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Telecom must share blame for unbundling leak

Media Statement
For immediate release
Tuesday 23rd May 2006

Telecom must share blame for unbundling leak

United Future telecommunications spokesperson Gordon Copeland today quizzed the Prime Minister in Parliament concerning the culpability of Telecom in accepting the Cabinet paper leaked to them by Parliamentary messenger Michael Ryan.

"The State Services Commissioner, Dr Mark Prebble, says that Telecom is not to blame for the receipt of that document," said Mr Copeland, "but I disagree.

"Dishonestly taking a document is criminal and anyone receiving such a document has also committed a crime under New Zealand law.

"Receiving, in addition to the original leak of the document should, therefore, also be investigated by the Police.

"Clearly it was open to Mr Garty (the Telecom employee who first received the documents) not to accept the papers offered to him by Mr Ryan in a manila envelope. His suspicions should have been aroused.

"A few simple questions are all that would have been necessary to establish that the papers had been dishonestly taken.

"I am pursuing this issue because I believe that it is important to ensure that similar leaks do not occur in the future.

"Personally I have no doubt that Telecom's decision to accept the document, thus triggering the need for the Government to announce its unbundling decision after the NZ Stock Exchange had closed for the day, has cost the company's' shareholders dearly.

"Had the Government's decision (concerning unbundling) been announced as planned via the Budget process, the release of that information into the public domain would have been carefully managed and communicated to the Stock Exchange while it was open to trade.

"Telecom would still have taken a major hit but the situation was clearly exacerbated by the leak; a leak which the company itself could have prevented by refusing to accept the papers.

"It is also important to stand back and look at the bigger picture. There is no doubt in my mind that Telecom's receipt of the papers has materially undermined confidence in the NZ Stock Exchange, particularly for foreign investors.

"Markets are spooked when leaks of this kind occur and confidence in the NZ Stock Exchange will be enhanced if it is made clear that Telecom's actions are unacceptable," said Mr Copeland


Dishonestly taking a document is a crime under Section 228 of the Crimes Act and Receiving under Section 246(1) of the Act. Copies of both sections are attached.

Dishonestly taking or using a document (Section 228) - ... /s.228

Receiving (Section 246) - ... /s.246

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