Not content to rest on her laurels after being re-elected
as one of Dunedin's most popular councillor choices, the city's
youngest councillor has started cafe drop-in sessions as a way
of connecting with constituents.
Cr Jinty MacTavish (28) said one of the key messages she
heard during the campaign was that people would like more
ready access to councillors.
She could understand that coming into council buildings or
participating in public forums could seem quite inaccessible
to people, and she wanted people to know they did not
necessarily have to do those things to talk with a
They could also call, email or write - during the last
triennium she had tried to be more accessible online, and
believed she had done reasonably well at that - but she felt
that sometimes people really sought face-to-face
'Anything I can do to make that easier for people is probably
a good thing to do.''
She had already had one cafe session, to which two people
came, although they were both friends of the councillor's.
She expected the idea would take some time to grow, and that
sometimes no people would come to meet her, but she was
comfortable with that.
''I think its going to be a bit of a case of seeing what
works, this is a bit of new ground for me.''
She would advertise when and where she would be having her
next session, on her Facebook page.
Her initial aim was to have a session at least once a month,
and if possible every two weeks, and it might even be
something other councillors might end up doing as well.
In Timaru, she said, councillors last term held a councillor
cafe every so often, where multiple councillors went to a
cafe at the same time, and people knew they could drop in to
''In some ways that would be better, because that way people
could have more chance of speaking to someone and probably
more than one of us.''
It was something she would be talking to the other
At this stage the drop-in sessions were ''very much'' an
''If people have ideas about what would make councillors more
accessible to them, I would like to hear for them, because
that is ultimately what I'm aiming for and I don't know if
this is the right way to do it or not.''