Telecommunications Commissioner

Commerce Commission: Watchdog or Mad Dog, Ctd

The third installment in the series about the Commerce Commission:

So then, who are some of the Mad Dogs at the Commerce Commission I’ve been writing about over the last few days?

Extra focus needs to be put on Dr Ross Patterson.

Patterson was appointed by the former Clark-led Labour Government as the Telecommunications Commissioner at the Commerce Commission.

However, there is a feeling within the Wellington beltway that Patterson has done his dash.

Curiously, there have been a series of advertisements in some newspapers for Dr Patterson’s job as Telecommunications Commissioner, which appears to be a bad omen for the incumbent since the ads don’t mention the incumbent wants the role again.

Patterson has been in the job for five years now, with some scrutiny over his abilities involving his standing down for ten months in 2008 due to alcohol related health issues. It is surprising that Patterson did not leave the role completely, but it may be that he had some strong support in high places from the former Labour Government.

Cactus Kate rightly pointed out in 2009 the following:

“It’s not a matter of whether Dr Patterson is now fit to go back to work, but that the world and government’s have moved on since he departed. The new administration seems to not want him. Ta ta. Dr Patterson is fit to work again but he’s not fit to work in this job if he is unwanted. Go find another.”

Now, Dr Patterson is a highly intelligent man, and as it is stated in the article, a professional.

But the government’s fibre policy is too important to be put at risk by someone who has other distractions, demons even.

The government is delivering a fresh start for New Zealand’s IT infrastructure. It should likewise ensure a fresh start at the Commerce Commission for it’s next Telecommunications Commissioner, and send a message to the other commissioners that while they are there to uphold competition, they are not there to be activist or interventionist against key Government initiatives or take decisions that massively ruin national wealth.