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16 May, 2000

The Acting Minister of Communications Trevor Mallard and Minister of Maori Affairs Dover Samuels have today confirmed that a pan-Maori trust would be given the exclusive right to purchase one of the four blocks of third generation (3G) spectrum to be auctioned in the forthcoming 2GHz auction.

The Government is taking this step as part of its 'close the gaps' policy to assist Maori.

“This builds on Cabinet’s earlier decision that bidding in the special block be restricted to those who could demonstrate a commitment to involve Maori in the development of the spectrum," the ministers said.

"Cabinet decided to go with the pan-Maori trust initiative after talks with the Government’s Maori caucus, the New Zealand Maori Council, iwi representatives and Waitangi Tribunal spectrum claimants," they said.

"Immediate work has begun on establishing a trust that is broadly representative of Maori so that it can develop a business arrangement with a strategic partner or partners to develop the spectrum commercially.

"The trust will be required to pay for the special block at a price equivalent to the average price of the other blocks, less a discount of 5%.

"In addition, the Government will provide seed funding of up to $5m to assist the trust through its establishment phase.

"There will be no changes in previously announced competition safeguards for the 2GHz auction.

“The Government was asked to look at whether acquisition restrictions should be extended to include “second generation” spectrum in the auction but concluded that there was no compelling case for this”, the Ministers concluded.

The government's auction of the 2 GHz spectrum will start on 10 July this year.



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