The process of awarding the ultrafast broadband contract to Telecom has been shrouded in secrecy and dubious process from day one.
I think there’s pretty general agreement about that. The problem has been working out what actually went on.
A letter recently came to light between Telecom CEO Paul Reynolds and Communications Minister Steven Joyce which indicated pretty strongly that the structural separation of Telecom was being discussed way back two years ago before the contract tenders had been announced.
If so, then it would appear that a plan was put in place and an outcome determined before the tenders were put to the public.
If so, that makes a complete mockery of the tender process and the other tendering parties who would be right to feel very aggrieved.
I’ve been told (by a very strong source) that around that time (2009), the Ministry of Economic Development head in charge of broadband Bruce Parkes, used emissaries to go and talk to the Telecom boss and verbally explain that if Telecom agreed to voluntarily separate, there would be “regulatory relief” (and by implication the ultrafast broadband contract would follow).
One of those emissaries has said that when speaking to Reynolds, he/she was told “you’re not the only one they’ve sent to tell us that”.
I’ve also been told, from within Telecom, that the letter written by Reynolds back to Joyce was deliberate, to put it on the record so to speak.
I have a request before the Speaker of the House Lockwood Smith referring Steven Joyce to the privileges committee for denying any letters existed on this issue. The letter I’ve referred to above clearly did exist. He has fought to keep it from the public eye since Octover 2009.
I’m waiting for the Speaker’s response.