Northland council meetings will continue online through Covid-19 alert level 2 due to restrictions on social gatherings.
Kaipara District Council (KDC) was the first to live-stream a meeting online on April 7 for its Long-Term Plan council briefing. The discussions – via Facebook – drew more than 5000 page views.
Typically, up to 35 councillors, community board members, staff, council visitors, presenters, and members of the public attend in-person meetings.
Whangarei District Council (WDC) and Northland Regional Council (NRC) both live-streamed full council decision-making meetings.
The council talks have been recorded and posted online after the event.
The NRC held their meeting yesterday.Far North District Council (FNDC) aims to live-stream a full council meeting on Thursday.
FNDC's three online council meetings since lockdown have not been live-streamed but audio-visual recordings have been posted online about a week after meetings. KDC's Thursday May 27 council meeting may be a mix of online and in-person appearances.
The online council meetings have been popular with about five times more meeting 'attendees' than face-to-face meetings.
Northland's full council decision-making meetings must be public under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987, though public exclusion is permitted in some instances.
But fewer than half the region's 11 full-council decision-making meetings since March 26 have been live-streamed to the public.
There have been 30 online Northland council meetings, workshops and/or briefings in the Northland ratepayer-funded organisations since March 26. Most of these have, on paper, been open to the public.
Real-time public participation, as with face-to-face meetings, hasn't been possible – except for KDC - as the meetings have not been publicly accessible unless live-streamed.
Where meetings haven't been live-streamed and/or recorded, agendas and, in most cases meeting minutes, have had to otherwise provide the public's only way of monitoring the ratepayer-funded councils' actions during the seven weeks since Covid-19 restrictions began.