For Your Information

Last week I wrote about FixMyStreet.org.nz A place where you can inform the council and other bodies about local issues that need fixing such as rubbish, graffitti, broken paths, pot holes etc.

This week I want to introduce For Your Information – fyi.org.nz a website that lets you make requests under the Official Information Act.

What is Official Information?

Official Information is any information held by the Government, including:

  • Ministers of the Crown in their official capacity;
  • Government departments and organisations;
  • Local authorities, territorial and regional councils and community boards;
  • State-owned enterprises;
  • Educational institutions, including Boards of Trustees;
  • Public hospitals.

You can read more about the Official Information Act (OIA) and how to make requests at this government web page: Official Information: Your Right To Know.

Continue reading For Your Information

Fix My Street

Look around you. leaving aside the Local Board for a moment, do you see something broken? Do you see any graffiti, unlit lampposts, abandoned beds, pot holes in the road, broken glass on a cycle path? For the most part our island is in pretty good shape. But what do you do when something needs fixing?

Usually we just moan about the council and do nothing. So no one knows about the problem until it has been annoying for some considerable time. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could easily let someone know?

FixMyStreet.org.nz is a great new website designed to do just that. With a very simple easy-to-use interface you can add a new report, mark where the problem is on a map, maybe upload a photo too. The site will then deliver the report to the correct authority that should be able to deal with it.

This idea first originated in the UK with FixMyStreet.com. and thanks to the wonders of open source software and some cool volunteers we now have a NZ version.

So how does it work? Lets say the steps down to my local public footpath have been washed away. I go to the site, click on Report an Issue and enter a postcode, street name or area. This uses Google maps so if you know how to search for places there its just the same. You can view existing issues in that area so you can see if someone has already reported your problem. You can then click on the map at the location of the issue and press go.

screen shot for Fix my street

On the next page you enter details about the issue. The category e.g car parking, glass, public toilets, refuse etc. and then a description of the issue along with your name and email address. You can also upload a photo if you have one. When you click ‘save’ the site sends you an email containing a link, click that to confirm the issue and the message is sent to the council.

So the council gets the email – they’ve been warned what to expect. They can then resolve the issue the way they normally would. They may or may not reply to you to say what they plan to do.

You and others can discuss the issue on the website. Add updates, maybe together lobby the council to fix it, or fix it directly yourselves. Hopefully the problem gets fixed and you can mark the issue closed.

In the UK today they have :
915 reports in past week, 1,699 fixed in past month, 107,825 updates on reports

In NZ they have… um, 7 reports so far. But then they only just started a few hours ago.

Its not glamorous, it is clever and I commend it to the island. FixMyStreet gets a permanent link on the sidebar.

And now some food for thought from the originators of this idea and some others…
Us Now is a movie that inspires me to do projects like OneWaiheke.

Which of these projects would you like to see going on Waiheke?