Commerce Commission

One of Hooton’s corporate wrecking crew busted with $250k fine

Matthew Hooton is heading up the corporate wrecking crew of self interested parties intent on destroying Chorus so they can trouser even more profits.

One of the crew is Slingshot and their parent CallPlus. And we can judge them and their honesty by the massive fine they were just stung with in the Auckland District Court.

Slingshot – the consumer division of ISP CallPlus – has been fined $250,000 after pleading guilty in the Auckland District Court today to 50 charges it faced under the Fair Trading Act in relation to the marketing of its telecommunications services.

“We have accepted the findings of the Commerce Commission and the fine that was issued today,” CallPlus CEO Mark Callander tells NBR.

“We have cooperated fully with the Commerce Commission throughout this process and we have taken this matter very seriously. Most importantly, we have apologised to the 27 customers who were impacted by the actions of the third party telemarketing company, Power Marketing. It is good to finally resolve the matter so we can focus on the opportunities ahead.”  Read more »

The truth about the Coalition for Fair Internet Pricing

WreckingCrew copy

Earlier today, I blogged about how Matthew Hooton, Paul Brislen, Vodafone and a host of vested interests have duped Kiwi households out of hundreds of millions of dollars.

Essentially, the Labour-leaning Coalition for Fair Internet Pricing conned media into thinking their campaign was about going into bat for Kiwi households. But it is actually about lining the pockets of greedy telcos like Vodafone, Orcon, Slingshot and their mates.

I want to refer people to the Coalition’s original press release when it launched its campaign.

Now that media have finally wised up to what I have been saying, I have made some changes to the Coalition’s press release to more accurately reflect its true position.

Broad Coalition Says Yes To $600 Million Windfall for Telcos

A coalition of Kiwi companies, industry associations and consumer advocate groups has today announced proposals to introduce what economists Covec say is a new windfall of at least $600 million for telcos such as Vodafone, Orcon, Slingshot and Telecom.

In a discussion document issued last month, Communications & IT Minister Amy Adams proposed to provide certainty for both the industry and Kiwi households by overruling a crazy determination by the Commerce Commission that would see Chorus stripped off hundreds of millions of dollars it planned it use for the rollout of ultra-fast broadband.   Read more »

How Matthew Hooton duped Kiwi households out of hundreds of millions of dollars

The penny has finally dropped for the media – they have been duped by corporate whore and business wrecker Matthew Hooton.

But this is actually deadly serious.

Hooton’s lies have shaved more than $500 million off the value of Chorus, left thousands of shareholders crapping themselves, given New Zealand a poor reputation internationally as a place to invest, and ripped off Kiwi households.

Hooton and his band of weirdos and nut jobs have conned media into believing that households were going to have a “copper tax” imposed on them. Th entire premise of the campaign was based on a lie.

They did this by claiming that if the government legislated over the Commerce Commission’s crazy $10 a month reduction in the copper price, Chorus would be getting about $400 million that should instead be going to Kiwi households instead.

As part of their campaign, Hooton’s mob promised that every Kiwi household would pay $150 less a year for their broadband.

But now that the government has decided to let the commission’s price stand, the actual truth has emerged. From day one Hooton’s campaign has been about lining the pockets of Vodafone and the other corporate bludgers who were part of the campaign.

That’s right. Their campaign that was based on going into bat for Kiwi households, will actually see Vodafone, as the largest player in this Game of Moans, reap hundreds of millions of dollars in extra revenue.

Kiwi households have been ripped off. Their broadband bill won’t drop by $150 a year – in fact it won’t drop at all.

By refusing to confirm that they will pass on the Commerce Commission’s price cut, Vodafone and the other retailer service providers are basically admitting that they will keep all the money for themselves.

That’s the Vodafone that recently announced it had billions of dollars in profit

Regular readers will know there’s one thing I hate more than hypocrites, and that’s liars. Yes, Vodafone, I’m looking at you.

In September, when Hooton launched his campaign against the Government (revealed on this blog days before it was officially announced), Vodafone went to extreme lengths to say it had nothing to do with the campaign.

Tom Chignell, one of Vodafone’s senior executives, even took to this blog to make their position clear:

“Just to be clear Vodafone is not involved in such a campaign.”

But I always knew it was bullshit.

“While Vodafone has pulled out of the campaign, at least in a public sense, I’m told they are still pulling the campaign levers behind the scenes.”

And now finally, the media have actually started asking Vodafone some questions.

Adam Bennett at the NZ Herald got Vodafone to admit that they were actually the main player behind the campaign.

Vodafone on the Coalition for Fair Internet Pricing:

September 13: “We decided a few days ago that (the coalition) probably wasn’t the best thing for Vodafone at this stage.”
Yesterday: Did you give financial support to the coalition?: “Yes we did … I think we’ve been reasonably open about that.”

This is outrageous. Vodafone has lied about its involvement in the campaign. Vodafone has led a campaign to make sure Chorus loses hundreds of millions of dollars and that money goes into the pockets of Vodafone and other corporate bludger retail service providers.

There are some serious questions that need to be asked of Vodafone and everyone involved in the Coalition for Fair Internet Pricing.

Consumer NZ, InternetNZ, the Telecommunication Users Association of New Zealand (TUANZ), CallPlus, Slingshot, the Federation of Maori Authorities, Greypower, Hautaki Trust, KiwiBlog, KLR Holdings, National Urban Maori Authorities, New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations, Orcon, Rural Women, Te Huarahi Tika Trust and the Unite Union.

Perhaps our favourite travel blogger David Farrar, who is also deeply embedded in this dishonest the campaign, can give us some answers.

The entire country has been misled so that’s the least we deserve, David.

Perhaps Paul Brislen, if he could just pause from chatting with Labour MPs and other left-wingers on Twitter for just a moment, might like to explain the political lobbying his supposedly neutral organisation is doing.

I have more to reveal. Watch this space.

Clare Curran scores! Bless her…

…oh, wait.

It’s an own goal.

Again

Yesterday, Clare Curran posted a blog spouting crap about the Chorus copper price issue.

She claims that every man and his dog knew the price Chorus could charge for use of its copper network would be slashed substantially by the Commerce Commission.

But as the NBR points out (paywall), Curran is now trying to reinvent history. Despite her now claiming she always knew the copper price would drop, back in 2011 she actually said the copper price would increase.

“The people of New Zealand who are receiving broadband services will find their existing copper services go up in price while they are waiting for fibre.”

But it gets better.   Read more »

Final copper price decision today, bet you Hooton’s rent a mob are outraged

According to my Wellington mates, later today the Commerce Commission will be announcing its final wholesale copper broadband price decision.  Predictably, Vodafone and Hooton’s ‘axe the copper tax’ coalition of CallPlus, Slingshot and Orcon will no doubt demand the government not intervene so consumers get the lowest possible internet prices.

What Hooton is hoping no one remembers is that we’re talking about wholesale copper prices – the charges internet retailers pay Chorus.  Not the price consumers pay.

Most of the internet retailers who access Chorus’ copper network have not confirmed they would pass any reduced costs on to consumers.  As usual Orcon is using weasel words

“This being said, some internet retailers such as Orcon have committed to pass on at least some of the commission’s draft price drop to customers if it is finalised.”    Read more »

Shameless political opportunism

So once again – Labour rides over the top of an independent entity in an attempt to score cheap political points.

I don’t know the rights and wrongs of the Sky TV case, but the fact Labour appear so willing to criticise, intervene and comment on the actions/rulings of independent bodies should serve as a warning to anyone expecting due process and protection of their legal rights under any far left Government.

Sky TV has got off extremely lightly after the Commerce Commission found its previous contracts may have breached the Commerce Act, said Labour Broadcasting spokesperson Kris Faafoi and associate ICT spokesperson Clare Curran.

“Sky TV is a monopoly broadcaster so it is extremely concerning that the Commerce Commission has found it may have entered into contracts that reduced competition,” said Kris Faafoi.  Read more »

Media finally catch on to Hooton’s tricks

Matthew Hooton will be crying into his cornflakes this morning, which will take the edge off the hangover somewhat. The media are finally starting to see through his highly misleading campaign.

In an editorial in The Press yesterday, the paper gets to the heart of the issue – the campaign is just designed to line the pockets of groups like Vodafone, Slingshot, Orcon and CallPlus.

A well-organised campaign is being orchestrated on the matter, it is true, suggesting a Government proposal would amount to an extra “tax” on broadband users of some $600 million over the next five years.

This glides over the fact that the shareholders of Vodafone, one of the largest international telecommunications companies in the world, and hundreds of times bigger than Chorus, stand to benefit if the other side of the argument prevails.

Labour’s prime objection is to the Government’s intervention into something it believes should have been left to the Commerce Commission. There would normally be some validity to that argument. Since Chorus’s monopoly of the copper network is deemed to make it unsafe to leave pricing to the free market, the next best option is an independent regulator.  Read more »

Churnalists relieved that Cunliffe in charge now

John Armstrong reveals that churnalists are mightily relieved now that David Cunliffe is in charge…they can actually understand what it is he has to say.

What was noticeable – in marked contrast to Shearer’s efforts – was the consummate ease with which Cunliffe dealt with all the questions. These ranged from whether Labour would commit itself to further America’s Cup funding by the taxpayer; the state of negotiations of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal; the age of entitlement to the state pension; the future of the Maori seats in Parliament; and the row over the Commerce Commission ruling on broadband charges.

Cunliffe answered every question in a crisp, straightforward manner. When he did not have a ready answer, he said so. When he did have a point to make it was made quickly, confidently and firmly.

This is a huge asset .   Read more »

Paul Brislen – you have some questions to answer

There’s nothing more satisfying than uncovering a two-faced fibber.

Ladies and gentlemen, please let me introduce Paul Brislen.

For the past week, he has been media whoring all over the country, telling anyone who will listen that the government shouldn’t be bailing out Chorus.

Never mind that he is misleading the country, and in actual fact, the government is proposing to slash Chorus’ profits by between $20 million and $100 million.

But if he wants to make shit up, that’s up to him. But what I don’t like is people being hypocritical.

I have been doing some digging about Mr Brislen and found a couple of stories from last year where he went crying to the media that his organisation was about to go under.

The Telecommunications Users Association of New Zealand may fold within a month, unless more of its members renew their annual subscription fees.

CEO Paul Brislen says the organisation that has represented telco end-users for 26 years is at a “make or break” position. Unless it receives $400,000 in membership fees, it may not survive the year.

“Any less than that ($400,000) then we really can’t do much. Predominantly that’s paying for me, travel, and for support services. The travel is really just from here (Auckland) to Wellington and back.  Read more »

Labour looks to nationalise supermarkets

When they brought out their power policy I said at the time they would apply it to supermarkets…now it looks like they will.

Remember these comments from Grant Robertson?

Labour Party deputy leader Grant Robertson has moved to try and reassure financial markets that its sudden lurch to favour central planning in the electricity industry is one-off.

In a statement attacking Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce, Mr Robertson says: “Labour makes no apology for stepping in to fix problems in the electricity sector. But this is not a signal that Labour is going to intervene elsewhere in the economy.

“As we said on the day we launched NZ Power, we have no plans to intervene in any other markets.”

Except of course when trying to out-bid each other for the hard left control of the labour party…then you promise the earth, and the nationalisation of supermarkets.

Labour’s leadership hopefuls have united on a promise to scrutinise the dominance of New Zealand’s two major supermarket chains to see whether Kiwis are getting a fair deal.

Jones had earlier announced he would implement a review of the supermarket industry and reiterated those comments today.

The dominance of Progressive Enterprises and Foodstuffs was bad for Kiwi suppliers and customers, he said.

He would institute a review and be guided by its recommendations.

“But I am thoroughly unimpressed both with the attitude and the behaviour of supermarkets and I can’t wait … to get a couple of professional people onto that task, in fact I have two in mind already.”  Read more »