Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Wellington city government begins online consultation for long-term plan

Wellington city in New Zealand is preparing for its next ten year plan (2009-2019) and has launched a website, Wellington long-term plan, to facilitate citizen involvement in the planning process.

The site features an ideas market-based discussion area allowing citizens to suggest ideas, then vote on different suggestions to provide their vision and priorities for the city's future, as well as a budget simulator where you can try your hand at balancing the trade-offs a city government needs to make when allocating funds.

There's also various documents and other information provided to inform citizens on different planning topics and a great introduction by the Mayor (below).

A side benefit, through the budget tool, is to better educate citizens in the hard choices necessary in government. After you've attempted to balance the budget and read about the consequences of the choices, it provides citizens with a clearer view of why the government makes certain decisions. This can help when selling a revised budget to citizens (they even make the budget comments by citizens available online).

Now if you consider that the main tools used to deliver this site are available online freely or at a very low cost (ideas market, budget simulator, youtube and poll tool), even factoring in overall website integration, moderation and the need to guide people to the site via other media and promotional channels, this is an extremely cost-effective form of consultation for government at any level.

No comments:

Post a Comment