Background and issues
The Northland Regional Council frequently consults with residents, organisations and other stakeholders prior to making decisions, particularly significant decisions.
The consultation process usually includes a period for interested parties to provide written feedback to the council on a draft proposal or on a consultation document (with supporting information).
A period for written submissions is a finite timeframe within a longer decision-making process. In the case of special consultative procedures conducted under the Local Government Act 2002 (e.g. prior to adoption of a long term plan, bylaws and some policies, etc.) a period for written feedback of no less than one month is a legal requirement.
Submissions received after the notified period can present challenges to the fairness and timeliness of decision-making and the practicality of administrative/management procedures. However, late submissions can also present information or opinions which can add value to decision-making.
The LGA amendments (2014) sought to focus the annual plan consultation only on any identified differences from the Long Term Plan, with the legislation preventing the annual plan consultation document from containing any detailed information that is not necessary for the purposes of identifying the differences from the LTP. Therefore, submissions on subjects that don't relate to the differences identified in the consultation document should not be considered during council deliberations and guidance is needed over how to identify and handle these.
This policy seeks to clarify how council will handle these situations.
Download the full policy below.