Suggestions for how to make a submission to the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan

Make sure you follow all requirements – your submission can be rejected if you don’t follow the rules.

> Your full name, street address and daytime phone number. Also your email address if you have one. If you are writing on behalf of an organisation, give its full title and address and explain what authority you have to represent it.  Any submission to a public body can be made public. You can ask for some of your details, like your home address, to be kept confidential.

>The full title of the proposal: The Proposed Auckland Council Unitary Plan.

>The name of body calling for submissions:  Unitary Plan Submission Team, Auckland Council

> Make sure you state in your submission if you want to speak at the hearing. Otherwise you will not be eligible to make an oral submission. While speaking at a hearing can help to highlight what you write in your submission, it is just as valid if you don’t speak. Note that if you speak at a hearing you’ll only be able to talk about issues that you included in your written submission – make sure you include everything in your submission you want to speak about.

> Sign and date your paper submission (electronic submissions do not require a signature).

> The council will accept submissions by email, online from their website, or on paper. One avenue is to use the submission form the council provides; you just need to fill in each section. These are available online, or from your local board office or library. This form has limited space to write but you can continue on another sheet of paper. If you know your comments won’t fit into the spaces on the form, write your full submission on another sheet of paper. Fill in your personal details on the form and attach it to your submission.

Send your submission by post, hand delivery, email or lodge through the council’s website (if available), but to be accepted you must include your name and address so that the council can check or clarify the information you provide. Try to get your submission to the council well before the closing date and time – 5pm 28 Feb 2014. If you send your submission by post close to the closing date, check to make sure it has arrived in time. Post to: Unitary Plan Submission Team, Auckland Council, Freepost Authority 237170, Private Bag 92300, Auckland 1142. Email: unitaryplan@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz

You can also hand in your submission to any library, council service centre or local board office.

The official call for submissions will give you the key requirements. See: http://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/EN/planspoliciesprojects/plansstrategies/unitaryplan/Pages/makeasubmission.aspx

There is no right or wrong way to write a submission. A submission can be as simple as a letter. However here are some basic tips for writing submissions:

Work out what you want to achieve and have a careful think about the best way of achieving your aim. Simple opposition might not be the best strategy. The proposal has got this far because enough people see it as a good thing – try to understand their thinking and work out what you can suggest that will achieve your aim and be better for everyone.

Introduce yourself

Explain very briefly who you are, why you are making a submission, why the reader should pay attention to your views. For example: I am… a resident in the suburb affected by the plan…

Make it clear what you want to happen – or not happen

Start with a summary of your general position and end with your recommendations. List the specific parts of the proposed plan, you wish to comment on – and say if you are for or against them. If you are addressing a particular section or policy, quote the title or number.

Give your reasons and argument

Clearly identify the number and description of each part of the Plan you want to discuss. Explain your reasons for opposing or supporting each aspect you have listed in the summary – being clear about the reasons why you support or oppose something will be very helpful to the Hearings Panel. Where possible, provide solutions and suggestions of what you would like to see, not just the fact that you oppose something. Tell the council what you want – don’t leave them to guess

Use reason and logic

State your points clearly and back them up with explanations and reasons. You might be making a submission because you feel passionate– and that’s good – but saying something strongly and often doesn’t make it true. This is not an opinion poll. A submission that leaps from one idea to another and doesn’t offer evidence won’t have much impact. And don’t become abusive – you won’t persuade people with insults.

Be concise and straightforward

Your submission should be as brief as possible – people who read submissions could be wading through hundreds of them. A good rule is to write just one paragraph to explain each of your main points. Aim for no more than four pages. Bullet points work well in this sort of writing, especially to list a number of related ideas.

Be correct and complete

Double-check all your facts and evidence for accuracy – don’t just take someone else’s word for it. One error could cast doubt on your whole submission. Name your sources, but be brief. Where appropriate, include maps, diagrams and professional opinions that support your submission. Include everything you want the council to know.

Stick to the point

Your submission must be relevant – you must deal with the issue, policy or proposal. You might have a few other things you’d like to tell the council, but this is not the place to say them. Anything off the topic or beyond the scope of the proposal weakens your submission.

Your recommendations

In the final paragraph be precise about the decision you want the Council to make. You might suggest they delete a section or change some wording. You could even give them the words. You might want them to drop the proposal completely, but it could be more effective to suggest other ways to achieve the outcome they have in mind.

More useful information on how to write an effective submission is available from:

The Resource Management Act provides a number of ways for you to get involved in council decisions that affect the environment. Go to the Publications section of the Ministry for the Environment’s website – Making a Submission on a Proposed Plan or Plan Change. (http://www.mfe.govt.nz/ publications/rma/everyday/plan-submission/index.html)

For the Auckland Unitary Plan helpdesk ph. 09 301 0101

For some examples of how to write your submission that might be helpful, please click here.