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Labour's Commerce, Communications and IT Policy

During its first term the Labour-led Government introduced the most comprehensive reform programme across the business-related portfolios in recent memory, said Minister of Commerce, Telecommunications and Information Technology Paul Swain.

“The reforms are aimed at creating an environment in which businesses can prosper and help lift New Zealand back into the top half of the OECD,” he said.

“Competition law has been improved, securities market regulation has been tightened and business compliance costs have been reduced. The new Telecommunications Act has introduced for the first time an industry-specific telecommunications regulatory regime. The Government has actively championed the uptake of e-commerce and has committed tens of millions of dollars to upgrade the telecommunications infrastructure in the regions.”

In its first term, the Labour-led Government has:

- Amended the Commerce Act to bring our anti-competitive barrier test in line with Australia’s
- Introduced a Takeovers Code to ensure that all investors get treated equally during takeovers
- Introduced a Securities Markets and Institutions Bill, to improve rules for detection, disclosure and enforcement
- Initiated a fundamental review of insider trading laws
- Passed the Telecommunications Act, which introduces a new regulatory regime and provides for a telecommunications commissioner to resolve issues such as interconnection and number portability
- Concluded a successful 3G spectrum auction to allow for the roll-out of high bandwidth mobile networks
- Introduced the Electronic Transactions Bill to put paper-based and electronic transactions on an equal footing
- Introduced anti-hacking legislation to make computer hacking a crime
- Held an E-commerce Summit and followed this up with an E-commerce Strategy and eight regional e-commerce events attended by more than 1,600 people
- Established an E-Commerce Action Team
- Established an Information and Communication Technologies Taskforce
- Allocated tens of millions of dollars in Budget 2002 for the roll-out of broadband internet to the regions

In the next term Labour will monitor the measures it put in place in its first term, said Mr Swain. “We’ll also be embarking on some new reforms aimed at creating an environment in which New Zealand business can thrive.”

In its second term Labour will:

- Monitor the new Commerce Act regime
- Review the Takeovers Code to see if any changes are required
- Pass the Securities Markets and Institutions Bill
- Complete the review of insider trading including definitions and issues of criminality
- Monitor regulatory issues relating to the insurance and financial advice industries
- Embark on the post-2005 tariff review
- Introduce phase 2 of the Compliance Costs Reduction Programme, including a tax simplification programme
- Monitor the new telecommunications regime
- Respond to the local loop unbundling review
- Oversee the roll-out of broadband internet to regional schools and communities
- Continue to promote the E-commerce Strategy and the work of the E-Commerce Action Team
- Implement, where appropriate, the Information and Communication Technologies Taskforce’s recommendations
- Ensure that New Zealand keeps abreast of overseas developments in international best practice in accounting

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