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Amy Adams Must Urgently Deny Reports of Chorus Talks

COALITION FOR FAIR INTERNET PRICING
MEDIA RELEASE
5 NOVEMBER 2013

Amy Adams Must Urgently Deny Reports of Chorus Talks

Communications and Information Technology Minister Amy Adams is being urged to immediately deny reports she plans to ‘sit down with Chorus to look at the numbers and come back with some options’ following this morning’s determination by the independent Commerce Commission of fair copper prices.

The highly regarded newsroom.co.nz website reported this afternoon Ms Adams announcing that ‘the Government would now sit down with Chorus to look at the numbers and come back with some options reasonably quickly’.

A spokesman for the Coalition for Fair Internet Pricing, Paul Brislen, also chief executive of the Telecommunications Users Association of New Zealand (TUANZ) says he finds it difficult to believe the report can be accurate.

“There is one legitimate process to set copper pricing in New Zealand, which is the independent Commerce Commission process,” Mr Brislen said.

“In addition to that, Ms Adams launched in August a highly questionable pricing review over the top of the Commerce Commission process, citing section 157AA of the Telecommunications Act.

“Now it is reported she plans to hold private talks with the copper monopolist to ‘look at the numbers and come back with some options’.

“Any suggestion of a third price-setting process, involving only the government and the monopolist Chorus, is outrageous.

“We urge the minister to immediately deny the report and confirm that no one from the government plans to hold private talks with Chorus outside the publicly announced price-setting processes.”

Mr Brislen also said claims Chorus was at some financial risk from this morning’s announcement were denied by the relatively mild sharemarket reaction through the day.

Chorus shares are trading at approximately the same level as on 18 October and much higher than in June 2013.

“This market pricing cannot be reconciled with any suggestion the company could default on its debt, let alone ‘go broke’ as the prime minister has claimed, and indicates this morning’s ‘disclosure’ by Chorus is more political lobbying than genuine market disclosure.”

ENDS

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