September 22nd, 2011
There aren’t many New Zealanders who spend time pondering how councils will be using technology to run hearings in the future. But Mike Manson is one such enthusiast. And as the CEO of ALGIM, the Association of Local Government Information Management, Mike’s ideas about Life In Councils After Ultrafast Broadband have the potential to radically change how council business is done – particularly in rural areas. And change it for the better.
Imagine farmers being able to present their case at a water discharge hearing via a high quality video conference link from their fibre-enabled home. Or at least from a wired service centre based, maybe, at their local library. Or what about absentee landlords (a retired developer living in Auckland, but with a property outside Palmerston North, for example) being able talk over plans with a council building inspector, or appear at a resource management hearing without having to take a day off to fly down.
Customers needn’t even change out of their gumboots – or their slippers, as the case may be. And the savings in time and money for all concerned would hopefully be considerable. Mike, who is also business development manager at PalmerstonNorthCityCouncil, has other ideas about how his organisation will use fast fibre once his region has wide coverage . These include live CCTV monitoring of remote sites – parks, reserves or water treatment plants, for example. In some cases, the cameras are already there, but there hasn’t been enough bandwidth to deliver the pictures over traditional lines.
There are nine members of the ALGIM executive team – all from different councils. There will be some interesting meetings ahead.