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Ideas from 12 April 2021 Western Community Centre Workshop

Active Citizenship

Make voting easier – get people involved at the most basic level. Online voting would help more people get involved.

Have voting at familiar places.

Celebrate examples of active citizenship out in the community. By showcasing the good stuff it will encourage others to do something or start something up and encourage the communities to keep going.

When you don’t see the results of your vote it can be seen as a waste of time.

Should have voting stations in schools. Have a series of meetings with staff beforehand to educate students.

It needs to be promoted as a natural thing otherwise it’s in the too hard basket.

Primary school poll about who they would vote for and why gets them thinking early about making these hard decisions. Have mock election too.

Train people at a young age – democratic literacy – practice makes perfect. Kids can do it, they do class monitors. Also makes them more independent so they form their own opinions.

Lower the voting age, this would encourage more.

Community centres are a great place for voting booths. For people who normally wouldn’t bother they need to see someone like themselves, follow the example, then it filters down into your family like a domino.

A lot of people aren’t enticed enough to vote, why should you care? Tell them why it matters to their life. Local communities and families need to see examples, see themselves.

Your family’s thoughts just ricochet until someone else educated you or you see or join a rally or hear your neighbours talking. Needs to be around you.

Some parts of society feel like they don’t have a voice, or if they speak they won’t be listened to.

Feel like nothing they can do or be, will make a difference. They need to feel their opinion is valued.

Need a citizen’s handbook.

There’s that strong young climate voice and they’re doing stuff with rubbish while they’re at school. This could be enlarged for wider public.

There’s currently a lot on teachers but they need support to do this.

Government isn’t telling people enough of a story.

Need to work on finding common ground.


Government is quick to judge and stereotype. Don’t stereotype by how someone looks or dresses. Easy to slip into stereotypes when too busy.

The indigenous perspective is passed over, government needs to meet halfway and change mindset.

Indian, Malaysian, etc it doesn’t matter your creed you should be treated the same.

Government can’t leave social initiatives or help up to individuals, it gets exhausting and can put others in harms way.

Community centre is helping, giving out more than anyone.

We need welfare not just uplifting children, that should be the last resort. Even Australia works with families and investigates first. That’s why people don’t speak up. People don’t have confidence in government because of what’s happening, scared their children might be taken.

Community centres are the link between community and their needs.

Ongoing problems and feelings of animosity. Attitudes towards public service is anger and frustration. Government agencies need to be honest with the public about its own challenges. Need to build trust between the receivers and delivers of services. Get on the right wavelength and in culturally appropriate way.

People rely on pages set up by the community like Facebook page Claim back your benefit.

The acknowledgment of wellbeing by government has meant council has been more supportive. Measuring wellbeing is key, not just roads, rate, etc.


It’s hard to distinguish between what local and central government is doing. Each have their own challenges, but democracy gets tangled up.

It’s hard for single parents to get the information they need from government.

There are faceless advisors and heads of government departments. Put them out there and say what they do.

We need a lot more transparency, accountability and honesty around government resources.

Community policy – explain better why you’re doing what you’re doing. Seven years ago Police Stations got shut in Hamilton. They always celebrate govt openings with a big ribbon but there’s no transparency if something shuts. Say we don’t have money if that’s the reason. Petition about this issue didn’t get picked up by Parliament.

When Police came to listen to community centre, they were given all the problems the community is facing but there just aren’t enough resources for police to be proactive instead of reactive.

People are getting angry and there are pictures up from security cameras on Facebook, taking things into your own hands is not okay. Society is breaking down so real practical solutions are needed.

How many people know how to submit a petition? Could be a lot easier.

Make it easier for people, to access information re government. It’s hard to find what’s going on. Present information differently, e.g. pictorially. Could make a jigsaw puzzle, a visual of the different things government is working on and you could click on stuff.

Also need accountability for how funds have been allocated.

It would be good to have a council news sheet, spend more on marketing.  

Create safe spaces for people to come and talk about their issues, needs, whatever they want to talk about. Community Centres are an example.