Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


Battle Looms Over Secret Copper Tax Submissions

COALITION FOR FAIR INTERNET PRICING
MEDIA RELEASE
TUESDAY 8 OCTOBER 2013

Battle Looms Over Secret Copper Tax Submissions

The Coalition for Fair Internet Pricing will use all legal means to obtain submissions on the proposed copper tax that officials said yesterday the government intends to keep secret. (see http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/9253212/Ministry-accused-of-secrecy)

As a first step, it is calling on Communications and IT Minister Amy Adams to reconsider the government’s position and order her officials to immediately release all responses to the recent discussion document on the Review of the Telecommunications Act 2001.

It says this is necessary to ensure the review process benefits from transparency and contestability. The responses are in any case subject to the Official Information Act.

A spokeswoman for the coalition, Sue Chetwin, also chief executive of Consumer NZ, said secrecy risked creating errors that could embarrass the government and lead to inappropriate policy.

“We know there were secret talks for nearly a year between copper network monopolist Chorus and the government, as revealed by Chorus chief executive Mark Ratcliffe on TV3’s The Nation and prime minister John Key in parliament,” Ms Chetwin said.

“Because those talks were secret, the information that was exchanged between the monopolist and the government was unable to be peer reviewed – and that led to Mr Key making his entirely inaccurate claims that Chorus could go broke if the copper tax is not implemented.

“We accept that some data from some submissions might need to be withheld to protect commercial confidentiality. However, the more material that is available in the public domain, the more confidence the government can have that the information on which it bases policy is accurate, and the more confidence the public can have that the process is not being driven by undisclosed or improper considerations.

“We don’t think this review of the 2001 Act should be happening at all, because it appears to be about nothing other than the price the Chorus monopoly can charge for copper broadband and voice services – but if it is to happen it should at least be done with the utmost good faith, transparency and integrity.”

The coalition’s response to the discussion document has already been made public and was based on analysis by top economists Covec, which in turn was peer-reviewed by Network Strategies and found to be conservative.

The Covec study found the government’s proposed copper tax would cost Kiwi households and businesses between $390 million and $449 million between 1 January 2015 and 31 December 2019 over the price for copper broadband and voice services that Commerce Commission work indicates is fair. The latest demands by Chorus, which paid $95 million in dividends to its shareholders last year, would take this cost to Kiwi households and businesses to $979 million.

The Coalition for Fair Internet Pricing was founded by Consumer NZ, InternetNZ, and the Telecommunication Users Association of New Zealand (TUANZ) and is supported by CallPlus and Slingshot, the Federation of Maori Authorities, Greypower, Hautaki Trust, KiwiBlog, KLR Holdings, National Urban Maori Authorities, New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations, Orcon, Rural Women, Te Huarahi Tika Trust and the Unite Union.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell:
On Tomorrow’s Speeches By John Key And
Andrew Little

The Key government has already kicked off the political year on a stridently ideological note, with Environment Minister Nick Smith choosing to lay all manner of sins at the door of the Resource Management Act.

Tomorrow, the government will wheeling out its best salesman – Prime Minister John Key – to sell its plans for state housing, which happens to be another of the government’s most contentious, most ideologically-driven policy packages. Presumably, Key will be trying not to double down on the rhetoric, and thereby leave room for Labour leader Andrew Little to sound like the centrist voice of reason.

Key will have his work cut out, though. More>>

 

Transport: Auckland Looks To Light Rail

The Board of Auckland Transport has called for an investigation into a light rail network, which could relieve traffic congestion on some of the region’s busiest roads. This stems from work in 2012 (the City Centre Future Access study) which responded to a government request to develop a robust and achievable solution for access to the CBD. More>>

ALSO:

RMA: Smith's Claims Don't Match Evidence - Greens

The Motu group’s research into the impacts of planning rules looked at the costs related to housing development but not the benefits of environmental protections and does not recommend significant changes to the RMA to reduce the cost of new house builds. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Similarities Between John Key And David Cameron

For years now, David Cameron has been the closest available thing to a mentor/analogue to our Prime Minister, such that Key watchers could be interested in an analysis of Cameron that appeared in the British press over the Christmas break. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Ian Fletcher Resignation & GCSB’s New Role

It may well be that after being shoulder-tapped in Queensland for the GCSB job, three years of living in Wellington has been enough for Fletcher and his family, given that the pending review of the GCSB would have required an even longer commitment from him. Three years of Wellington’s weather is enough for anyone... More>>

ALSO:

Ian Apperley: $10m Or $100m For New Wellington Council IT System?

I feel a Tui Billboard coming on. I commented the other day that it looked like the Council’s Ninth big project was a potential $100 million plus... The Mayor has responded: “I am reassured by the Chief Executive and by Anthony Wilson that the proposed budget is in the region of $10 million.” More>>

ALSO:

Southern Ocean:
Navy Intercepts Illegal Fishing Vessels

Foreign Minister Murray McCully today put illegal fishing vessels operating in the Southern Ocean on notice and vowed to take action against their owners. “As part of a multi-agency operation, the HMNZS WELLINGTON has intercepted two vessels claiming to be flagged to Equatorial Guinea, fishing illegally in the Southern Ocean.” Mr McCully says. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news