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image source, Waipa District Council/YouTubeimage captionThe council described the Zoom footage, recorded last year, as "innocuous"

A New Zealand council's Zoom meeting has been viewed more than 290,000 times on YouTube as people use it to pretend to take part and avoid being disturbed.

The meeting of the Waipa District Council's finance and corporate committee was recorded during a Covid-19 lockdown period in April last year.

Since then, users have been playing it at home and at their workplaces to create the impression they are busy.

"We're feeling famous," the council wrote on Twitter on Friday.

"After inexplicably going viral on the internet… we're just as confused as you," the tweet reads.

The footage, which runs for about one hour and 44 minutes, discusses the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the nation's tourism industry.

"I have used this meeting six times now," writes one YouTuber.

"My wife asked why the person speaking has an accent… I'm in US," another commented.

"Put this Zoom call on at work so it looked like I was busy, I was avoiding having to deal with a stressful individual," wrote another, adding: "AND IT WORKED."

Other users included students who said they had played the footage to convince their parents they were studying from home. Some also praised one of the council members who appears in the Zoom call with a background of the Star Wars Death Star.

Waipa District Council described the video as "innocuous".

"This video is quite the high-water mark for our YouTube channel," said Ken Morris, deputy chief executive of the council. "Quite clearly one of our meetings going viral like this is unexpected."

The council has posted dozens of videos on its YouTube channel over the years, the majority of them receiving little more than a couple of hundred views.

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