Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Nats give Telecom zero

Maurice Williamson when he was Minister of Communications presided over the liberalisation of the international telecommunications market, refused to establish a telecommunications regulator (because the evidence was that it would see a shift from operators negotiating with each other to operators lobbying the regulator, which is exactly what has happened), supported infrastructure based competition in telecommunications (and the then Telstra Saturn was rolling out networks in Wellington and Christchurch, Vodafone bought BellSouth and expanded its network nationwide). He was a pretty good Minister, not from the point of view of the then Clear and Bellsouth. For the latter he delivered a pretty clear message to its US CEO that he couldn’t approach politicians and get his own way like he did in the US. The message was simple. Telecom was subject to general competition law and yes the Nats threatened to regulate if Telecom did not abide by its commitments at privatisation. However he did not swallow the complaints of competitors wholesale, because officials saw right through them.
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How things have changed. National now supports legislation to require Telecom to split into three businesses. Maurice Williamson now is quoted by Stuff as saying he believed the bill's cross-party support afforded Telecom certainty that policies would not change if different parties came to power.”
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Well if I had been robbed by the government, I’d be so thrilled to know it can’t be reversed by a change in government. No wonder Telecom has stopped funding political parties, almost all of them are full of thieves.
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Maurice, you’ve disappointed me. You could, at least, have said that National will repeal all legislation requiring Telecom to have a particular structure. You wont - why should Telecom shareholders vote National?

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