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National has no vision for telecommunications

5 September 2005

National has no vision for telecommunications

National's lack of commitment to economic growth is clear by the size and detail of its communications policy, says Labour Communications Spokesperson David Cunliffe.

"Maurice Williamson said recently that when he was Minister, the hardest thing for him to do was to do nothing. This so-called policy shows he hasn't changed his spots.

"National wants to return to a generic competition law approach. This was tried and failed utterly in the 1990's. The only group I know of that still supports this approach is the Business Roundtable." said David Cunliffe.

"Generic competition law achieved nothing but a decade of litigation and stalemates that were solved only once Labour passed the Telecommunications Act 2001.

"National's affirmation of property rights, code for leaving the incumbent alone, is in stark contrast with comments made as recently as last Friday where Mr Williamson advocated structural separation of the incumbent's wholesale and retail branches.

"It shows yet again that Don Brash won't let members of his caucus get in the way of his hard-right utopian dream.

"The other disturbing idea is that the policy aims to give companies more power to take legal action against the Telecommunications Commissioner. By contrast Labour's policy is to give him more power so we can make decisions faster to benefit consumers.

"This policy is a joke and will make National and Maurice Williamson a laughing stock to people who know the industry.

"It shows that National has no real commitment to economic growth. A high quality telecommunications infrastructure is vital for a high level of sustainable growth, particularly as fuel prices are rising.

"National believes if they cut taxes and sit on their hands there will be an economic miracle. Labour, like the rest of the world, has moved on from that thinking and our proactive approach to telecommunications is part of this."


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