Page updated to help engagement

Useful . . . The information about how to attend meetings, make a presentation or write a petition is found on the meetings section on the Gore District Council’s website. PHOTO: FILE

It is now easier for Gore District residents to find information to help them engage with local government issues.
Council staff have updated the website to include a section with information about where residents can attend council and Mataura Community Board meetings, or access the livestreaming of council meetings, and how to make a presentation to a council meeting.
There is also a section on how to write a petition, gather signatures and present the petition.
The information can be found in the meetings section.
Council communications and customer support general manager Sonia Gerken said the council was always looking for ways to improve how it communicated with residents.
Often the information was complex and driven by legislation, Mrs Gerken said.
‘‘The new page is not just about petitions but also about how people can participate in meetings, given the level of public interest in council meetings in the first year of this term of the council.’’
The information about petitions was included in the council’s standing orders but had been rewritten to present it in ‘‘plain English’’.
‘‘The information and template we have provided are aimed at helping people wanting to launch a petition and should ensure petitions meet the required standard.’’
Members of the public may make a 10-minute presentation to the council or any committee if they have requested permission at least seven working days before the meeting.
At the council meeting last month, councillors considered a petition presented by Gore resident Peter Woods, who collected more than 140 signatures from business owners and staff in the Gore business area who would sooner have parking spaces in Main St than the planned replanting of trees in the spaces.
During the discussion, Cr Glenys Dickson said she would like to see the council provide guidelines for future petitions, as Mr Woods’ did not have the addresses of signatories.
It was the second petition this year that did not follow the correct format, Cr Dickson said.
Mayor Ben Bell said there was a section in the standing orders with guidelines as to how a petition should be formatted.
In June, the council rejected a petition calling for the resignation of chief executive Stephen Parry.
At the time, Cr Dickson said the petition was null and void because it did not meet the 150-word criteria for a petition, nor was it respectful.
Cr Richard McPhail said legal counsel advised elected members the employment of the chief executive was not a public matter and the employment relationship was private.