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ACT Says Get On with Auction of Radio Spectrum

The auction of radio frequencies should go ahead without further delay according to ACT Broadcasting Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman.

The Government's international Internet auction for the rights to the management of cell phone and other radio wave frequencies was delayed just hours before the March 29 event was scheduled to start because of a Waitangi Tribunal ruling that radio waves are a Maori Taonga.

A two-day hui was held in Otaki over the weekend to look at strategies for how Maori might manage and use the radio spectrum.

"Consortiums from all over the world are interested in this auction committing millions of dollars to provide new services to New Zealand consumers.

"By choosing to postpone the auction, the government sent international investors the message that the Waitangi claims process is a destabilising influence on the governance of New Zealand. The decision will effect New Zealand's international reputation as a country in which to do business.

"Dr Newman said the claim over the radio spectrum on the basis that it is a Taonga is nonsense. The electromagnetic spectrum was discovered almost 60 years after the Treaty was signed. For the Waitangi Tribunal to even entertain this as a legitimate claim casts serious doubts on the whole settlement process.

"If Maori interest groups want a share of the radio spectrum they should not expect taxpayers to foot the bill. They should put in a bid like everyone else. This auction needs to go ahead and should proceed as soon as possible," said Muriel Newman.

ENDS

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