One of the things I love about Aotearoa is at the end of the day we’re a small country, and that means our politicians are as accessible as they come writes Nelson City Councillor Rohan O'Neill-Stevens.

Kiwis get the opportunity to have a say on just about every decision, both at parliament and at councils. 

That accessibility isn’t just great for democracy, it also helps us make better decisions. 

Who knows an area better than the people that spend every day there? 

When we hear from a wide range of people, we get a better understanding of how to deliver great outcomes, and often discover things that may have never crossed our minds.

And yet all too often it’s a familiar story of which voices don’t come to us through consultation. 

Indeed, it’s one of the very reasons I chose to run for council, after feeling the concerns and views of my communities weren’t being heard at the council table. 

For years certain voices, like young people and minorities, have been locked out or ignored in decision making and as elected representatives we have a big job to engage, build trust, and bring more of those voices into the fold.

Luckily, technology has made engaging quicker and easier. 

Council launched Shape Nelson at the start of this year, putting our consultations in one place and making it easier to feed into our decision-making. 

Want an even more direct line? Pop onto the Nelson City Council website and you’ll find Councillors’ contact details or find us on social media. 

But it’s not enough to simply have you come to us – that’s why more and more we’re coming to you.

So, if you’ve got that great idea – get in touch or keep your eyes out, we’ll be out there seeking your views.