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Telecom Deal Outrageous - NZ First

Media Release


23 April 2008


Telecom Deal Outrageous - NZ First

New Zealand First has questioned National’s plan to give $1.5 billion of taxpayers’ money to Telecom to improve broadband services and says the money could be used as a deposit to buy the company back for New Zealand ownership.

Economic Development spokesperson Doug Woolerton today described National’s announcement of a public/private partnership with Telecom as “outrageous” and that all New Zealanders should be up in arms about it.

“Telecom has enjoyed a monopoly position, looting and pillaging New Zealanders since the old Post Office system was flogged off for a song during the economic madness of the 1980s,” said Mr Woolerton.

“The company has been quick to take billions of dollars in profits but very slow to invest in communications infrastructure. That’s why the New Zealand broadband systems are behind the rest of the world, why cell phone calls are so dear and why home telephones are expensive.

“It is important to recall that the former chief executive of Telecom is on record as saying their policy was to confuse customers and it appears that the company has now managed to confuse National’s leader John Key.

“Mr Key has acknowledged that telecommunications has been a market failure in New Zealand so perhaps it is time for New Zealand to take back the industry, like it has with Air New Zealand and will do with the railways system.

“If Mr Key has done a deal with Telecom he should come out into the open and explain what is going on. Taxpayers need to know exactly why they should pour $1.5 billion into the most rapacious company New Zealand has ever known,” said Mr Woolerton.

ENDS

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