Cost of streaming is plan's undoing

Last updated 09:40 28/02/2014

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Plans to live stream Marlborough District Council meetings have been scrapped because of the proposal's "excessive" cost.

Councillors voted against the $35,000 a year project, which would have broadcast their meetings online, but agreed that it would happen eventually.

Councillors Jessica Bagge and Brian Dawson were the only two to vote for the streaming service at a full council meeting yesterday.

Ms Bagge said she had looked into what other councils in New Zealand were doing.

Dunedin City Council's live streaming was like a television station and Hamilton's meetings were linked into Youtube, she said.

However, all other councils had a cheaper service than the one proposed for Marlborough, Ms Bagge said.

The cost was a little steep, she said.

Council chief information officer Stacey Young said the cost was because of the council's chamber room.

Its round shape surrounded by concrete pushed up the price, while other councils used normal meeting rooms, Ms Young said.

The yearly fee would cover the recording of all 43 meetings, plus two workshops, editing and bookmarking the videos, she said.

That would allow people to look for and watch specific agenda items, like meetings on New Zealand King Salmon.

Ms Bagge said the live streaming was about transparency, clarity and engaging the younger generation with politics.

Recordings would be good for councillors to catch up on meetings they had missed and to check discrepancies with the minutes, she said.

Mr Dawson said live streaming would provide openness and hold councillors accountable for their promises.

It would also showcase the talents of council staff and councillors, who were sometimes subject to inappropriate scathing, he said.

"Having meetings live streamed would enable the public to see the very good work that goes on here."

Laressa Shenfield said she thought live streaming was a progressive idea and that it was the way of the future but that the cost was excessive.

Jenny Andrews said the project was frivolous.

John Leggett said people's behaviour changed once a camera was put in front of them, and was therefore open to the idea.

But the idea should be put "on the backburners" for 12 months, he said.

Jamie Arbuckle didn't think the videos would get enough views, while Peter Jerram said the recordings would be watched only by "serial pests" to further complain about the council.

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- The Marlborough Express

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