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Minister Ignoring Voluntary Sector Worries

PRESS RELEASE FROM ERIC ROY, MP FOR INVERCARGILL Friday, 27 October 2006 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Minister Ignoring Voluntary Sector Worries, Says Roy

Communications Minister David Cunliffe is dodging his responsibility as a Member of Parliament by failing to take up the cause of voluntary groups disadvantaged by Telecom’s new sponsorship scheme, Invercargill MP Eric Roy said.

Mr Roy has been lobbying Telecom over its Community Connection Regional Programme (CCRP). Community groups can apply for this sponsorship to offset telecommunications costs, but many voluntary groups were being adversely affected by now having to pay for the cost of local calls.

Mr Roy said he had been told by Mr Cunliffe that, in his role as Minister of Communications, he had received a number of complaints about the CCRP.

“The Minister told me that ‘inquirers have generally been advised that this programme is a Telecom initiative outside the regulatory frameworks established by the Telecommunications Act 2001’. That may be so, but surely the Minister has some sympathy with the community groups having to stretch their already strained budgets and would consider raising this issue with Telecom in his capacity as a Member of Parliament, as I have been,” Mr Roy said.

“Mr. Cunliffe is happy to intervene to allow big companies their chance to compete in New Zealand’s telecommunications market, but when it comes to those working in the voluntary sector, he won’t do anything.”

“The affected volunteers I know of are already severely disadvantaged by this scheme. David Cunliffe needs to act now and make representations to Telecom and stop these small but vital community groups from financial ruin.”

ENDS


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