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A Dingo Took My Baby

A Dingo Took My Baby

Thursday 23 Oct 2003 Deborah Coddington Press Releases -- Economy

Every New Zealander who values private property rights should object to the Telecommunications Commissioner Douglas Webb's recommendation that Telecom be forced to rent access to its copper wire network to Telstra and other competitors, ACT New Zealand Communications Spokesman Deborah Coddington said today.

"Mr Webb has made a preliminary judgement, on which the Government will rule later this year, stating that New Zealand should 'unbundle its local loop'.

"What this means, in essence, is that Telecom, owner of the copper wire cabling network once scorned as old technology but now capable of delivering high-speed access to the Internet, can not prevent other telecoms companies from using its property.

"The justification is that this will increase competition and deliver cheaper access prices to Internet users. Competition doesn't work like that. This will discourage investment and, over time, reduce competition.

"We could increase competition in the fashion industry and deliver cheaper prices to fashion victims by forcing Karen Walker to stock Trelise Cooper, World, Kate Sylvester and Carly Harris labels, but we'd be breaching Karen Walker's property rights by doing so. That is, the right to sell in her shops the clothes she chooses to sell.

"Telecom is being forced to offer its customers access to Telstra Clear, a giant Australian telco.

"It's interesting that New Zealanders campaign to keep Air New Zealand out of Aussie hands, but they're happy for the state to legitimise Telecom's hijacking by our Australian friends. Telecom's chairman Roderick Deane might well be saying, 'A dingo took my baby' - except that it's a Government initiative that could result in this decision.

"This decision is flawed in other respects. Woosh (formerly Walker Wireless) and BCL (state-owned arm of TVNZ) already offer competition to Telecom with their revolutionary wireless technology. These companies would argue, with merit, that Telecom's dsl technology is not necessarily the greatest. Unbundling will only serve to hurt private companies like Woosh by tilting the market in favour of Australian giant, Telstra Clear.

"The Commissioner's decision will also discourage investment in wireless technology. The Labour Government must see sense and reject Mr Webb's flawed decision," Miss Coddington said.

ENDS

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.


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