Steven Joyce was reported in this morning’s DomPost as saying he “overlooked” a letter sent to him by Telecom chief Paul Reynolds when telling me that he had not got any correspondence on Telecom’s structural separation.
The letter from Reynolds was sent to Joyce on 6 August 2009. In October 2009 I requested an answer from Joyce on whether he had received or been sent any correspondence on structural separation. His answer was NO.
Joyce then spent a year and a half trying to suppress the release of this letter amongst other things to the DomPost.
The DomPost first discovered there was a letter in around November 2009. Joyce went to great lengths to suppress it. It was referred to the Ombudsman and it’s my understanding that there were dozens of contacts between the Ombudsman’s office, the DomPost and Joyce’s office that went on until the Minister decided to release the letter early this week.
It’s also my understanding that Telecom knew the letter’s significance at the time. I would imagine that Joyce knew the letter’s significance too. He got his officials (allegedly) to contact Reynolds after he received the letter and inform him that he was “incorrect”.
It therefore doesn’t stack up that he “overlooked” this letter when I subsequently wrote to him.
Since the letter has emerged, Joyce has done two things. He’s told the DomPost that Paul Reynolds was “incorrect” in his claim that he understood officials had suggested the Government had a preference for Telecom to voluntarily offer to structurally separate, and called for a meeting to discuss the matter.
And then he’s said he “overlooked” the existence of the letter when I asked him whether he’d received any correspondence on this important issue.
This is despite fighting to keep it secret for a year and a half.
It doesn’t stack up.
I’d like to know what other material has been with-held on discussions between Steven Joyce, John Key and Telecom over structural separation in the last two years and when those meetings were held.
I, and others, have questioned whether the government had a pre-determined position on Telecom undertaking the ultrafast broadband scheme and that structural separation was the price. This was before the contracting process had even begun.
There are other parties to the contracting process who can rightfully be aggrieved should it be revealed this is the case.