I can’t make my mind up. Is this a good thing or not?

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Live footage of Auckland Council meetings will be streamed to the public from Thursday as part of a new webcasting service.

Aucklanders will be able to watch issues being debated, see how council works and get more information about council decisions affecting them and their local communities, Democracy Services manager Marguerite Delbet said.

“This is a significant step forward in making council decision-making even more transparent for Aucklanders.

“It will increase awareness of how council works and will give people the chance to be involved in the democratic process without having to attend meetings in person.”

Four fixed cameras had been installed in the Auckland Town Hall’s Council Chambers and three mobile cameras would record meetings around the region.

…at a hefty cost to the rate payer no doubt.

Monthly Governing Body meetings would be webcast as well as meetings of the Auckland Development, Finance and Performance, Budget and Regional Strategy and Policy Committees, Ms Delbet said.

Auckland Council was the latest in a number of councils across the country to provide live-streaming and on-demand services including Wellington, Christchurch, Hamilton and Taupo.

The webcasting set-up and installation cost $68,000, council upgraded its equipment to provide a high quality digital signal at a cost of $12,000 and the annual cost of the service was about $40,000.

“This is all about open governance and we are sure Aucklanders will take the opportunity to watch the council, its committees and democracy in action from the comfort of their living rooms,” Ms Delbet said.

On the surface this seems a good thing. ?Accountability seems to be served by a move like this. ?But unlike parliament, which broadcasts and records every second of the proceedings, Auckland Council can declare parts of certain sessions to be closed. ?They’ll use the usual excuses – commercial sensitivity, privacy matters, etc.

So what it means is that the appearance of openess and accountability will be there, but Council will still do all the stuff they don’t want you to know about behind closed doors and with the cameras off.

 

– NZME

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