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Govt: Internet campaign continues to mislead Kiwis

27 Sep 2013

Communications and Information Technology Minister Amy Adams believes the latest push from the coalition for Fair Internet Pricing to mislead New Zealanders is disappointing.

Claiming that the coalition has resorted to "hyperbole and scare tactics based on fiction", Adams was dismissive of opposition protests over broadband pricing.

“The group has based its latest claim on a submission from Chorus which recommends that the copper price increase from where it is today and presented that as if it is one of the options being considered by the government. It is not," she says.

“The fact is that under all the proposals in the Government’s discussion document, there is no tax, there is no subsidy and Chorus’ earnings will reduce.

“Furthermore under all options the price that New Zealanders will pay each month for their copper broadband will drop to the lowest price in years. Any suggestion to the contrary is absolutely incorrect.

“It is interesting that the coalition has now finally admitted that the original figure it based its entire campaign on was completely wrong by more than $200 million, proving that New Zealanders have every right to be wary about the claims they are making.”

Adams says the prices proposed in the Government’s discussion document would apply during the transitional period from December 2014 to 2020, at which point a new regulatory framework could be required to provide for appropriate provisions covering both copper and fibre.

Adams also added that the government’s proposals would provide more certainty for consumers and retail providers during this short transitional period.

“It is also important to acknowledge that the Commerce Commission’s price-setting processes are still continuing and are also subject to appeal," she says.

"Without Government intervention this could lead to two or three more years of litigation before there was any price certainty.

“It seems highly unlikely that any price reductions would be passed through from retailers to consumers until all avenues of challenge have been completed and yet this seems to be what the coalition is calling for.

“In fact, retail service providers stand to gain considerably the lower the price of copper goes, and there is actually no way of knowing how much retailers will pass onto consumers.”

Is the coalition's internet campaign misleading New Zealanders? Or is the government in the wrong? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below