Luxton National's new telco spokesman

The recent game of musical chairs at the National party has seen Alec Neill lose the role of communications spokesperson to John Luxton.

The recent game of musical chairs at the National party has seen Alec Neill lose the role of communications spokesperson to John Luxton.

Neill's time as spokesperson was fairly brief, although not as brief as that of Lockwood Smith who took over from outgoing minister of communications Maurice Williamson after the last election. Smith lasted about a month in the job.

Neill kept a relatively low profile after attacking the government over its newly introduced telecommunications bill (see Nats say telcos bill too weak).

Ironically, Neill blamed 10 years of inaction from Telecom for the poor quality of New Zealand's rural phone lines.

"There has been inadequate maintenance and upgrading over the past 10 years, notwithstanding advances in technology." Neil neglected to mention his party's role in allowing the situation to develop.

Luxton has held a number of roles with National since entering parliament in 1987. He was minister of energy and housing as well as associate minister of education. He's held the Maori affairs and police portfolios as well as commerce, industry and trade, biosecurity and finally was "minister of everything", agriculture, lands, forestry, fisheries, customs and immigration and international trade.

Luxton also has a number of farming interests.

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