New ICT Minister Amy Adams’ disregard of pleas to introduce a shared regulatory environment across the telco and broadcasting sectors is a slap in the face for Kiwi consumers, says Labour’s ICT and Broadcasting spokesperson Clare Curran.
“The new Minister’s address to the Future Broadband conference in Auckland was the first opportunity she had to set herself apart from her predecessor Steven Joyce and of the influence of the big monopoly players in both markets, Sky and Telecom,” Clare Curran said.
“Instead, she ignored pleas from both sectors, commentators inside New Zealand, and a growing chorus of international experts, to address the glaring need for a converged approach to regulation.
“Amy Adams is behind the eightball. She refuses to acknowledge what is plainly obvious: as more content becomes available online, the telecommunciations and broadcasting industries are increasingly merging.
“Mediaworks CEO Sussan Turner echoed the views of many at today’s conference when she described as ‘antiquated’ the current regulation model that treats broadcasters and telecommunications companies as separate industries.
“The broadcasting environment has no regulation. This has allowed Sky TV and TVNZ to enter into a joint venture with no regulatory oversight which stifles opportunities for rival broadcasters as well as the prospects of new players entering the market.
“But the real losers are the New Zealand public, who with little choice on offer may face broadband and broadcast plans which are over-priced.
“Amy Adams refused to take questions at the conference, and has ignored the sensible arguments of people across these industries who do not have vested interests.
“It is clear that she has ears only for the big corporate players with whom this government likes to do business. Those players would be wise to create some distance from government,” Clare Curran said.
“New Zealand appears set on a path to becoming a banana republic. Sensible regulatory environments are critical for real competition to occur.
“Labour’s policy leading up to the election was for a shared, regulatory and legislative framework for the broadcasting, telecommunications and Internet realms. Many other countries including the United Kingdom and Australia have already taken this approach,” Clare Curran said.