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

 

PARLIAMENT TODAY:

Arming Police: Frontline Police To Routinely Carry Tasers

"In making the decision, the Police executive has considered almost five years worth of 'use of force' data… It consistently shows that the Taser is one of the least injury-causing tactical options available when compared with other options, with a subject injury rate of just over one per cent for all deployments." More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On D-Day For Dairy At The TPP

While New Zealand may feel flattered at being called “the Saudi Arabia of milk” it would be more accurate to regard us as the suicide bombers of free trade. More>>

ALSO:

Leaked Letter: Severe Restrictions on State Owned Enterprises

Even an SOE that exists to fulfil a public function neglected by the market or which is a natural monopoly would nevertheless be forced to act "on the basis of commercial considerations" and would be prohibited from discriminating in favour of local businesses in purchases and sales. Foreign companies would be given standing to sue SOEs in domestic courts for perceived departures from the strictures of the TPP... More>>

ALSO:

"Gutted" Safety Bill: Time To Listen To Workplace Victims’ Families

Labour has listened to the families of whose loved ones have been killed at work and calls on other political parties to back its proposals to make workplaces safer and prevent unnecessary deaths on the job. More>>

ALSO:

Regulators: Govt To ‘Crowd-Source’ Regulatory Advice

A wide-ranging set of reforms is to be implemented to shake up the way New Zealand government agencies develop, write and implement regulations. More>>

ALSO:

Board Appointments: Some Minister Appoint Less The 3 In 10 Women

“It’s 2015 not 1915: Ministers who appoint less than 3 in 10 women to their boards must do better, they have no excuse but to do better,” said Dr Blue. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The 1990s Retro Proposals For Our Health System

As we learned yesterday, the reviews propose that the democratically elected representation on DHBs should be reduced, such that community wishes will be able to be over-ridden by political appointees. In today’s revelations, the reviews also propose a return to the destructive competitive health model of the 1990s. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news