SIGNIFICANCE AND ENGAGEMENT

It’s really important Council understands the needs, views, opinions and preferences of people likely to be affected by or interested in a proposal or decision before it’s made. That’s why we have a Significance and Engagement Policy.

Council is required through legislation to engage with the community and our Significance and Engagement Policy outlines how we do it. Before we get started on a new project or proposal, we’ll weigh up its significance to the community and consider the most effective ways to engage before decision making occurs.

From time to time we’ll also engage again as a proposal develops because it has high public interest or impact.

We’ve made changes to our Significance and Engagement Policy. We want you to understand what’s changed and to tell us what you think of these changes.

WHAT'S 'SIGNIFICANT'?

We consider a range of things when assessing the degree of significance and the appropriate level of engagement:

  • Whether the proposal has an impact on the interests, values and aspirations of Māori in the district
  • The likely impact on Māori values, including their relationship with their ancestral land, water, sites, waahi tapu (sacred land), valued flora and fauna, and other taonga
  • Whether there is a legal requirement to engage with the community
  • If the proposal or decision may impact current and future community wellbeing
  • The level of financial impact of the proposal or decision
  • Whether the proposal or decision will impact a large portion of the community
  • The level of likely impact on present and future interests of the community
  • Whether the proposal affects the level of service of a significant activity
  • Whether community interest is high
  • Whether the likely consequences are controversial
  • Whether community views are already known, including the community’s preferences about the form of engagement
  • The form of engagement used in the past for similar proposals and decisions

If a proposal or decision ticks lots of the boxes above, it’s more likely to have a higher level of significance, and a greater amount of community engagement.

WHAT'S HAPPENING NOW?

We review Council’s Significance and Engagement policy every three years.

A major change this time around is two new financial thresholds to consider when we look at the financial impact of a proposal or decision. These thresholds will be considered alongside the other criteria for significance as described above. If the proposal or decision falls into one of the categories below, it is likely to be deemed significant and we will engage with our communities:

  1. Unbudgeted operating expenditure greater than 7.5 per cent of total operating expenditure in that year (about $6.7 million)
  2. Unbudgeted capital expenditure greater than 2.5 per cent of the total value of Council’s assets (about $47 million)

If a proposal was under the financial threshold, it doesn’t necessarily mean we wouldn’t engage; we’d still consider the level of significance and most appropriate options
for community engagement using the criteria above. 

Another change is the list of Council’s strategic assets (or physical assets) that are crucial for delivering services to our communities and improve community wellbeing.
We engage or consult if any decisions need to be made about our strategic assets. Previously it has been limited to pensioner housing, so we’ve expanded the list to include:

  • Housing for the elderly stock as a whole
  • Equity securities in the Waikato Regional Airport Ltd
  • Water supply network infrastructure as a whole
  • Stormwater network infrastructure as a whole
  • Wastewater network infrastructure as a whole
  • District roading infrastructure as a whole
  • Waipā District Libraries
Waipa District Council
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Te Awamutu, 3840
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