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ComCom demand retraction, Telecom says No

16 Nov 2009

Telecom has rejected a request by telecommunications commissioner Ross Patterson to withdraw comments it made in relation to high court action taken by the Commission.

The comments relate to an announcement made on 6 November that the Commission had filed legal proceedings against Telecom due to alleged breaches of the operational separation undertakings.

Telecom CEO responded publically at the company’s Q1 results briefing that morning, expressing disappointment and claiming that “months ago we asked the Commission for guidance on whether we were pricing in the right framework and didn’t get any guidance.” Later that day a media statement quoted Telecom’s general counsel Tristan Gilbertson as follows: “On receiving complaints in April, we spoke to the telecommunications branch of the commission, but received no guidance or indication of concerns under the undertakings.”

The Commissioner wrote to Telecom by email that day demanding a public retraction of these statements, which he considered were misleading.

On 10 November Gilbertson responded by email claiming the company would not retract the statements. “We have considered your comments carefully and have determined that the “misleading” statements about which you complain are, from Telecom’s perspective, accurate, and will not be retracted.”

Patterson replied on 11 November expressing disappointment, and said that in interests of transparency all correspondence will be put on the Commission’s website.