Interesting snippet in The Herald today:
Web body says fibre deal may be illegal
The Government risks riding roughshod over international obligations with plans to give investors in its ultra-fast fibre broadband network a 10-year regulatory holiday, according to an internet users advocacy group.
InternetNZ has raised concerns about the regulatory forbearance period breaching international legal commitments after seeking an opinion from Wellington public policy lawyer Michael Wigley. …
Wigley said that under the World Trade Organisation’s General Agreement on Trade Services (GATS), New Zealand, like other countries, must have a telecommunications regulator “separate from, and not accountable to, any supplier of basic telecommunications services.
Stephen Joyce denies that there is an issue (well he would, wouldn’t he):
Joyce said he was well aware of the obligations under the international agreements and was confident the measures being taken were consistent with these obligations.
He said the regulatory arrangements were not a “regulatory holiday” and that fibre investors would be subject to significant regulation
So when is a regulatory holiday not a regulatory holiday? Clare Curran’s take over at Red Alert is pretty blunt:
Joyce has basically responded saying he doesn’t care.
He is using public ignorance of the complex nature of the government’s $1.5 billion ultrafast broadband scheme to mask his disregard for expert criticism and concerns about the project.
The National Government’s willingness to roll over to the demands of parties putting themselves forward as partners in the ultrafast broadband networks is the latest example of disregard for NZ law, legal trade obligations and public scrutiny.
I’ve referred this to MFAT. And I put out a release on this this afternoon. Here it is.
Perhaps it doesn’t really matter. At the rate Joyce is moving, two years after the major 2008 election promises, he’ll finally get all this ultra-fast fibre broadband installed about two weeks after it has become technologically obsolete…