Talking, not listening

I attended the first of the Community Conversations initiated by our mayor, Andrew Judd.

While I understand his desire to provide opportunities for residents' input, I also have many questions.

As the meeting was pre- programmed without open question time, I use this forum and hope for a response.

The only new issue I heard was about ''the mayor's adviser''.

Did the mayor/councillors/ officers hear any others?

What added value from these conversations is expected, considering residents can always talk/write to councillors and council departments, form interest groups to present their ideas, make a deputation to council meetings, produce tens of thousands of pages in submissions to LTPs and APs, write to the editor, or initiate a story, apart from 15 on council and 600 in offices having ideas?

Will the issues from these meetings be processed differently from the other channels, other people involved in sorting, evaluations, costings, setting priorities, and selection criteria?

Are all the councillors, the CEO and recording officers required to attend all meetings and are they paid separately for these?

What is the budget/actual cost of this first meeting (venue, catering, staffing, planning, processing, travel, stationery, etc), and what is budgeted for the next financial year?

Do you expect that these 'conversations' will add to bureaucratic layers and processes or reduce them?

As there are always more ideas than can be implemented because of feasibility, council scope, limited resources, priorities, etc, how do you plan to reduce the number of people naturally left disappointed or frustrated?

And finally, who would have advised you in favour or against holding these ConverSensational meetings?


New Plymouth

Taranaki Daily News