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Cost Another Deterrent For Competitiveness

The Labour-Alliance Government has announced it will add yet another barrier to telecommunications companies wanting to enter the New Zealand market, National's Communications spokesperson Alec Neil said today.

Mr Neill's comments come in light of the one-off $1 million dollar Vodaphone deal with police that will allow them to tap into digital phones.

"Mr Swain has advised that in the future any new companies will face more compliance costs, saying they 'would have to foot the bill if they were using a network that could not be intercepted.' This is hardly encouraging news to prospective competitors.

"Let's not forget that earlier in the week Paul Swain was promising to implement legislation designed to open up the telecommunications market to more competition within a couple of months."

In a speech to the Wellington Regional Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday, Paul Swain vowed to 'reduce compliance costs for business and to improve the competitive environment,' with the Commerce Commissioner overseeing competition in the telecommunication market.

"Telecommunications companies, like every other business, have had a raft of extra compliance costs dumped on them since Mr Swain's Government came to office. Now new companies that are not compliant will have to foot the monetary burden of catching criminals.

"If the police were adequately funded by their own penny-pinching Minister, the police would be able to pay for their own surveillance requirements in the future as well. Shifting the costs to telecommunications companies does nothing to fulfil Mr Swain's aim of greater competitiveness and lower consumer costs," Alec Neill said.

Ends


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