TelstraClear CEO Allan Freeth claims that holding select committee hearings within days of receiving the initial submissions to the Telecommunications Ammendment Bill “shows a stunning lack of respect for New Zealand’s democratic process”.
In a fiercely worded press release entitled 'Mad Hatters’ tea party a democratic farce', Freeth takes aim at the government’s decision to press ahead with a finance and select committee hearing this week, where those presenting oral presentations may get as little 10 minutes each to present their case.
“The Government appears hell bent on ramming this crucially important piece of legislation through parliament with a speed and force that makes a mockery of our so-called democracy,” he says. “At a time when infrastructure providers are committed to supporting the people of Christchurch and the New Zealand economy, this kind of behaviour is both unacceptable and discourteous." Freeth says he spent the weekend urging the government to reconsider the timing of the select committee and the ten minutes alloted to each speaker. “"We take our industry, this Bill and the Parliamentary process seriously. Clearly, this Government doesn't. It's taken the industry 20 years to catch up with the rest of the world. With just 10 minutes before the Select Committee, 20 years of progress could be destroyed." Last month Freeth accused the government of running a "Mad Hatters Tea Party" after it gave interested parties only seven days to comment on the Telecommunications (TSO, Broadband and Other Matters) bill which he says “outlines seismic changes to the telecommunications industry.” “At that time we were half joking. Nobody is laughing now. It’s blatantly obvious to all that the Government has no interest whatsoever in the concerns or opinions of consumers, investors or any other interested parties,” Freeth says. See also, UFB changes risk undoing competition - InternetNZ and Is it time to press pause on UFB and RBI?