Consultation FAQs

Consultation and engagement – what to expect 

Engaging with the community and getting feedback on projects or plans is an important part of our work.  

Sometimes the way we engage or consult is guided by legislation and follows a formal process.   Other times we might take a more informal approach.   

The Significance and Engagement Policy guides how we engage with  you on important Council decisions.    

This section provides more details on what you can expect from QLDC and how to get involved in the topics that are important to you.

Special consultative procedure

This is a formal consultation process defined by the Local Government Act 2002 and triggered when a decision is considered significant or when it is a requirement under legislation, including:

  • Adopting and amending our Long Term Plan
  • Making, amending or revoking a bylaw
  • Transferring Council’s ownership of a significant strategic asset

Under the procedure, we must:

  • Prepare and adopt a Statement of Proposal and Summary, and make it widely available
  • Allow a minimum of one month for people to consider the proposal and enter a submission
  • Ensure people are given the opportunity to present their views to elected members at a hearing

There are other decisions that require formal consultation by law.  Examples of this include preparing and adopting a reserve management plan (under the Reserves Act) or putting in public transport shelters (under the Local Government Act 1974).  Where this applies, we will always advise what legislation the consultation relates to.    

For all other decisions, the Council will determine the level community engagement or consultation on differing scales, depending on the issue and relevant legislation (e.g. Reserves Act, Resource Management Act etc).

Informal engagement

Sometimes we might informally ask for community feedback on draft plans and projects.  This might be asking for ideas to help develop a plan or seeking feedback on a draft that has already been developed.  

When we won’t consult

There are times when we won’t normally consult the community because the issue is routine, operational, or because there is an emergency situation.

We’re also conscious that “consultation fatigue” can cause people to tune out of conversations with councils.  So we want to concentrate on having the right conversations on the issues that are generally more significant or combine opportunities to participate where possible. 

More details on when we won’t consult can be read on page 11 of the Significance and Engagement Policy. 

Frequently asked questions

How will I hear about what’s out for consultation or feedback? 

We will communicate about consultation or engagement opportunities across multiple channels to reach a broad range of people.  The tools and channels we use will vary on a case-by-case basis depending on the significance, who we need to hear from and always with an eye to trying new and innovative ways to reach people. 

Keep an eye on our Facebook page, local newspapers or apps, and our ratepayer newsletter.  We will also use other tools such as radio, emails, letterbox drops, posters in our libraries and other facilities and onsite signage.  

If you haven’t already, you can also register here for a bi-monthly newsletter all about consultation and engagement.

What is a submission

A submission is formal feedback. It’s your chance to present your opinions, observations, and recommendations on a matter before Council, to help councillors make an informed decision. Any individual or group/organisation can make a submission. Your submission can support, oppose, or express a point of view on the matter.

How else can I participate?

We will often arrange in person opportunities to engage with decision makers on current projects.  Keep an eye on our social media pages, Let’s Talk or the local media for details of these when they come up.  

You can also directly contact your elected members – you will find contact details here: 

When can you make a submission?

When Council decides to run a consultation and ask for submissions, this will be listed here on our Let’s Talk website and promoted to the community.

What is a hearing?   

For more formal consultations, we may also give you the option to attend a hearing which is where you get the opportunity to speak to the decision-makers (usually a panel made of elected members) about your submission.   

We will always make it really clear during the consultation process when you have an opportunity to speak at a hearing. 

If you choose to speak at a hearing someone from Council will be in touch to arrange an appropriate speaking time.  

Who can make a submission?

Any person, organisation or group can make a submission.

If you are submitting on behalf of an organisation or group (e.g. a sports club), make sure you have permission to do so and that you are presenting the views of the group correctly. Only one submission per organisation/group can be accepted.

If you are submitting on behalf of a group, it is good to indicate the number of people who support the submission, but please note it will be treated and processed as a single submission. So, if you list 20 people on the submission, it will not be counted as 20 individual submissions.

Why make a submission?

Every year we consult or ask for informal feedback on a number of topics that may affect the community. Your feedback is important to us. Making a submission is the best and most important way for you to be heard.

While the consultation process is not a vote, making a submission ensures your views are taken into account by those making the decisions.

It’s important, as a member of the community, to take the opportunity to have your say. Not every decision will go the way you want it to, but the least you can do is let your voice be heard before a decision is made.

What to say in your submission?

If you are an organisation or submitting on behalf of a group, provide some background information, such as the aims and structure of your group/organisation, how many members you have, and what consultation you have undertaken with your members to put your submission together.

As for your feedback, what you say is up to you. You can write as little as you wish or as much as you want. If the submission form contains questions, you can answer as many or as few of these as you wish. It is important that you keep your feedback focused on the issue at hand to ensure your submission is as relevant as possible.

It is also a good idea to keep feedback short and to the point – some consultations receive many submissions, so the easier and clearer they are to read, the easier it is for the elected members to do their job.

It is handy to remember that it is often not a ‘numbers game’ when the elected members are making a decision. One submission with a good idea, backed up with good reasoning and explanations, can have more effect than multiple submissions providing little or no explanation for the view.

While we always provide a submission form and it’s our preferred way to hear from you, you can also email us at or post your submission to QLDC, Private Bag 50072, Queenstown 9348 Freepost 191078. 

I made a submission but nothing changed - why didn't Council listen?

A submission process is part of a wider decision-making process used to help inform the Council.  Other things considered include things like expert advice, laws and regulations, budget constraints.  

What are some of the more common misconceptions about the submission process?

  • That a submission process is a vote – it’s only part of the decision-making process, used to help inform the council. Council also considers things like expert advice, laws, and regulations, budget constraints.
  • That a submission must be highly technical and/or written by a lawyer - a submission can be made in plain language, it does not need to use fancy language or be written a lawyer or similar professional.
  • That the submission process is simply a box-ticking exercise - we review and analyse all feedback we receive and it plays an important role in decision making, along with advice from technical experts and other relevant evidence.

Will my feedback become public? 

Your comments are considered public information under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987. Submissions may be published on our website following the consultation period. We will never publish your personal contact details.   QLDC takes its responsibilities under the Privacy Act 2020 very seriously.  Our Privacy Policy is available here