problems. It's easy to see a problem, not always as easy to have the solution, so present your issue with a positive outcome or solution in mind. How do your issues align with Council objectives, community outcomes and targets?
People power. Your issue will have more traction if there is a large, varied community making noise. Collaborating with other groups will also help build momentum. The issue has to be for the greater good so you have to show it's not just "You that wants this". If you have statistics showing how real or big your issue is - use them; or do your own local research to back up your idea.
Stand out from the crowd. Councillors (kind of) read lots of submission and hear lots of oral submissions so a little flair and creativity will be remembered. Likewise media coverage will also get their attention.
At the end of the workshop attendees brainstormed a wish-list of issues we believe will help to improve the city. It was great to see so many sustainability focused ideas! Now to put our wants into actions!
We'd like to take this opportunity to thank our community advocates, Councillors and the public for attending this hui. We hope you benefited from the korero.
If you have an environment focused issue that you want to get under the nose of Councillors feel free to contact us firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07 8394552 and we'll do our best to point you in the right direction.