Councillor pulls out chair for community

LOUISE BERWICK
Last updated 13:37 07/02/2014
Southland Times photo
JOHN HAWKINS/Fairfax NZ
Invercargill City Councillor Rebecca Amundsen.

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First-term city councillor Rebecca Amundsen has taken to the streets to talk to residents about her concerns in a project called Have A Seat, Have A Say.

Ms Amundsen started the project as part of her campaign during the elections as a way to listen to people's concerns and gauge the topics important to them.

It was so successful she has decided to continue it.

"I think some of the councillors that have been around a long time have regular contact with people who voice their concerns about issues, but they are possibly people who know how the council works already."

This week she set up at the Southland Museum and Art Gallery, where she plans to hold the sessions the first Tuesday of every month.

"It's important to give people the opportunity to talk to a councillor."

It was the first session she had held since the elections and while she had little response, she was hopeful it would become more popular.

Ms Amundsen campaigned that the council needed to do more to engage with the city, and this was a way of ensuring that, she said.

From answering questions about issues, to listening to ratepayers' concerns and even helping people fill out submission forms, Ms Amundsen said her stance was simply about bringing the council to the community, not expecting the community to come to the council.

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- The Southland Times

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