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Copper tax axed by National’s partners

David CUNLIFFE

Labour Leader

ICT Spokesperson

28 November 2013             MEDIA STATEMENT

Copper tax axed by National’s partners

Support for National’s copper tax has evaporated with National now isolated as the only party in Parliament supporting a crony deal for Chorus, says Labour Leader David Cunliffe.

“Labour supports the proper, independent regulatory process undertaken by the Commerce Commission and its decision to reduce copper broadband prices for all New Zealand families. Labour believes the Government should uphold the Commerce Commission’s decision and enforce the fibre broadband roll-out with Chorus.

“National must not add to its crony hall of shame that includes, Rio Tinto, SkyCity, Warner Brothers and others by intervening to bail out Chorus.

“Labour has always stood for faster, cheaper broadband in a pro-competitive market framework. When cutting its UFB broadband deal with Chorus National weakened the regulatory framework in exchange for a binding contract to roll out fibre.

“The Commerce Commission review of copper broadband was known when Chorus entered into its contract. They took the risk. To override the regulator would undermine the integrity of the telecommunications market and its regulatory framework.

“Labour commends the Government’s minority partners and NZ First and the Greens for taking a principled position. National is now isolated, as it should be, because its position has no contractual, public policy or moral basis.

“Intervening to protect Chorus either by keeping up the copper tax on Kiwi households or by direct bail out to Chorus would shift the cost and risk from the market to Kiwi families.

“There is a simple solution. The Government should honour the Commerce Commission’s decision and enforce the UFB contract with Chorus. Over the long term Chorus will remain profitable.

“Labour expects the Government to abide by the lawful regulatory process and to accept the Commerce Commission’s recommendation to cut copper broadband prices for Kiwi households,” David Cunliffe says.

ENDS

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