Dunedin's Digital Office yesterday called on the council to
reverse a decision to cut its funding and instead asked for
Digital Office general manager Stuart Dillon-Roberts spoke
about the benefits that came from the office's activities,
which included a project to provide free Wi-Fi access around
parts of the city, introducing tablets in schools, helping
businesses understand the benefits of going online and the
The office asked for $100,000 a year for three years to cover
its operating costs, maintain a full-time position and keep
the office going.
This was ''small'' compared with the amount spent in other
New Zealand cities, Mr Dillon-Roberts said.
His comments followed an earlier decision by the council to
remove a $60,000 grant for the office from its draft budget
Cr Hilary Calvert said there was a lack of detail over what
was happening with the money given to the office and
suggested the office could apply for funds through the grants
Mr Dillon-Roberts said its accounts were audited and it had
no problem with briefing councillors about its funding
He accepted the need for more accountability.
Cr Aaron Hawkins said it was hard to decide whether to fund
the office based on the information it had provided.
The Digital Community Trust also submitted in support of the
office being funded, with trustee Peter Hills saying it could
not survive without funding.
TechTeach's Nyia Strachan and Dunedin South MP Clare Curran
both said the Digital Office and implementation of the
council's digital strategy were of critical importance to the
Wireless Internet Connections Ltd managing director Dr
Stewart Fleming agreed with the council on Thursday that
funding should be pulled from the Digital Office, but
lamented the way the council's digital strategy had been
The council should lead an independent review of the
operating structure, funding models and staffing of the
Digital Office, he said.
The council had settled on an excellent strategy but
implementation through the office had been poor and now was a
perfect time to get it back on track.