'Drop the rate mate' campaign targets MTRs

Website launched to counter Vodafone and Telecom lobbying

Eight organisations are backing a web-based campaign urging the government to take action over mobile termination rates (MTRs).

The Drop the rate mate campaign was the brainchild of TUANZ CEO Ernie Newman, 2 Degrees' Tex Edwards and the Consumer Association's Sue Chetwin, according to Matthew Hooton, of public affairs consultancy Exceltium, which helped put the campaign together.

It was inspired by a similar campaign in the UK, Hooton says.

The campaign is designed to support the government, which is set to receive final recommendations from the Commerce Commission on MTRs by the end of the year, Hooton says.

"Steven Joyce will be the focus of fierce lobbying by Vodafone and Telecom. This is to assure him he is backed by the New Zealand people," Hooton says.

The campaign kicks off with a launch with a media conference in Wellington at 2pm today.

"The media conference is to launch a campaign in favour of the Commerce Commission's draft recommendation on mobile termination rates which Telecom and Vodafone use to prevent genuine competition in the New Zealand telecommunications market," the media invitation says.

The eight backers of the the campaign are Airnet, Consumer, Federated Farmers, the Federation of Maori Authorities, the New Zealand Union of Students Associations, TUANZ, 2 Degrees and the Unite union.

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