NZ Parliament Tipped to Go Online This Year

New Zealand's parliament proceedings could be broadcast live over the Internet by the end of the year.

House Speaker Jonathan Hunt says that will be one of the main issues to be considered by a Standing Orders Committee early next month.

The committee was being formed late last week and will meet after this week's parliamentary recess. It could make a decision within a few weeks and Hunt "hopes" broadcasts can begin by the end of the year. A decision may be made in September.

The issue of broadcasting parliamentary proceedings over the Internet follows pressure from various members of parliament (MPs).

MP Richard Prebble wrote to Hunt on August 18 complaining about TV coverage of Parliament, such as the practice of using old footage when reporting current issues. He sees the Internet, with live video streaming and audio links, as offering "the real solution".

"Either there should be no limitation and MPs accept they are on show, or we have a duty to produce film of the total proceedings and make it available to anyone who wants to download it and rebroadcast," says Prebble.

"I am advised it would be relatively cheap. Cameras could be installed below the galleries. The cameras would be programmed by computer to focus automatically on the MP who is speaking. When no one is speaking (it would return to the) Speaker."IT minister Paul Swain is supportive. "There is no reason why Parliament should not be broadcast on the Internet but I do not know if it would have a big audience," he says.

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