Kaipara District Council has held one of New Zealand's first online live-streamed public council meetings.

The Long Term Plan (LTP) briefing meeting was streamed live on Tuesday and recorded on Facebook.

"Kaipara District Council is at the forefront of New Zealand councils in doing this," Mike Reid, Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) principal policy advisor, said from Wellington.

"The transparency offered by the public being able to join a meeting held remotely like this makes a valuable contribution to local democracy in New Zealand."

Mike Reid, LGNZ principal policy advisor.
Mike Reid, LGNZ principal policy advisor.

"It is creating a pathway for others to follow."


The meeting had been viewed 3200 times - and counting - within hours of it taking place . Less than 24 hours after the meeting, that number had jumped by 25 per cent to 4000 views.

The Northland-first meeting was "attended" by up to 50 members of the public during the nearly three-hour livestream in what was one of the biggest turnouts to an ordinary non-issues based council meeting in New Zealand.

The meeting was shared more than 30 times as it took place.

Northland's traditional council meetings - held around the region until March 25 - are regularly attended by only a handful of members of the public. "It's been a very successful foray into digital meetings for Kaipara District Council," Mayor Jason Smith said.

KDC's nine elected councillors look after a $79.839 million council budget for their 23,000 residents and ratepayers - and get paid $580,951 to do so.

Smith's preparation for the meeting included setting up options to deal with rural internet access problems at his Matakohe home, from where he chaired the meeting.
Covid 19 coronavirus: Bach owners warned to stay away from Northland for Easter
Covid 19 coronavirus: Northland pest control continues during lockdown
Covid 19 coronavirus: Northland cases grow, lockdown will last
First coronavirus case in Northland, Anzac Day cancelled

These included Deputy Mayor Anna Curnow being ready to chair the meeting from her Ruawai home, should Smith's internet drop out.

Those watching the meeting posted comments, mostly following agenda items as they were discussed. The comments covered council strategic assets and infrastructure as well as rubbish and recycling.

Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website


Many praised the council for live-streaming during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Reid said online meeting showed the enormous opportunity it offered nationally.

"It's like an electronic 'town hall' meeting. I can see these online platforms being replicated." .