What are the Effective Forms of Consultation

The actual form of consultation undertaken by an applicant will largely depend on what the proposal entails, its complexity and scale of environmental effects, and the relationship with the parties to be consulted. The form and extent of consultation undertaken therefore needs to be decided on a case-by-case basis.

Examples of consultation methods are:

  • meetings/hui: these should be open-ended and open-minded discussions with individuals or groups

  • public forums or open days (often used for larger applications). Carefully manage these sessions so the proposal does not sound like a done deal

  • exchange of letters and informative material

  • 'house-meetings' of community or specific interest groups

  • workshops

  • site visits

  • telephone discussions (which may include the establishment of 'Hotlines' or 'Infolines')

  • websites.

Councils should not be concerned about the way in which an applicant has consulted, but rather whether the consultation has been effective. The focus should be on the outcome of any consultation; and on how the applicant has addressed the concerns or issues that have been raised in the application.