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Office Will Increase Telephone Charges

Telecommunications Office Will Increase Telephone Charges

"The new Telecommunications Commissioner's office will increase costs and slow down innovation," says John Luxton, National's Telecommunications spokesperson.

"The compulsory levy of $2.2m is likely to move up over time, increasing the cost of ordinary telephone bills.

"International experience has shown that similar regulatory regimes have reduced innovation in such sectors because of the ability to regulate at will without returning to Parliament. Existing players are unlikely to invest as heavily in innovation if a Commissioner can impose regulations which cut across new or existing property rights", said Mr Luxton.

"The OECD, in a recent report, has shown that deregulation encourages innovation and job growth. A previous OECD report two years ago showed that the New Zealand telecommunications sector had been one of the most innovative in the world during the 1990s without an expensive office for a Telecommunications Commissioner."

Mr Luxton said that he hoped that the new Commissioner, Mr Douglas Webb, would be able to work towards reviewing the need for Telecom's Kiwishare, and not be sidetracked by the agenda of those wanting to be shielded from the reality of the market place.

Ends

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