Curran in collusion with DomPost?

Dominion Post reporter and future Labour Party press secretary Tom Pullar-Strecker isn?t very good at hiding his dislike of the Government.

Yesterday he gave his future boss Clare Curran a free run in a story that appears to be based on a combination of hearsay and an interview with his keyboard.?

The gist of his story was that he and Curran have decided the Government should have already auctioned the 4G spectrum freed up by the switchover to digital television.

He then goes in to some bizarre angle based on a ?suspicion? by Labour there has been some kind of massive conspiracy that isn?t backed up anywhere with facts.

Pullar-Strecker than contradicts himself by writing:

?It was never envisaged the spectrum would become available to new users before the end of this year.?

And ICT Minister Amy Adams has repeatedly said the spectrum would be auctioned by September, which will give plenty of time for business and network planning.?

The story is such a cock-up that I actually think Curran has written it for him.

He then goes on to use a quote from Vodafone boss Russel Stanners out of context.

?Vodafone chief executive Russell Stanners warned last year that if the auction was not held by now, the launch of new 4G services in rural New Zealand could be delayed.?

That quote from Russel Stanners was made half way through last year, but Pullar-Strecker presented it as a fresh quote yesterday.

Since Stanners made that statement, not only has Vodafone launched 4G in Auckland, it has also launched a 4G in Lake Brunner on West Coast ? about as rural as you could possibly get.

And Telecom has announced it will launch?4G?in Auckland by October and extend?4G?to Wellington and Christchurch by Christmas.

So before the auction has been run, telcos are already rolling out 4G services to rural communities, and actually , across a fair chunk of the country.

I?m not sure whether Pullar-Strcker is just lazy or is deliberately trying to mislead in order to push for a job with Clare Curran.

If you?re wondering why Pullar-Strecker didn?t bother to ask Stanners or the Government for its response to Curran?s ?claims?, well it?s pretty obvious – that would just wreck his story and upset his future boss.

Pullar-Strecker than goes on to suggest he is spectrum expert and offers the Government some advice about the price it should sell the spectrum.

?The international “going rate” for digital dividend radio spectrum appears to be declining as the final decision on the auction rules drags on.

?Early 4G auctions around the world, and Australia’s A$2.9b asking-price for its digital dividend, suggested New Zealand’s 700MHz spectrum could have fetched upwards of $500 million.

?But the latest major digital dividend auction, in Britain in February, yielded a disappointing price of ?2.3 (NZ$4.2b) that suggested a value here of closer to $200m.?

I?m told that the government is in a lose-lose situation with the spectrum price. If it makes the price too expensive, there is a risk the telcos will be in so much debt that they won?t be able to afford the infrastructure needed to roll out 4G services. However, if it sells it too low, it will be criticised for bending over to the telcos.

What?s the bet that whatever the auction price is, there will be a story from Pullar-Strecker full of quotes from Curran criticising the Government.