City council meetings coming to you live

Christchurch City Council meetings will be live-streamed online as part of a push to make the organisation more transparent.

The plan had been discussed for several years and came to fruition with the new council's inaugural meeting this month.

It cost between between $16,000 and $25,000 to set up and, with two council meetings a month, would cost between $23,000 and $27,000 annually to operate.

Mayor Lianne Dalziel, who campaigned on making the council more transparent and accountable, told The Press it was "not good enough that it's taken this long".

"We have got to come into the 21st century ... It's a new era of transparency." 

Cr Yani Johanson had led the move since 2010, she said.

Some other councils around New Zealand already live-stream meetings, including the Taupo District Council and the Hamilton City Council.

When the idea was first mooted, some councillors were opposed to the idea, saying that those who were genuinely interested in local body politics turned up to the meetings and those who were marginally interested relied on the media.

However, new councillor Ali Jones said the last council had too many meetings behind closed doors.

"They were using ratepayers' money and people had no idea how it was being used," she said.

The initiative was about "moving forward" as a city, not about an organisation making decisions without the knowledge of the public.

She wanted to know whether the meetings could be viewed retrospectively as most people could not sit at their work computers and watch them.

Wider Earthquake Communities' Action Network spokesman Mike Coleman said any move to be more accountable to the ratepayers was positive.

"I'm really in favour of it," he said.

Next month's council meeting would be streamed and a tab on the council website would be visible for anyone wanting to view it, a council spokesperson said.

The Press