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Mark Congratulates Telecom For Helping Soldiers

1 May 2002

Mark Congratulates Telecom For Helping East Timor Soldiers

New Zealand First Defence Spokesperson Ron Mark extends his congratulations and thanks to Telecom New Zealand for bringing an end to costly phone calls between East Timor soldiers and their families in New Zealand.

“In February this year, Telecom ditched a $4 and $8 dollar cap for weeknight and weekend calls to international mobiles replacing it with a per minute charge. Many soldiers who use mobiles to speak to their families back home were adversely affected by the increase.

“In January I received a letter from the spouse of a New Zealand soldier serving in East Timor who was extremely concerned that Telecom had ceased the capped calls. After writing to Telecom to ask them to reconsider their decision they informed me they had found a solution,” Mr Mark said.

Telecom is now advising families of the Defence Force staff to use Yabba cards to make calls at the cost of 25c per minute or a $10 off-peak cap. They had also donated 700 $15 Yabba cards to the families of soldiers in East Timor.

“I congratulate Telecom New Zealand for their prompt efforts in finding a solution. They have obviously prioritised fixing this problem and soldiers and their families will be very grateful.

“Being able to talk to their families is a life-line for soldiers and is also vital for their morale. It’s hard enough being away from your wife and kids for months on end without the worry of mounting phone bills.

“It’s a great pity the Minister of Defence Mark Burton couldn’t act with such urgency. I wrote to the Minister seeking his assistance at the same time I wrote to Telecom but I’m yet to receive a reply. Once again it appears the Minister is missing in action,” Mr Mark said.


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