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$800,000 Inquiry Should Be Canned - ACT

"The billion dollar joint venture announced between Saturn and the Australian company Telstra shows that the Government's expensive Ministerial Inquiry into telecommunications is now entirely unnecessary," said Dr Muriel Newman, ACT spokesman on telecommunications.

"The Telstra-Saturn project is not only an exciting development, but also shows the Government has no need to go ahead with spending more than $800,000 of taxpayers money on an inquiry.

"Labour has told us the inquiry is needed, among other reasons, to bring about increased competition in the domestic telephone market, the so-called 'local loop'.

But, the Tesltra-Saturn move shows the planned inquiry is simply a waste of money.

"These companies will be competing with Telecom New Zealand in all of our major cities.

They will be offering telephone, internet, pay television and interactive television services to businesses and home consumers.

Mobile phones may also be included.

"Labour's claims that Telecom had a local monopoly, restricting local competition, is clearly false.

It should now be clear to them that healthy competition is alive and well, as a result of the light handed regulatory regime that exists in New Zealand.

On that basis, their planned inquiry should be cancelled.

By saving $800,000 of the $2 million the government has already committed to inquiries since the last election, this government would be putting its money where its mouth is", Muriel Newman said.

ENDS

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