It will come as a surprise to nobody, especially my long-suffering colleagues, that I occasionally engage in “robust discussion” about the patriarchy and/or younger people being shut out from decision-making.
What can I say? I’m a millennial who spends way too much time on Twitter.
But even I had to admit, sitting in the Shaping Our Future transport meeting the other day, that the older generation had got one over us young ‘uns.
The meeting was about the multitude of plans, business cases, strategies, and other work going on to address our maddening transport issues.
Given the near-daily bitching and moaning on local social media about traffic, you’d expect this meeting to be packed with people of all ages, ready to ask the tough questions and have their say.
After all, it’s not like we don’t have time to come up with an informed opinion – it’s amazing the thinking you can get done while you’re inching along Ladies Mile in the morning.
The meeting did have a high turnout, and I’m sure organisers will be pleased.
But Queenstown’s younger residents were woefully under-represented.
It’s easy to post a rant on Facebook, God knows I’ve done it (especially after a wine or two).
But social media comments don’t tend to make much headway when it comes to local government processes.
So how do we get people engaged?
To be fair, meetings in the evening aren’t always accessible for hospo or shift workers, or people with young families – and even if you’re a nine-to-fiver, the prospect of sitting in a conference room somewhere listening to one of our fine public servants talking about spatial planning or water quality after a long day might not have you reaching for your car keys.
The council has been good at using online submissions to get feedback, and getting information about public consultations onto social media.
But there is an avenue that everyone seems to be ignoring – live streaming.
After all, it’s not difficult. Plonk an iPhone on a tripod, log into Facebook, and you’re away.
Most councils I’ve covered in other parts of the country are using it as a tool to make meetings more accessible, and there seems to be good uptake.
I know I’d be much more willing to sit in on a public meeting or forum if I could do it from the comfort of my own home.
We’re facing a time when huge decisions are being made about the future of our district.
It’s not helpful having the majority of young people sharing their views in the comments section, while older people are engaging in person.
Live streaming might be the way to bridge the gap.