DCC lagging going online for meetings

The Dunedin City Council has proved to be a digital laggard compared with its council peers when it comes to shifting meetings online during lockdown.

As people adapted to Alert Level 4 conditions once again, many southern councils moved meetings online and one had described the process as straightforward.

However, the Dunedin City Council has not held a meeting since the lockdown was announced.

Dunedin Mayor Aaron Hawkins said that the cancelled meetings did not have urgent agenda items, so these were postponed until a later date to allow staff to better focus on providing essential services during the lockdown.

Meetings would resume this week, starting with a full council meeting on Friday, September 3, 17 days after the country moved to Alert Level 4.

Meetings would continue to be held remotely until the city returned to Alert Level 2.

A full meeting of the council that was scheduled for last Tuesday was cancelled, along with a hearings committee meeting and three community board meetings.

An audit and risk subcommittee meeting that was scheduled for last Thursday has been postponed until a later date, while a regulatory subcommittee meeting scheduled for 9.30am tomorrow also appears likely to be postponed or cancelled.

Meanwhile, several other southern councils had shifted their various council, commitee and subcommittee meetings online already.

An Otago Regional Council spokesman said it had not cancelled or postponed any meetings due to the lockdown.

"The arrangements put in place during last year’s lockdown have made it straightforward for ORC to resume remote council meetings this year."

Councillors had received training on remote meetings last year, with refresher training provided to those who needed it earlier this week.

Meeting papers were already distributed to councillors remotely, allowing them to prepare for meetings as normal.

Invercargill City Council general manager, finance and assurance, Michael Day said no meetings had been cancelled, but a risk and assurance committee meeting was postponed because the chairman preferred to hold the meeting in person.

The council used Zoom for online meetings, and had provided staff training on its use.

"No additional actions have been required and staff are adapting well to having meetings online."

A Queenstown Lakes District Council spokesman said its infrastructure committee meeting that was scheduled for Thursday was cancelled, but this was because of agenda items being rescheduled to a later meeting.

Other than this meeting, it had held online meetings for two committees and two online hearings for the current representation review.

The Southland District Council, Central Otago District Council and Waitaki District Council have all moved meetings online since lockdown began.

andrew.marshall@odt.co.nz

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