One of the main reasons I stood for Parliament was because I believed we need to do some things differently. Here’s one of them.
I stand on the record as clearly in favour of much more open-ness and transparency in answering written questions, oral questions and Official Information Act requests. If Ministers just gave us (the people) the information we requested it wouldn’t all seem so tricky and agenda-laden.
Yes. We’re in opposition. But we can stand for change. I do. There’s an extraordinary sea-change occurring around the world in making government information more accessible and transparent. Once you do that, you begin to break down the barriers between people and politicians. That’s my mission.
So read the answers provided to me by Communications & IT Minister Steven Joyce to these questions and make your own decisions about the accountability of this government.
I posted these questions several weeks ago. It matters because structural separation of Telecom is critical to not only the future of our telecommunications industry, but also to the core infrastructure of our future highway; ultrafast broadband. There’s enormous public interest here. Steven Joyce must not only be seen to be accountable, he must be accountable to the New Zealand public. Labour understands this. It’s not all about politics.
I’ll keep pursuing this issue because it matters. It’s just one of many issues. And it’s disturbing. The bit I find most disturbing is where he talks about a “requirement” for structural separation of Telecom. I didn’t mention that word in any of my questions. It’s as though it is a way for Joyce to evade the question. Is this what we expect of our government?
All questions lodged on 23/10
All answers received on 3/11
All questions addressed to Steven Joyce, Minister, Communications & IT
To read the questions and answers click here.
1. Question: What correspondence, if any, has he received or sent, listed by correspondent and date, about possible structural separation of Telecom?
Answer Text: I have not received or sent any correspondence about possible structural separation of Telecom.
2. Question: What meetings has he attended, if any, where possible structural separation of Telecom has been raised; on what dates were those meetings and who were the attendees?
Answer Text: Please see the replies to questions for written answer 15833
(2009) and 15837 (2009).
3. Question: Has he discussed possible structural separation of Telecom with the Prime Minister or any of his Ministerial colleagues; if so, when and with whom?
Answer Text: I have had a number of discussions with the Prime Minister and Ministerial colleagues about the Government’s ultra-fast broadband initiative and the possible participation of Telecom. A requirement for structural separation of Telecom has not been proposed in those discussions.
4. Question: Has the Minister ever discussed possible structural separation with any Telecom representatives; if so, who were the discussions with and when did they occur?
Answer Text: I have had a number of discussions with Telecom representatives about the Government’s ultra-fast broadband initiative and the possible participation of Telecom. A requirement for structural separation of Telecom has not been proposed in the discussions.
5. Question: What briefing papers, if any, listed by title and date, has he received about possible structural separation of Telecom?
Answer Text: I have not received any briefing papers about possible structural separation of Telecom.
6. Question: Has he ever suggested or recommended structural separation to any Telecom representatives; if so, who were the discussions with and when did they occur?
Answer Text: No.
7. Question: Is he in favour of the structural separation of Telecom?
Answer Text: I am neither for or against structural separation of Telecom. Structural separation is a matter that is entirely up to Telecom.