Council submissions can be made online
As of last week, the public will be able to make online submissions to the Central Otago District Council for the first time. Beginning with the council’s representation review, people will be able to express their opinions through the website about whether or not the number of councillors should be reduced from 10 to eight plus the mayor, along with the proposed change from ward-based to at-large elections. Communications and strategy coordinator Maria De Cort said the ability to make online submissions had been identified by the public in the long-term plan consultation process. “We were asked ‘why can’t we submit online?’ and we’re pleased to let them know that now they can.’’ Queenstown Lakes District Council communications manager Meaghan Miller said that council initiated online public consultation more than a year ago and now used it for all community interest matters. ‘‘We still have to take into account that not everyone has a computer but we can see online submissions are going to grow.’’ Use of the internet was ‘‘definitely the way of the future’’ to cut down on the ‘‘cost of democracy.’’ Printing the Long Term Plan cost at least $100 each copy, she said. Otago Regional Council corporate analyst Sharon de Vries said about 75 per cent of submissions to the Otago Regional Council’s Long Term Plan had been made by email. Online submissions would be available for its 2013 annual plan, she said.