Councils use consultation documents as tools to help make fairer and more effective decisions for the communities they represent. The 2021 Taituarā Great CD competition is now underway - this is not only an opportunity for one of your top consultation documents to be recognised, but also a chance to learn from the best-practice going on in other councils across Aotearoa New Zealand.

The criteria for the 2021 Taituarā Great CD Competition are based on the purpose of the consultation document. That is:

“provide an effective basis for public participation in local authority decision-making processes relating to the Long-Term Plan by:
(a) providing a fair representation of the matters that are proposed for inclusion in the long-term plan and presenting these in a way that- (i) explains the overall objectives of the proposals and how rates, debt and levels of service might be affected; and (ii) can be readily understood by interested or affected people; and
(b) identifying and explaining to the people of the district or region, significant or other important issues and choices facing the local authority and district or region, and the consequences of these choices; and
(c) informing discussions between the local authority and its communities about ( the above matters)”.

Presentation of the key issues (70 per cent)

The key criterion relates to the way each CD presented the key matters, including those which the legislation suggests are mandatory. Judges will be asking the following questions:

  • has the CD content shown evidence of clear thinking about the future of the district or region or is it a collection of issues?
  • has the CD explained why the issues it sets out are the significant ones or otherwise important?
  • does the CD follow the hierarchy of presentation - issue, options, analysis?
  • have options been presented in a clear and consistent way, including the consequences of each option (judges are likely to reward those councils that have clearly stated a preferred option, and those councils that have identified the financial consequences of each option)?
  • how clearly were the key points from the financial strategy and infrastructure strategy articulated (judges are likely to reward those councils where the CD shows evidence of joined-up thinking between the two)?
  • were there ‘fillers’ in the CD e.g. issues where there was no option, or that appeared to relate to a decision that has already been taken?

Creativity and Presentation (30 per cent)

It is not enough for a CD to describe the key issues and meet all the statutory tests. It must engage the public:

  • what is the CD’s overall quality as a communication (judges are likely to reward those CDs that are as succinct as possible, written for the reader, and presents options in a politically neutral way)
  • has the CD been presented in an engaging way (judges are likely to reward visual appeal, use of space, titles or interesting/effective use of graphs, charts or photos)
  • how was the CD made available to the community (e.g. online, hard copy, audio/audiovisual)
  • did the CD include a submission form, if so how well designed was the form (for example, was it easy to follow, did it provide adequate room for responses – including space for submitters to discuss matters not covered in the CD?)


Judges will assess CDs that are non-compliant on the above criteria (they may be a source for good design ideas). However, as an organisation that promotes good practice, Taituarā advises that the judges will apply a final test for compliance.

Conditions of Entry

To enter please send seven hard copies of your consultation document by 5.00pm on 15 August to:

Raymond Horan
Manager Sector Improvement
Taituarā — Local Government Professionals Aotearoa
PO Box 10373
The Terrace
Wellington 6143

Note: those local authorities that did not prepare ‘hard copy’ CDs are advised to print off eight copies of their CD in a format that they consider shows it to best advantage. Taituarā takes no responsibility for any disadvantage in the competition that councils entering incur by leaving it to Taituarā to print off.

Taituarā will prepare a shortlist of local authorities as ‘finalists’ in the competition. Those shortlisted will be notified and will be expected to attend the Taituarā Community Plan Conference in Wellington on 25 and 26 November. A council that cannot attend will be removed from the shortlist.

Taituarā intends to publish the shortlisted councils on the Taituarā website as examples of good practice. Taituarā may want to access excerpts for use in Taituarā guidance. Granting access for these purposes is a condition of entry.