To: Auckland Council
We would like Auckland Council to initiate a trial of participatory budgeting by setting aside a minimum of 1 percent of the council's annual capital budget to be spent as decided by citizens directly.
A selection of projects should be identified locally by groups of citizens, facilitated by Local Boards, and then a citizens' jury, preferably selected by lot to maximise its democratic credentials, would decide which project or projects should be implemented, and should give reasons for their decision at a public meeting. The selected projects, defined so as to meet the Unitary Plan, would be implemented by the Council.
Why is this important?
We need urgently to find ways of engaging citizens more meaningfully in decision making. Participatory budgeting has been widely and successfully used in many countries as a way of engaging and empowering people and as an introduction to doing democracy differently.
At present there is low citizen interest and participation in local politics. Only 35% of the electorate voted in the last Council elections in 2016 , whereas 66% of citizens would like to have a greater say. We don't feel engaged in Auckland Council decisions despite the important issues and crises we now face in housing and transport.
Participatory budgeting allows citizens to identify, discuss, and prioritise public spending projects, and gives them the power to make real decisions about how money is spent. The Council's "Shape Auckland" and "People's Panel" do not do this.
Starting in Porto Alegre, Brazil, in 1989, by 2005 it was used in over 1,500 cities around the world , and now in over 3000 . It is often the first step in empowering citizens directly, and has been found to be highly successful.
Support this call for Auckland Council to trial Participatory Budgeting today, or tell me how to improve it!
2 - Everyone Counts - Could "participatory budgeting" change democracy?, by Josh Lerner, p.9.
3- Participatory Budgeting around the world
Other books, and informative websites, can be found on http://www.moredemocracyplease.nz.
For more details on how it could work in one local board area in Auckland go to
More on citizen participation:
How it will be delivered
Deliver the petition and signatures in person.