Web service cuts help rates

By Megan Hunt

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Funding to Hawke's Bay Regional Council's new webcasting service, set up just a few months ago, will be reduced to help bring the 2013/14 rates increase down from a projected 4.57 per cent to 2.8 per cent.

The regional council met to finalise its annual plan yesterday and the webcasting service was one area earmarked for funding cuts. The service, which broadcasts the council's meetings online, was installed earlier this year at a cost of $30,000.

Filming and broadcasting all meetings would cost $25,000 annually, but the service was reduced to only broadcast the main council meetings, saving $10,000.

Councillor Liz Remmerswaal said the full amount of funding for webcasting needed to stay.

"For the sake of democracy and those who can't get to our meetings," she said.

Cr Remmerswaal suggested money to film all meetings could come from the councillors' two-course lunches. "There are calls for transparency in Hawke's Bay and this is one way of the council responding to these calls," she said.

Councillor Tim Gilbertson agreed. He questioned the $650,000 spent on cars and $186,000 on accommodation each year. He suggested alternatives to reduce these costs, including Skype video calling for meetings to eliminate the need for employees to travel.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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