Does the South Waikato District Council open its meetings with a prayer?

Alex Harris made this Official Information request to South Waikato District Council

The request was successful.

From: Alex Harris

Dear South Waikato District Council,

As you may have read recently, the Whanganui District Council abolished its opening prayer after a complaint was made to the Human Rights Commission. I'm interested in learning how widespread this practice is, so I'd like to request the following information under the LGOIMA:

* Does the Council open its meetings with a prayer? * If the answer to the above is "yes", then I'd like a copy of that prayer (or examples, if more than one is used), when the practice was first established, whether the council has considered abolishing it in the wake of the Whanganui decision, and any advice the council may hold on the prayer's compatibility with both the Human Rights Act 1993 and Bill of Rights Act 1990.

I would prefer to receive an electronic response. Queries about this request will be automatically forwarded to me by the website.

Yours faithfully,

Alex Harris

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South Waikato District Council

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Sent request to South Waikato District Council again, using a new contact address.

From: David Hall
South Waikato District Council

Dear Sir

The answers to your queries are as follows:

1) South Waikato District Council meetings are opened with a prayer. There is no prescribed form, His Worship will normally ad-lib it.

2) My understanding is that there has been a prayer at the commencement of Council meetings since the South Waikato District Council was formed, in 1989.

3) There has been no formal discussion concerning the prayer since the Whanganui decision; and the SWDC has sought no specific advice concerning it, that I am aware of.

I trust that the above satisfactorily answers your queries.

Yours Faithfully

D R Hall
Chief Executive

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