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Govt. radio spectrum auction bungle


Hon Dr Lockwood Smith National Commerce Spokesperson

Monday 4 September 2000

Govt. radio spectrum auction bungle

Government attempts to revive the flagging radio spectrum auction are too little to late, National's Commerce Spokesperson Dr Lockwood Smith said today.

"The auction has been a complete disaster from day one.

"The Ministry of Economic Development's plans to try to put some life into the auction process are an admission the whole thing has fallen flat because the Government has undermined the value of the spectrum.

"We're now looking at generating about one-tenth of the estimates officials first expected."

The Ministry of Economic Development is looking at increasing the number of bidding rounds each day from two to four and lift the bidding increments.

"The Government must have learn't by now that it makes no difference how many times you change the rules if no-one's playing the game.

"The Government was repeatedly warned it was going about the auction completely the wrong way.

"It has compounded the sure-fire failure of the auction by creating an economic environment that turns people off investing in New Zealand and in high tech initiatives required for the radio spectrum auction.

"The Commerce Minister has two options: he can either go back to the drawing board and start again or he can press on with a faulty auction process that will leave the New Zealand taxpayer short-changed by possibly hundreds of millions of dollars.

"No amount of tinkering at the edges like that proposed by the officials to try to rev the auction process up will make any long term difference."

Ends

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