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Bhatnagar backs live webcasting of meetings

Mon, 2 Aug 2004

Bhatnagar backs live webcasting of council meetings

Hobson Community Board member Aaron Bhatnagar today backed calls from other local body politicians around the country to allow for live webcasting of council meetings for the public.

Mr Bhatnagar said, "We have TV feeds for Parliament, and the TVNZ website broadcasts Parliament over the internet. This is the next natural step."

"Many people feel distant to their local body politicians. They are often disinterested and give local government matters less thought than central government issues. Bringing the council meetings into the homes of residents and ratepayers would allow people to learn more about their political systems and the decisions that are made,” said Mr Bhatnagar.

“I know that cost is always a consideration, but what price do you put on inclusive democracy? Perhaps a trial to see how it works and whether the public are ready for real-time webcasting of their council meetings might be a consideration for the near future,” said Mr Bhatnagar.

“I am pleased to learn that Auckland City has started to give consideration to this. They have been looking at the Queensland state government’s initiatives for e-government and e-democracy. Hopefully this can act as a catalyst for Auckland’s own e-democracy,” said Mr Bhatnagar.

“It would also mean that people could tune in and look at contentious decisions without having to contest weather, lack of public space in the council chambers and would provide a spin-free way for people to see exactly what is going on,” said Mr Bhatnagar.

“By adding the live broadcasting of council meetings via the internet we could become one of the most open and representative local governments in the world. It would also affirm Auckland City’s desire to outreach with new demographics. By way of example, Auckland City is now requesting submissions on matters via mobile phone texting. Agendas and minutes of council and board meetings can be downloaded off the net,” said Mr Bhatnagar.

“Here is a chance for Auckland City to lead the way in e-Democracy – I hope that this provides food for thought for the council and council officers,” said Mr Bhatnagar.


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