The continuation of a series of guest posts.
Yesterday Whaleoil kindly the first post in a series on the Mad Dogs of the Commerce Commission attacking Chorus through proposals to force down their copper wire pricing for broadband.
Today, I’m focusing on how the Commerce Commission is working against the interests of the National Government.
One of the main policy planks of National in 2008 and 2011 was the big step-change in ultrafast broadband through fibre-optic cable rollouts.
National proposed a hefty $1.5 billion taxpayer contribution to help accelerate the rollout. It was, and is a bold plan to make New Zealand a more advanced, productive and connected nation. The use of fibre to improve peoples lives through better connectivity would be profound.
That’s why the Commerce Commission’s proposal is crazy.
It is forcing Chorus to massively lower copper wire based broadband, when Government policy is to encourage people to uptake on fibre!
Now, I don’t know about you, but when $1.5billion of taxpayer money is being used to encourage people to use a better form of infrastructure, I don’t like it when another part of government is working to discourage the policy.
This absurd contradiction of official government policy by the regulatory arm of the state highlights a real challenge for the National Government?
Do they make the policy, and have the bureaucracy implement it for the good of the nation?
Or do they merely announce policy, and have the bureaucracy implement contrary actions?
Will the government go into the 2014 elections showing a piss-poor uptake of fibre, and then explain that taxpayers money got wasted because they failed to eliminate the contradictory proposals of their mad dog regulatory arm?
Or will they haul back the draft proposal and give a new set of guidelines to the Commerce Commission to prevent them from this kind of unexpected attack on businesses that NEED certainty in the regulatory environment.
The irony is, Australia has a more regulated environment. But the certainty around the regulatory environment is far greater than in New Zealand. Australian businesses don’t get nasty surprises from mad dogs like they do here in New Zealand.