INDEPENDENT NEWS

Spectrum Auction Failure A Financial Disaster

Published: Fri 14 Jul 2000 10:47 AM
The 2GHz radio spectrum auction attracting bids of just $34 million is a major economic set back for New Zealand, said ACT Leader Hon Richard Prebble.
The auction was conservatively estimated to be worth $650m to New Zealand. Britain raised $NZ72.3b in a similar auction in May, while Australia expects to gain $NZ3.3b.
“The failure of major telecommunications companies to bid indicates a strong reluctance to invest in New Zealand.
“Raising $650 million is becoming an economic fantasy. Unfortunately this is just the tip of the iceberg of the real economic loss to the country.
“The new spectrum is needed for the next level of telecommunications – such as wireless internet connection. If the telecommunications do not make the multi-million dollar investments needed to move to the next level of telecommunications, the gap between New Zealand and Australia will grow.
“What we are seeing is the cost of the regulatory uncertainty created by the Labour/Alliance Government’s policies.
“In telecommunications, the Government has moved New Zealand from having an investment encouraging environment, to one of total uncertainty.
“The recommendations of the Fletcher telecommunications review that promotes Government control has made investing in New Zealand a risky business decision. The Government’s uncertainty in handling Maori spectrum claims has just fuelled this risk.
“New Zealand is now being viewed by the world as another Fiji.
“The Government needs to publicly reject the Fletcher inquiry report, and say it will, if necessary, legislate to reject Waitangi claims to the spectrum.
“This auction is positive proof of the costs to the nation of Labour/Alliance loopy left wing policies,” said Hon Richard Prebble.
ENDS

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