In the “Department of Conservation's Statutory Planning Processes”
Be specific. The key to writing an effective submission is to write in a way that relates to the plan. For example, make sure that you reference the numbers of the sections you are wishing to comment on. This ensures that DOC knows which parts of the plan you have an interest in. Being specific means you have a better chance of seeing your suggestion reflected in any changes that are made.
Say what you like in a plan as well as what you don’t like. There may be other people who do not like that bit. If DOC only hears from people who want changes, they won’t know that there are other people who thought they got it right. Changes could then be made which you disagree with because people spoke out against the bit you liked while those who liked it were silent.
Meet deadlines. There is a specified time period stated for the acceptance of submissions from the public. If you miss the deadline for submissions, your submission will not be considered. Mark the date on your calendar, and make sure your submission arrives with DOC on time. Important: the closing date is the date DOC must receive it by, not the date you need to post it by.
Stand up and be counted. When you file a submission with DOC, you are given the option of talking about your submission at a hearing. Sometimes people don’t want to stand up in public and give their opinions. However, it is a crucial part of getting your point across. Because you are passionate about an aspect of the policy or plan, you have written a submission. Because you wrote it, you are the best person to interpret it. If you don’t come to a hearing and speak to your submission, you miss the opportunity to emphasise the points you wanted to make with the same passion you feel for the issue at hand.
Be objective. Construct a thoughtful submission, not an emotional one. It is very difficult for the Department to identify the relevant issues when submissions are full of emotive language. Clearly, if you work in a particular area, you are going to feel a sense of ownership or responsibility for it. But you can do more to protect your interest by forming coherent and specific views in your submission. Deal with the facts of the current situation, rather than historical relationships. Put yourself in the shoes of DOC receiving your submission.
Try and understand the aims and goals of the process. Although you may not be in total agreement with the conditions and statements of a draft plan or strategy, try to understand why the particular restrictions or limits of activity have been put in place. When considering a draft plan, refer back to the CMS and see if the proposed plan is in line with how the conservation area is supposed to be managed. If you still don’t understand, get in touch with DOC and make a time to talk with someone about what’s not making sense.
Examples of Effective and Ineffective Submissions
An effective submission
“The Association of Treehuggers would like to point out to the Department of Conservation, that with regard to the Draft Putiputi National Park Management Plan we have a suggested alternative for Section 3.4(z) that the proposed route of the Torrid Torrent Track be modified. We seek for DOC to change the proposed route from the top of Old Man’s Falls to the bottom to include Trev’s Lookout. This would make much more sense for trampers, since there is a natural platform there, which would be an excellent place for a rest stop.”
An ineffective submission
|“Save the Possums”
The above submission is completely ineffective in terms of being able to get your point of view across. It does not refer to a specific section or part of the proposed plan or action, and it does not offer useful or practical alternatives.