Maori ICT cash 'not slush fund' - minister

Government has brushed off a claim by Maori for a share of the 4G spectrum

Communications Minister Amy Adams has denied a $30 million ''ICT development fund'' offered to Maori in place of a slice of New Zealand's ''digital dividend'' spectrum is a slush fund.

The Government yesterday brushed off a claim by Maori for a share of the spectrum, which is suitable for 4G mobile networks and is due to be auctioned by October after almost a year of delays.

Adams said the fund would be ''recognition that the Government has a role to protect Maori language and culture as treaty partners''.

The fund would also help the Government achieve its existing policy objectives of helping ''lift Maori participation and achievement''.

''I can see opportunities for initiatives improving digital literacy, potential scholarships to improve Maori ICT training, perhaps connectivity for marae, the development of 'apps' that supported Maori language content, innovation incubators...''.

She and Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples would make recommendations on who should hold the purse strings.

Adams said she expected Maori claimants to the spectrum would be disappointed.

They met yesterday night and were expected to say soon whether they intended to revive a Waitangi Tribunal claim for the spectrum which would have the potential to further delay the spectrum sale.

''My understanding was always that they felt spectrum was a 'taonga' and there was a treaty right to the spectrum,'' Adams said.

''But I think we have been clear with them that is not a view we share.

Telecom chief executive Simon Moutter said in Wellington last week that the low-frequency spectrum would be essential for building 4G mobile networks outside of densely-populated urban centres.

Former Broadcasting Minister Jonathan Coleman said in 2011 that making the digital dividend spectrum available for 4G networks would generate economic benefits worth between $1.1 billion and $2.4b over 20 years.

4 Comments

Rural Connect

1

We need to be clear: the 700MHz band is not "essential for building 4G mobile networks outside of densely-populated areas."

That band is certainly desirable from the network builders' perspective. But that is for economic reasons. Telecom and Vodafone could, today, start to roll out 4G services in rural areas using their existing under-utilised spectrum allocations. But that would cost them a lot more capital - the 700MHz band requires fewer wireless access points for the same coverage as higher bands which means fewer towers, transmitters, antenna and backhaul connections.

There is (or was?) a more imaginative way forward to ensure that rural people and businesses get something approaching the ultra fast broadband that urban people are coming to take for granted.

That is to put the 700MHz band in to a Managed Spectrum Park, available to anyone with the nous and a market. That would enable competition at the service level rather than the infrastructure level. It would also ensure that spectrum is not hogged for anti-competition reasons and that rural fixed broadband users will get a quality of service unaffected by demand from a burgeoning number of mobile users.

But well done to Amy Adams for resisting the Maori spectrum claim. The shame is that Maori will get more dollars ($30M!!!) and rural will likely get no improvement on a CIR of 45Kbps, 100ms+ latency and low data caps with excessive overage charges.

Elderlybloke

2

Anonymous at 10:43:31

The maoris have more advantages,help,special gifts ,grants,special training/education centres,bursaries,assistance etc.etc.

I live in the real world and am aware that even the $200,000,000 handout given the local maoris got spent on such things as the big Petrol guzzling,4 wheel drive , cross county tank busting vehicles.

Illiteracy carried on unabated.

Anonymous

3

The $30 million is still a bribe, no matter how it is presented.
Many NZ politicians are corrupt.

Anon

4

Maori are only lacking skills in these areas because majority of them grow up rough, parents on the drink/drugs and are unmotivated themselves, all they want is 9-5 work and get theri pay packet.....

You can see it for yourself, just locate a well off maori and 9/10 you will find their parents instilled good values into them growing up and themselves have grown up with similar parents.

White people have the same issue, if you locate any white person on the drugs/booze and into crime you will find parents who didn't love them or bring them up right.

While every race has this issue, it's more noticable in maori culture because most seem to have this "It's a tough life" mentality without actually going out and getting things for themselves.

Which is why we have so many issues with dole bludgers and people crying about not getting help from govt....

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