Giving voice to the ‘silent majority’: exploring the opinions and motivations of people who do not make submissions


  • Janet Stephenson
  • Rob Lawson



renewable electricity, wind farms, Submissions and participation, increase public involvement, 'national good', quality of consultation processes


As captured in the quotation above, there appears to be a widespread assumption that there is a ‘silent majority’ of people who support proposals but do not make submissions, and that those who do make submissions tend to be opposed and therefore do not reflect the true state of public opinion. The New Zealand Wind Energy Association (a membership-based wind industry association) suggested that it would be useful to examine whether this was actually the case, in respect to wind farms in particular. As researchers we were also interested in the broader question of why non-submitters might not be participating in formal planning processes, so we developed our research to address two questions: (a) how do non-submitters’ perspectives of proposed wind farms differ from those of submitters; and (b) why do nonsubmitters not make submissions?


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