Red Alert

Does Steven Joyce know the answers?

Posted by on August 4th, 2010

Note: My question is at 1 min 10 secs

Steven Joyce today ducked a question in parliament on why his government’s decision to regulate mobile termination rates contradicts its plans to provide its new fibre network with a ten year regulatory holiday on the pricing of fibre.

Was it because he didn’t know what to say or because he just didn’t want to raise attention to the contradiction. It’s the first time I’ve seen him actually stumped.

The question put to Mr Joyce in the House today was:

Given his logical decision to regulate on MTR, what is the basis of his illogical decision to give a regulatory free pass to the coming new fibre networks

In ruling out the question Speaker Lockwood Smith also refused to allow the following question:

Given the Government’s conflicting role as an investor and regulator of the new network, how will New Zealanders who take up fibre know that you are putting their interests first?

I think New Zealanders, who want ultrafast broadband and want a new network which delivers benefits for them using $1.5 billion in taxpayer’s money, would like to know the answers to both those questions.

Labour is glad the Minister decided today to regulate on mobile termination rates. But we’re not glad that the government could now derail the goal of affordable and accessible broadband services for New Zealanders with news that Local Fibre Companies, the private public partnerships set up to manage the $1.5 billion broadband project, will enjoy a 10 year regulatory holiday locking out the Commerce Commission from reviewing prices for fibre available to New Zealand consumers.

Instead, fibre prices will be set by commercial contract to be negotiated with Crown Fibre Holdings (CFH), the entity set up to evaluate the bids to run the network, and proofed against review by the regulator for ten years – a situation that applies to no other network industry in New Zealand.

There is a real of a lack of transparency, confused governance and increasing uncertainty about how the decision is being made to spend $1.5 billion of taxpayer money. All the players are saying this. Industry commentators are saying it.

That’s why Labour has called for the Commerce Commission to have an independent oversight role.


10 Responses to “Does Steven Joyce know the answers?”

  1. Spud says:

    Heeeeellll no! :evil:

  2. Angry Trev says:

    Not very helpful. Clare

  3. Raymon A Francis says:

    You are doing good work in this area Claire, keep niggling away at them
    This is how Opposition parties should work

  4. Spud says:

    ROTFL :-D Angry Trev :-D
    Aw :-) Raymon :-D

  5. Sean says:

    Sorry Clare, I know it is not on topic, but I don’t know where to ask this. And as you are on the subject of Steven Joyce already, something on Radio NZ news yesterday caught my attention, and to quote from David Parker’s press release on the subject (the first source I found online on the matter)

    Yesterday Steven Joyce was fielding questions for Gerry Brownlee. And David Parker asked for more information about an answer Gerry brownlee gave last week regarding targets or milestones toward closing the income gap between New Zealand and Australia* by 2025. Economic Development Minister Gerry Brownlee said yes, there are targets and milestones.

    Yesterday Acting Minister Steven Joyce refused to give those milestones when asked for them, and said that Gerry Brownlee answer the week before was simply ‘a brush off’.

    So my question is – Does this mean that Steven Joyce has told the house that Gerry Brownlee mislead the house on the 27 July? If so, what is the Parliamentary proceedure about that?

    *A key National party election policy.

  6. Fred Simth says:

    It isn’t exactly dodging the question – your question was a fair way off the primary question, and was ruled out of order in a nice manner by the Speaker. I know you are fairly new at it and that you’ll get better at asking questions, but in this case you can’t really have a go at him for responding the way he did to your question.

  7. When was the regulation holiday announced..?

    Is it just a holiday from price regulation or safety or what..?

  8. John Spavin says:

    I feel faintly annoyed by your niggles after being reminded by TUANZ’s Ernie Newman that the Labour govt ignored the problem for 7 years, costing us collectively hundreds, if not billions of dollars. You say Labour is glad that the current govt has acted. Really? Labour inaction allowed Telecom and Vodafone to repatriate those hundreds of millions. And you campaign to subsidise Hillside to build rail stock and force govt depts to buy locally. The answer to adding that much value and more to NZ was available to you for 7 years. Too obvious?

  9. Tracey says:

    It’s kind of funny that Labour is chastised for not interfering in Telecom’s business and National is being applauded for it. Now we just need the white rabbit to scoot past

  10. Trevor Mallard says:

    John Spavin @ 11.13am As you know I was the Minister who decided not to take the Commerce Commission advice on this issue. I spent about 200 hours looking at the evidence and going though the undertakings and cross examining officials.

    It was complicated. There was a real choice. I took a decision that I believe was in the best interest of the country at the time. There is no counterfactual available. I am certainly not at the point of believing I made the wrong decision.

    I know that Clare supports Joyce’s decision. She is more closely involved now than I am. And clearly I haven’t spent weeks looking at commercially sensitive information. So I’m not expressing a view.