INDEPENDENT NEWS

Government must keep Telecom in line

Published: Fri 8 Nov 2002 09:09 AM
Government must keep Telecom in line
The Government's failure to properly safeguard the interests of phone users is responsible for the huge rise in Telecom connection charges for rural people, Green Party Co-leader Rod Donald said today.
"When Labour sold Telecom in 1990 it made a monumental mistake by placing in private hands a service that most New Zealanders would regard as universal.
"Rural customers are now being sacrificed to the company's drive for profits," said Rod Donald.
"The Government again dropped the ball when it failed to negotiate a universal service obligation last December when the kiwi share agreement was reviewed. The outcome of the review left the door open for Telecom to exploit the loose wording of the new terms.
"While ministers now try to figure out if it has any legal grounds to force Telecom to reverse its outrageous charging regime, the Green Party will be joining concerned public, rural mayors and the farming sector to pressure Telecom to be a good corporate citizen," Rod Donald said.
"As the Government looks towards private-public partnerships for other infrastructure, this is a timely reminder of what can go wrong when the private sector gets its hands on a strategic service."

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