Technology goes head to head with council rulebook
It was a case of new technology versus the old rulebook when Timaru resident Mark Eaton started videoing submitters at Timaru District Council's long-term plan submissions yesterday.
First, Mr Eaton made a submission outlining concerns about secret meetings and councillors not all being paid the same amount, then he took a seat in the public gallery and pulled out his video camera.
That was enough to have mayor Janie Annear and chief executive Peter Nixon checking out council's standing orders and Mrs Annear pointing out that Mr Eaton did not have permission to film the meeting. She cited her concerns for the privacy of the individuals who were making submissions. She asked councillors if they agreed with her stance.
Hamish Fraser said no and asked why video should be singled out.
Steve Earnshaw had no problems with the videoing because it was a public meeting as long as submitters were happy to be filmed.
"It's not right that Cr Fraser is taking notes and putting them on his blog," Terry Kennedy commented, adding that the blog could have "gone all around the world" before the submitter even left the council chamber.
The difference was that he was not recording the meeting, Mrs Annear said.
It was high time that the council considered setting protocols which covered how councillors behaved during meetings, Jane Coughlan said, referring to Mr Fraser's meeting blogs.
"I got quite a shock when I went home and read his first blog. We really do need to establish parameters [on using technology in meetings]."
"A blog is no different to a letter to the editor," Tracy Tierney said.
Mr Eaton assured councillors that he had no intention of making the video available publicly.
With that assurance given, Mr Eaton was free to continue filming those submitters who agreed. Not all did.
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