The live-streamed recording of a council meeting in which a councillor accused a mayoral candidate of being "inebriated" when posting on Facebook has been removed from Youtube.
When asked why, the council provided a written statement which said: "The recording has been removed while we work through technicalities regarding ongoing publication and the organisation's role and responsibilities as a 'publisher'."
The live stream was of a full council meeting on May 30 during which councillor Rob Kent raised an urgent item relating to online posts he claimed were defamatory.
Kent said he had sought legal advice around a defamation claim but that had proved too difficult and expensive to pursue. At the meeting he accused mayoral candidate Reynold Macpherson of writing the post "in a state of inebriation" something Macpherson denied.
After the video was removed, the Rotorua Daily Post asked the council further questions, including if the recording had been removed for legal issues and if the council was seeking legal advice about the recording. Other questions were what it meant by "technicalities regarding ongoing publication" and the organisation's roles and responsibilities as a publisher.
The council reiterated its previous response.
"As per our previous response, we have some technicalities to work through regarding ongoing publication and the organisation's role and responsibilities as a 'publisher'. There's nothing more to add at this stage but there may be at a later date."
Macpherson told the Rotorua Daily Post Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act requests had been lodged to get the video released.
He said while the recording had been removed, "there is no evidence that the accusation was the reason, the sole reason or any reason".
He refered to comments made by Free Speech Coalition spokesman Dr David Cumin in a Rotorua Daily Post article last week.
"'Politicians who won't meet argument with argument, and instead ask the state to punish critics are not fit to hold power.' I agree with this position."
Councillor Rob Kent said he supported the decision to remove the video.
"That's a decision of the chief executive based on legal advice I believe. I'm quite comfortable with that. They believe that's what should have happened, that's the chief executive's decision and I stand by it."
Kent said his comments at the meeting had been tabled as a written document that would appear in the public minutes of the meeting once approved.
"The video is therefore of no consequence."