With a month to go before the government's telecommunications inquiry reports to its political masters, IT managers around the country appear remarkably uninformed about the inquiry.
Computerworld attempts to gauge IT interest in the process found most of those contacted had no opinion on its possible outcome. “It’s just a commodity — who cares?” says one who did not wish to be named. Efforts were made to contact more than a dozen IT managers but none was willing to discuss the issue. “I’m a little ashamed to admit it but I don’t even know what you’re talking about,” says the IT manager at one of New Zealand’s largest companies. Visiting Australian telecommunications analyst Paul Budde expressed concern recently at the seeming lack of participation on the part of large end-user organisations. “I would have expected to see them attending if not submitting as well.” The minister for telecommunications, Paul Swain, has a policy of not commenting on the inquiry while it doing its work, but a spokesperson for the minister expressed surprise that corporate users would not be following the inquiry closely. However, Telecommunications Users Association chief executive Ernie Newman says end-users are interested and are well represented at the inquiry. “We’ve been right at the forefront of this and in fact we’ve been fundamental in getting the inquiry established and we’ve put an enormous amount of effort into the consultation process and the presentation of members’ views.” Newman says individual companies are less likely to comment directly to the inquiry as they don’t want to “put their heads up over that particular bulkhead”. “Back in March, before the terms of reference came out, we ran member meetings in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch and got well over 200 people at them and got a consensus back.” TUANZ has made submissions to the inquiry and Newman attended the week-long hearings in Wellington. The inquiry is due to report to government by the end of September.