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Awhitu residents deserve better

Andrew Bayly
National Candidate for Hunua

22 May 2014

Awhitu residents deserve better

It is more than disappointing, in this day and age, that almost 500 homes and businesses in the Awhitu Peninsula have been left without land lines, internet or EFTPOS services for almost a week says Andrew Bayly, National Party candidate for Hunua.

The telephone links have been erratic for some time, but service was lost completely on May 18.

“After this issue was brought to my attention I have spoken with local business owners in the region and share their concerns over the impact this failure has had on their businesses. I then contacted Chorus and a number of agencies which oversee telecommunications in New Zealand,” Andrew says.

“Chorus have advised me the services at the top of the peninsular are provided through a radio link (a DMR – or Digital Microwave Radio) which links Waiuku to the exchange at Awhitu and an older DSL cabinet. It is this link which has failed, and Chorus assures me that they are working hard to identify the issue as well as repair and replace components.

“However, this is obviously having a detrimental effect on local business, and even more concerning is the risk that 450 families may have no way of contacting emergency services if required. People having to make a 60km or more round trip to get cash to buy their groceries seems ridiculous in this era of instant communication.

“It is also disappointing to note that during my enquiries, there are no plans under the Rural Broadband Initiative to upgrade any equipment in the area.”

Mr Bayly says reliable, efficient telecommunications is not only vital for business, but also for rural society, and he is continuing to work with local business in the area to support them to get the problem resolved as soon as possible.

“For businesses like Big Bay Holiday Park, which cannot access their online booking system, or for the store and garage which cannot accept EFTPOS payments, a week without these basic services is a long time.

“I have spoken with the Telecommunication Users Association of New Zealand, and I advise all affected businesses to keep a record of missed sales and transactions, and ensure they note carefully the disruption and impact to their business.

“Small businesses are the lifeblood of our rural communities, and frankly, they deserve better than this. I appreciate that Chorus is taking positive steps to remedy this situation, but I sincerely hope they put in place equipment and processes to ensure local businesses are not placed in this situation again.”

ENDS

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