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New Zealand Telecommunications Inquiry - Govt

The Acting Minister of Communications, Hon Trevor Mallard, announced today the terms of reference and membership of a three-person Ministerial Inquiry into telecommunications.

“The telecommunications industry is vital to the development of the information economy.

“It is critical therefore that we have a regulatory environment that delivers internationally competitive telecommunications services.

“New Zealand’s approach to telecommunications regulation is different from that adopted elsewhere in the world.

“Many New Zealanders are concerned about Telecom’s position in the market and wonder whether they are paying too much for their telecommunications services.

"New Zealanders need to be sure that they getting a fair deal and that they are able to keep up with the latest developments in telecommunications.

“We need to evaluate whether our current regulatory approach is in the best interests of New Zealanders for the future, and, if not what changes need to be made.

“The Government considers that the best way to address the issue is to have an independent inquiry examine all the relevant issues.

"The Inquiry process will be open. I urge telecommunications consumers and the industry to make good use of the opportunity to make their views known.

The Inquiry will consider the specific issues of interconnection with Telecom’s network, Telecom’s Kiwi Share Obligations, number portability and administration, the management of Internet traffic and developing New Zealand as an information economy.

The Inquiry will be headed by Hugh Fletcher, the former Chief Executive of Fletcher Challenge. Mr Fletcher has extensive business experience and strong academic qualifications.
The two other Inquiry members are:

 Mr Allan Asher, Deputy Chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

 Ms Cathie Harrison, a lawyer with particular expertise in competition law.

“I am fortunate to have secured the services of these three experienced Inquiry team members," Trevor Mallard said. "I am confident they will make a significant contribution to assist us ensure New Zealand has an innovative and competitive telecommunications sector”

Further details about the Inquiry will be placed on a special website available from next week. The website address is Interested parties will be invited to make submissions in due course to the Inquiry and public hearings will be held.

Attachments: Inquiry Terms of Reference
Background on Inquiry members, including
statements of interest
Questions and Answers on Inquiry issues
Statement from Inquiry Head, Hugh Fletcher

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