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Kiwis better off without copper tax Mr Joyce

Clare CURRAN
Communications and IT Spokesperson

22 September 2013     MEDIA STATEMENT

Kiwis better off without copper tax Mr Joyce

Steven Joyce is telling porkies by claiming savings from an axed “copper tax” would not be passed onto consumers, Labour’s communications and IT spokesperson Clare Curran said today.

“On Q&A this morning Steven Joyce tried to claim that consumers won’t see any difference whether the copper tax comes in or not, as ISPs will not pass on savings. That’s completely wrong.

“Just one week ago CallPlus, a major ISP that owns the Slingshot brand, unequivocally said it would pass on the full benefits to consumers of a reduction in copper prices.

“CallPlus CEO Mark Callander said on 12 September, ‘if the government doesn’t proceed with the proposed copper tax and Chorus doesn’t find other ways to increase our wholesale prices, CallPlus and Slingshot will pass on the full benefits to our customers’.

“Also Orcon CEO Greg McAlister, said ‘Orcon will definitely pass on cheaper inputs’.   

“Steven Joyce’s attempt to paint the ‘axe the copper tax’ coalition as a battle between vested interests is wrong and shows he’s not being upfront with the New Zealand public.

“The real battle is between a big infrastructure company called Chorus demanding a government hand-out of $600 million for its shareholders and Kiwi householders who are faced with an unjustified $150-a-year hike in their bills for copper-based broadband.

“A quarter of Kiwi households will never get fibre-based ultrafast broadband as they are in rural areas. They will pay more for a service that should be dropping in price. Instead of getting a cheaper rate for copper they will pay the full cost of fibre, but without the better service. That is completely unfair.

“Of the rest of Kiwi households, most will wait years to even be able to access fibre broadband. The Government and Chorus are ripping off Kiwi households to keep copper prices artificially high.

“The Prime Minister has claimed Chorus will go broke if it doesn’t get the subsidy. Chorus CEO Mark Ratcliffe again denied this was true in an article published on NBR this weekend.

“One of them isn’t telling the truth. In the meantime, Kiwi households look set to get ripped off,” says Clare Curran.

ENDS

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Saturday 20 September, is election day, and New Zealanders’ last chance to have a say on who leads the country for the next three years.

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