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Cash or spectrum? Maori remains undecided

01 May 2013

After months of consultation, the New Zealand Maori Internet Society (NZMIS) says it has yet to decide whether to take the digital spectrum on offer, or go with the cash.

Following the government ignoring iwi during the radio spectrum band allocations in February, a $30 million 'ICT development fund' was proposed by Communications minister Amy Adams as an alternative.

But after consultation via its website, social media and hui, NZMIS have taken the position that it supports the fact that spectrum is a treaty right.

Yet they still remain disappointed the current government have ignored this fact by not allocating any 4G spectrum to Maori as the previous government previously did with 3G spectrum.

"NZMIS will continue to support a Maori spectrum claim that considers the masses and the long term benefits of the wider Maori community," said Karaitiana Taiuru, chairperson, NZMIS.

NZMIS also support in principle, the establishment of the proposed ICT fund which will benefit Maori in ICT, but have concerns about how it will be managed and where the money will be sourced from.

However, NZMIS says it will await the invitation from Adams to consult with its members on the fund.

Adding to the response, NZMIS does not see the relevance of the fund and how it equates to any sort of Treaty response.

"By remaining neutral, we are being representative of our communities and even our komiti, who have been divided on the issue of money or spectrum," Taiuru said.

"If we were to take one position we would be ignoring a reasonable portion of our membership and our komiti, so by supporting both options is a positive and representative way forward."