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Labour's vision for information and comms tech

Labour's vision for information and communications technology

Labour's vision is for New Zealand to be a world leader at using information and communications technology (ICT) to realise our economic, social and cultural goals.

"Our aim is to ensure all New Zealanders can access the benefits that ICT can bring." said ICT spokesperson David Cunliffe.

"Having a world-class infrastructure is crucial for our economic development. Creating a pro-competitive, pro-consumer environment is the way to achieve this.

"That is why we passed the Telecommunications Act in 2001 and established a Telecommunications Commissioner. This ended an era of litigation that stifled competition and growth." said David Cunliffe.

"A Labour-led government would strengthen the Telecommunications Act to streamline processes and improve flexibility so consumers can benefit more quickly. We would also establish a complaints resolution service.

"Cheaper and faster broadband is an important part of our vision. The strengthened regulatory regime has allowed the government to work with the industry to produce results. The number of residential broadband connections grew by over 200 percent in the past year and prices are dropping to less than $1 a day.

"Over the next three years we will continue to work to improve the speed, price and availability of broadband. A strong wholesale market is the key to achieving this goal. We are closely monitoring the commitments made by Telecom on wholesale broadband connections." said David Cunliffe.

"Should a Labour-led government need to strengthen the market we will consider amending the wholesaling provisions of the Telecommunications Act to ensure it is in line with international best practice, including reviewing approaches taken in the EU, the UK and Australia.

"We will also be looking closely at the regulatory challenges arising from the forthcoming transition to an internet protocol based Next Generation Network." said David Cunliffe.

"A Labour-led government will work with the Telecommunications Commissioner to ensure consumers benefit from a reduction in the cost of terminating calls on mobile networks."

In addition to a firm and fair regulatory stance, Labour is committed to implementing the goals in the Government's $400 million Digital Strategy (www.digitalstrategy.govt.nz). This involves:

- Unlocking digital content for all New Zealanders through the National Content Strategy: NZ Online

- Building capability and confidence through education and internet security

- Boosting the reach and speed of connectivity through improved regulatory tools, the Advanced Research Network, PROBE extension and the Broadband Challenge

- Promoting access and demand in our communities, businesses and government, in particular through the Community Partnership Fund.

"Unlike our opponents we think the government has a strong, active role to play in the ICT space. The hands off philosophy of the 90s put us behind the pack and we are working hard to catch up.

"We recognise the critical importance of ICT for our growth as a country. Our policy is a comprehensive and ambitious roadmap for achieving our goals." said David Cunliffe.

ENDS

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