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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Three? Three! There wuz four, I tells ya!

Three people attend Environment Southland Facebook drop-in session

Only three people asked questions in Environment Southland's second online drop-in session, but councillors still believe it was successful.

Environment Southland councillors Robert Guyton and Maurice Rodway were available to answer questions from the public on Facebook from 7pm to 8.30pm on Tuesday evening about the regional council's Water and Land plan.

Environment Southland councillor, Maurice Rodway

While the number of participants was low, Rodway said it was a "high level" conversation.

Environment Southland councillor, Robert Guyton
"We had some great interaction from quite a few people who had questions about what was going on with the Water and Land plan," he said.

"The conversation was at a very high level. It was very civil."

Interacting in Tuesday's session posed different challenges than previous in-person Environment Southland meetings, Rodway said.

"It's a little bit more difficult than talking to someone face-to-face or over the phone. You have to make sure you don't have too many typos."

Guyton said he thought more people were following the discussion than asking questions.

"There were very few who you could see asking questions, but I understand at the first session there were 100 followers."

Ten people were listed as "attending" the drop-in session on the Facebook event page created to host the discussion.

While the level of discussion spoke to the knowledge in the farming community about land and water issues, more needed to be done to engage people living in urban areas, Guyton said.

"One thing I've noticed is it's been all rural people [taking part in the discussions]. There've been no urban people. It's a big hole. We need to find ways to engage them."

Guyton said he thought Facebook was a better online discussion medium than other social media platforms, mainly because Facebook was used by more people and not limited by "glib" answers in 140 characters like Twitter.

It was Environment Southland's second online discussion session, after a similar event was held on September 17.

Twenty-eight people were listed as having attended that event.

Submissions for Environment Southland's Water and Land plan close on Friday.


Ben Mack: @benaroundearth

- Stuff


Philip Todd said...

Still think there has to be a better way for councils to interact with constituents but it has to be done in a way that people feel they can make constructive input into. They need to throw out something that has not been chewed over and decided already as people feel its a done deal. Start a bit closer to the daily lives of people and build a mutual partnership that can used for more complicated discussions in the future.
Perhaps go backwards a little and discuss how people think they should heat their homes and what would encourage them to move to alternatives heating sources? And could council help that decision in anyway?
Throw in a carrot and a good meaty subject.

robertguyton said...

Then leave them to stew.

Philip Todd said...

The disconnect in the south between councils and the public are a big concern.
The ICC showed everything about what leadership is not about by sending a delegation off to China the same time as they were working on the forum about growing our southern population.
The only thing that grows in Invercargill is councillors egos and their remuneration packages.
Growth will come from businesses that have the support of the council to grow but all to often council staff seem intent on stopping any business from expanding

robertguyton said...

Darren Ludlow said, at a recent meeting between ES and ICC, that the council fully supports the planting-out of verges and berms in the city. I was so impressed and encouraged that I can't bring myself to criticise them for anything just at the moment, sorry Philip.

Armchair Critic said...

The reforms of 1989 went a long way towards taking the local out of local government. Reorganising local government Auckland in 2010 continued the trend and proposals for further amalgamations show that the trend is unlikely to be reversed. I think this shows that our central government values ideas like efficiency over ideas like democracy, and I think that's wrong of them.
So good on ES for trying to engage people via facebook. Three or four people is a start.

paulinem said...

Sorry Robert I saw via South Times it was on FB ..planned to tap in but when it came the time to go on etc got distracted with tea cooking etc and I then FORGOT completely about the ES program until the next day ..

Re oil and gas investents was thinking of a letter to ST re ES options would be better tp invest in industries such as forestry ...which is not only good for enviro but also good at creating employment ( re drive to increase Southlands population ..this will only happen with development of more industry ) ..... do you see this idea as a goer on say planting trees on marginal land in Southland ....certainly I see this as a much more environment friendly investment than oil and gas exploration

robertguyton said...

It was 4, AC, with others watching on. Given that it was the final engagement of a long series, that was fine by me. Plus, it was fun (most important).

robertguyton said...

Hi, Pauline. How could you forget such an important engagement :-)
Nevermind. Next time we'll be talking about the estuary that's heading toward "stinking quagmire" status. That'll get you city-folk onto your pc's :-)
Yes to trees. Done well, investing in tree planting is the intelligent investment.