The Dunedin public will be able to see local body politicians
in action ''warts and all'' after city councillors agreed to
allow full sound recordings of their meetings.
The public, including media, were previously only allowed
take photos, notes and video, but not record sound at council
But several resolutions passed by councillors yesterday will
allow any person who notifies the chairman at the start of a
meeting to record, including video with sound, the public
parts of full council, public forum and standing committee
The council will also record the meetings and make a full,
unedited copy of recordings of meetings publicly available.
This opens the door to possible live webcasting of meetings
in the future.
Council governance manager Sandy Graham told councillors the
proposal from staff came after requests from members of the
public and media and was something the council's
communications team was also keen on.
Councillors had mixed reactions to the proposal.
Cr Colin Weatherall expressed concern about comments in the
footage being edited out of context, and Cr Richard Thomson
asked if a mechanism could be included so there were
repercussions for any ''mischievous'' editing.
Ms Graham later said that would be covered by council making
the full unedited version publicly available, to enable
Cr Syd Brown said there would need to be a more concerted
effort by councillors to make sure staff were informed of any
complex queries before meetings, so staff did not resort to
not answering questions on the day because they were
conscious of being recorded.
Cr Jinty MacTavish noted media were already present at
meetings and edited material from them, as could anyone who
chose to attend public meetings, so this idea was really no
Cr Kate Wilson was worried some people who wanted to make
verbal submissions to meetings might be scared off by the
idea of being recorded.
Mayor Dave Cull said it would be another step towards making
council processes more transparent.
The community had very few means at its disposal to judge
performances by its councillors. The only way at the moment
was what was published by the media.
''This gives our community a chance to see us warts and all,
or virtues and all. I think that is their right, because we
are meant to be representing them ... ''All but one of the 14
councillors voted for full recording. Cr Neil Collins said it
was a matter for the next council to decide.
Ms Graham said further discussion was needed on whether
hearings committee hearings would be open to recording.