Many questions, but no answers on Telecommunications bill

by frog

Green MP Gareth Hughes had some questions for Communications Minister Steven Joyce in Parliament yesterday:

Here was Steven Joyce’s reply:

Nothing to say here. Nothing to say here. Nothing to say here. Nothing to say here.

So Gareth tried again:

Steven Joyce still wouldn’t take a call to respond.

As Toad, one of our regular frogblog commenters, has pointed out at g.blog:

Under the SOP, the restriction on foreign ownership will be gone.  The free local calling provision is supposedly protected.  But there will be a new and far less robust mechanism than the previous statutory requirements. The mechanism to do this will not be a special rights share, but according to the Ministry of Economic Development [PDF] will be:

“…a combination of constitutional requirements on the company, a small parcel of ordinary shares held by the Government, and a Deed between the company and the Government.”

So there will be no protection of free local calling in statute law.  The constitutional requirements and the Deed will be able to be reviewed by any future Government  without any reference to Parliament.  And if Don Brash and his Actoids are part of a future Government, you can bet the farm on free local calling being gone by lunchtime.

As Green Co-Leader Russel Norman said today:

How can we be sure that National or any future Government won’t break the promise to keep a majority ownership stake in our state-owned energy companies?

The underhand way the Government has handled this major policy change on the Kiwi share suggests that John Key can’t be trusted. He’s obviously committed to a privatisation agenda and seems to have learned nothing from the disastrous decisions made in the 1980s and 1990s.

frog says

Published in Economy, Work, & Welfare | Justice & Democracy | Parliament by frog on Fri, June 17th, 2011   

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