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InternetNZ: Major flaws remain in Telco Bill

17 May 2011

InternetNZ, a non-profit organisation dedicated to achieving unfettered internet access for all, released a statement yesterday welcoming "small changes" in the Telecommunications Amendment Bill, but warned major flaws remain. 

The big issues, said InternetNZ chief executive Vikram Kumar, is the imposition of a regulatory holiday "preventing the Commerce Commission from doing its job in the fibre envrionment and Telecom rather than Government leading hte structural separation process."

Kumar said the organisation agrees with problems laid out by the ACT, Green and Labour MPs in regards to these flaws.

These issues remain despite the availability of "ready fixes", said Kumar, and questionable benefit to investors in light of Labour's promise to overturn the regulatory holiday, should it be elected.  

"The result is that telecommunications legislation is going to remain contentious until at least the full review scheduled for five years from today," he said. 

Some of the changes welcomed include bigger penalties for breaches to LFC (Local Fibre Companies) undertakings, a ministerial requirement to consult the Commerce Commission in certain cases and a narrowing of government power to spend funds from the Telecommunications Development Levy. 

However, Kumar warned that the Bill favours Telecom's shareholders over the wider New Zealand public.