Speaking at meetings

Find out about applying to speak at a meeting, and what will happen before, during and after the meeting.

Most Council and committee meetings have 60 minutes set aside at the start for public participation. Public participation is an opportunity for members of the public to bring matters of concern before councillors and to express their opinion on agenda items.

The rules and process for public participation are set out in our Standing Orders. The below information is a summary of and guide to the information in those Standing Orders but is not authoritative and does not supersede them.

The agendas for all Council and Committee meetings can be found on the appropriate meeting page in our Meeting Calendar. Agendas are published at least two clear working days before the meeting.

Note that the process for speaking at District Licensing Committees is different. For more information see: Alcohol Licensing - Public Input.

Applying

To take part in Public Participation you must apply. To apply, please contact Democracy Services earlier than 12:00 noon the day before the meeting you wish to speak at. When you apply please provide:

  • Your name
  • Which meeting you would like to speak at
  • What you would like to speak about
  • Whether you are speaking as an individual or a representative of a group

Contact Democracy Services to apply
Phone: 04 803 8337
Email: public.participation@wcc.govt.nz

If you miss the deadline and in the opinion of the chairperson the matter is of urgency or major public interest, then the chairperson has the discretion to accept your request to speak. 

Requests to speak must be approved by the chairperson of the committee you wish to speak to. The chairperson may decline your request for one of the following reasons:

  1. The 60 minutes allocated for public participation is full 
  2. The application was received later than 12:00 noon the day before the meeting
  3. The speaker is repeating views presented by an earlier speaker at the same meeting
  4. The speaker is being repetitious, disrespectful, or offensive
  5. The speaker has been heard on the same item at a subcommittee or committee prior to it being referred to a committee or Council 
  6. The item does not fall within the scope of the agenda for a Council meeting
  7. The public participation relates to a hearing, including the hearing of submissions in a quasi-judicial capacity

If your request to speak is declined, then we will try find an alternate way for your views to be shared with councillors.

We will email you once public participation is finalised with details of the meeting and when you are scheduled to speak. This might not happen until the afternoon of the day before the meeting as we accept requests up to 12:00 noon of that day. Most requests to speak are accepted. You should book out the first hour of the meeting time in your diary as a potential time you will be scheduled to speak. 

Speaking remotely

You are welcome to speak to the meeting remotely via Zoom. If you wish to participate via Zoom, please let Democracy Services know as soon as possible. Under our Standing Orders, requests to speak via audio-visual link must be made at least two working days before the meeting. 

If you make a request later than this time, we will still try to accommodate you. Requests to speak remotely may only be accepted later than 12:00 noon the day before the meeting if in the chairperson’s opinion they are urgent or of major public interest. 

Before the meeting

Most Council and committee meetings are held at the Council’s head offices (113 The Terrace) in room 16.09 Ngake (the Council Chambers) on level 16. For up to date details for all our meetings please refer to the meetings calendar on our website. On the day of the meeting please arrive at least 15 minutes before you are due to speak so that Democracy Services can sign you in. Head to reception on level 16 and you will be directed from there.

You can:

  • Make a Powerpoint presentation
  • Provide handouts
  • Table additional material

If you wish to do this, please inform Democracy Services as soon as possible. If you will be making a PowerPoint presentation you must email it to Democracy Services by 4:00 pm the day before the meeting. If you are joining by Zoom, Democracy Services will share your PowerPoint for you, and you can let them know when to proceed with the next slide.

During the meeting

Public participation is at the start of the meeting after some initial housekeeping and meeting procedures. Initially, you will be seated at the back of the room in the public gallery. When it is your time to speak the chair will call you to the table. There is a space at the end for public participants to address the meeting. 

Individuals get 5 minutes to speak. People representing organisations and groups get up to 10 minutes to speak. This time includes time for councillors to ask you questions. It is recommended that you leave a minute or two at the end of your presentation for questions. A timer will be displayed with the time that you have left for your presentation.

Please note that public participation is a time for you to present and councillors to ask questions of you. It is not a time for you to ask councillors questions. 

After the meeting

Your name and the item which you spoke to will be recorded in the minutes of the meeting. The minutes will also note which organisation you represented if applicable. Anything distributed or tabled at the meeting will also become part of the public record.

We livestream most Council and committee meetings including public participation. Recordings are available to view on the Wellington City Council YouTube page

The minutes of the meeting are usually published on our website within two days of the meeting.

Accessibility

If you have any accessibility needs, please contact Democracy Services as soon as possible. 

Room 16.09 Ngake (the Council Chambers) is fitted with a hearing loop and we are happy to book translators and interpreters as needed. You are welcome to participate remotely via Zoom. We will endeavour to help in any way that we can.