Criteria for Speaking at Meetings
The public can speak to most agenda items, (although requests are subject to the approval of the Chair). In addition, participation at Council can be declined under Standing Order 208. This Standing Orders states:
"A period of up to 15 minutes shall be set aside near the beginning of Council meetings to enable members of the public to make statements about any motion on the agenda of that meeting, but excluding any matter on which comment could prejudice any specified statutory process the Council is required to follow."
This exclusion is particularly relevant for speaking on District Plan Change agenda items. When such matters are before Council, this is likely to be the final decision-making step required under the statutory process contained in the Resource Management Act 1991.
Accordingly, Council is legally constrained in the matters that it may consider when making its decision and cannot take into consideration the views of the public at this stage in the process because it may prejudice the whole decision making process.