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Notes on local government issues

How to write a policy advice paper

How to write a policy advice paper

I recently completed a series of three policy papers, and noted down the process while it was still fresh in my mind. Please feel free to try this process if you need to write a policy paper (any long-form report with recommendations) for your council. Why a process...

Highlights from the climate change forum

Highlights from the climate change forum

Learning about the Wharekawa Coast 2120 project and how to communicate about climate change, and gaining a better understanding of the upcoming requirements for financial reporting on climate change risks were some of my highlights from a recent climate change forum...

Consultation ideas from the draft National Adaptation Plan

Consultation ideas from the draft National Adaptation Plan

The arrival of the draft National Adaptation Plan is exciting news for everyone in New Zealand who cares about this topic. However, it can be difficult to find the time to read and provide feedback on such a large, complex document. Tailored information That’s why it...

Scared of rats in your compost? Try this trick.

Scared of rats in your compost? Try this trick.

I recently opened the lid of my compost bin to find a startled mouse (or young rat, more likely) dining out on the latest load of food scraps. It's no surprise that it chose this spot as the nights grow cooler – with underfloor heating (from the composting process),...

Need to keep in touch with  stakeholders? Try a newsletter.

Need to keep in touch with stakeholders? Try a newsletter.

A newsletter can be an effective, low-cost way for a council to keep in touch with a specific group of people. This could be: volunteers and community groups working with a council on water quality or pest control projects; orresidents living in an area where an...

How to stop worrying about deadlines

How to stop worrying about deadlines

I have spent way too much time and energy worrying about how to meet my deadlines – so my goal for 2022 is to find a way to turn down the volume of that worry (and still get the work done). Here are three techniques I’ve been trialing over the past month, which have...

Struggling with a council document?

Struggling with a council document?

The documents we write for councils may not be Moby Dick or The Bone People, but we still have to put in the hard yards to create something from nothing – and novelists can help us to do this. Australian author Charlotte Wood includes an essay about her doctorate...

Notes from a writing workshop

Notes from a writing workshop

At a writing and editing workshop for council officers I learnt as much as I shared with the group. Here's a summary of what we discussed. I introduced a framework to help us step into the shoes of the people we’re writing for. Empathy mapping involves imagining and...