Council keeps zooming 

A council zoom meeting

Waipā District Council says it will maintain online cover of meetings following questions from The News.

Last week’s Te Awamutu Community Board meeting was the first in person since August – but was not livestreamed to the public – though board members could log in remotely – and it was fortuitous that The News had a journalist present.

The previous week the council failed to alert The News to the fact that the two-day Annual Plan meeting was being held in person for the first time since the Covid lockdowns. A News reporter was across the road from the council chambers at the time and would have attended.

The News asked questions last week when the council indicated two committee meetings would not be livestreamed.

Good Local News director Roy Pilott said had that been the case, he would have objected.

“We have provided coverage, using Zoom, of virtually every Waipā council meeting and committee meeting this year – and have been the only media to do so,” he said. “It would have been impossible for us to put staff into council chambers for all of those meetings. Zoom has enabled our readers to be kept up to date.”

In a statement released on Friday council’s governance manager Jo Gread confirmed live streaming would continue – and only the Cambridge Community Board would miss out because it was not possible to broadcast from its present location. The council would look at resolving that issue.

In February, Waikato DHB provided The News with Zoom log ins so our reporter could dial into its two committee meetings on February 21)

Meanwhile, The News is also pushing the Waikato Regional Council to improve its online services around meetings – which are presently shown on a delayed basis if at all.

“Decisions made by the regional council have a major impact on Waipā, and we can’t see them live by Zoom,” Pilott said.

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