Should you speak to the committee in person at a hearing?

It is completely optional.

Making a written submission in no way obligates you to then make a verbal submission. However, if you feel confident speaking, you should consider it as this helps reinforce your points and also shows that you are passionate about the issues and want your voice to be heard.

A verbal submission enables you to express your views in a different way to stress your most important points. The very fact that you go to the trouble to attend in person could persuade a council. Some council members will remember a point better if they can attach a face to it.

Hearings also give Elected Members the chance to ask questions about your views.

What happens during the hearing?

Hearings are usually held at Hamilton City Council Chambers, Municipal Building, Garden Place. However, the hearing may need to be held at a different venue if this room is not available or if large numbers of people are expected to attend.

Hearings are open to the public to attend, however only those who have made a submission can speak. They are also livestreamed and a recording will be made available after the meeting.

When speaking you will have five minutes to make your submission. 

If you are speaking on behalf of an organisation you will have 10 minutes to make your submission.

Who attends the hearing?

For a council consultation, your submission will be heard by Hearings and Engagement Committee panel members. This can include:

  • Councillors
  • Maangai Maaori
  • Other appointees on the hearing panel (names will be included on the front page of the agenda for the hearing)

On the day

Generally the Hearings and Engagement Committee starts at 9.30am.

Speaking via audio-visual link (Zoom):

  • If you are joining via audio-visual link, the Governance team will be in touch to ensure you are given access to join the meeting.
  • Read our Zoom How-to Instructions for help on operating Zoom for Public forum.

If attending in person:

  • You are welcome in the public gallery from this 9.30am.
  • When you arrive, you will be greeted by staff who will register your arrival at the Council Chamber.
  • At the start of the hearing, the chairperson will open the meeting and introduce the hearing panel members.
  • When it is time for you to speak, you will be invited to the council table.
  • Council staff will be there to take notes or provide answers to specific questions.
  • After your presentation, you are welcome to remain in the public gallery.

Tip: Hearings are public meetings, so any members of the public – including the media – can attend to observe. We will inform you at the start of the hearing if the hearing is filmed or recorded.

When you speak

The Hearing panel will have read your submission, so please use the time to highlight and elaborate on your key points and leave time to allow panel members to ask questions.

  • Do not use the hearing as an opportunity to talk about different issues.
  • We will let you know the time and how long you can speak, when we confirm the hearing arrangements with you.

Tip: In most cases, the submitters responses we received will be published on our website before the hearing.

What happens next

After the hearing, the hearing panel will consider all the evidence they received through written and verbal submissions and close the hearing.

  • You will not be able to present further information after the hearing has closed.
  • The panel will then deliberate in private.
  • We will advise submitters of the decision or recommendation of the hearing panel, and we will also publish the final plan, policy or decision on this website.

Speaking at meetings and presenting petitions

Learn what to do if you want to speak at a meeting or present a petition.

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Last updated 20 February 2024