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Steven Joyce’s 3 minutes of shame

Clare Curran
Communications and IT spokesperson

10 December 2010 Media Statement

Steven Joyce’s 3 minutes of shame

Communications Minister Steven Joyce spoke for just three minutes last night when introducing the Telecommunications Amendment Bill into parliament, Labour’s communications and IT spokesperson Clare Curran said today.

“John Key pledged $1.5 billion to deliver ultrafast broadband fibre to 75 per cent of New Zealand homes. It was No 2 in his top 10 pledges before the 2008 election.

“It’s been two years and still no progress has been made. Not one millimetre of Crown-funded broadband fibre has been laid and we get a Bill before the House which not even the Minister is prepared to speak to with confidence.

Clare Curran said Labour had supported the Telecommunications Amendment Bill to select committee because the issues needed public discussion and scrutiny.

“Labour has deep concerns that this Bill weakens hard fought legislative protections for consumers and exposes the public to an unnecessary risk of future monopolistic practices. The Telecommunications Act already includes protections for investors so the proposed regulatory holiday is unnecessary.

“We saw the first dribble of a decision this week to roll out the fibre in some regional towns covering about 16% of the country so that before the end of the year

“It all adds up to a muddle a mess, a flawed process, a new network being paid for by $1.5 billion of taxpayers’ money which appears skewed in the direction of investor interests and not consumers affordability.
“There’s been very few decisions actually taken in two years, there’s the big question of whether Telecom will be involved and if so, what legislation will be needed to allow them to, and will the public be able to scrutinize and submit on it?
“If Telecom doesn’t get the contract will they furiously compete with their existing copper network and make it unattractive for years for New Zealanders to access fibre?
“Although the broadband may be ultra-fast – the process so far has been ultra-slow,” said Clare Curran.


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