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Too late for National to backtrack on local calls

08 August 2005

Too late for National to backtrack on free local calls

"It is too late for Maurice Williamson to reassure New Zealanders that he would not scrap local calls' says Communications Minister David Cunliffe.

"National is trying to flip flop on yet another policy but the fact is Williamson made his views on free calling known in an industry publication last month.

"Yet only now that National's political handlers have seen it in the Dominion Post has he tried to retract.

In the Telecommunications Review, published in June, Mr Williamson stated the "the greatest distortion in telecommunications is the Kiwi Share."

He went on to say "If we got rid of the Kiwi Share and had people pay what the real cost of the service is, you'd see real competition in the marketplace at a local level…"

This is yet another example of an unpalatable policy that the National Party is not prepared to be open with New Zealanders about.

"This government is committed to free local calling because we realise how important it is to people, especially those on fixed and modest incomes. We also believe in a competitive telecommunications market. Unlike National we are prepared to take active steps to promote that goal and I will be announcing some changes shortly that will further improve competition" said David Cunliffe.


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