Footage of Hawke's Bay Regional Council meetings will be recorded and available online later this year but will not be streamed live, raising concerns about the possibility of censoring.
The regional council has assigned $30,000 in the 2012/13 year for the installation and $25,000 per year for the operating costs, of webcast equipment at council and major committee meetings, although the decision still requires ratifying at the next full council meeting.
Submissions on the proposal were invited as part of the council's Long Term Plan (LTP), and generated a large public response. Regional council chairman Fenton Wilson believed it would help with items of interest for those that could not attend council and committee meetings, usually held on a weekday during working hours.
"People lead busy lives," he said. "I was told that by a few submitters over the last couple of days.
"If you've got a particular interest and you might like to see how the decision passed ... You have the opportunity to go on and see what interests you as a constituent of Hawke's Bay."
Although there would not be live streaming, he anticipated discussions around points of interest would be catalogued and available as online archives about 48 hours after a meeting.
Tom Belford lodged a submission to the LTP representing himself and 78 other Hawke's Bay residents advocating the use of webcasting. But he was disappointed the council would not be live streaming.
"That would be a bit disappointing," he said.
"It also opens up the door to someone at the regional council being a censor of what people see and don't see.
"I'd be really disappointed if this particular council started editing the material to cast itself in the best light."
He said the belief that live streaming would be more expensive was "bogus".
"All the other councils that do it, just do it live. Once you flip the switch and have it running what's the point of not televising it?"