Full steam ahead for telco bill - Swain

Paul Swain says government won't be giving away any of the hard-won amendments to the Telecommunications Bill when it goes to parliament for its next reading.

Paul Swain says government won't be giving away any of the hard-won amendments to the Telecommunications Bill when it goes to parliament for its next reading.

"The things the entire [select] committee agreed on will be included in the bill. The things only the government representatives voted for will be included in a supplementary order paper [SOP] and we have the numbers to get those through as well."

Swain says the government has been "in talks" with another party not involved in the select committee stage about support for two of the more important changes introduced to the bill.

"Mandatory roaming and including price-capped services have the support of this party so that should make things easier."

Swain says the current Air New Zealand crisis is creating a huge diversion in parliament at the moment as officials and politicians alike are focusing on that rather than anything else.

"I hope to see the bill passed and the commissioner appointed by Christmas at the latest." Swain understands the committee looking at the applications for commissioner is ready to make its recommendations in the next week or so.

The Air New Zealand crisis is also to blame for the lack of an announcement on broadband initiatives which Swain promised for September.

"I'm hoping to make that announcement in the next couple of weeks. It's frustrating but can't be helped."

Swain is very happy with the results of the select committee process and says the National party is in broad agreement with the government on the need for some form of regime like this.

"The bill has been made more robust and the wholesaling regime will be more robust because of the work put in by the committee."

Swain is happy to see the issues of mandatory roaming and co-location of services in the bill as they were originally part of the inquiry's report.

"Vodafone made a submission that said not only would they not oppose some sort of roaming arrangement they would welcome an opportunity to be involved in that way with some third party and so I felt it would speed things up to make it part of the bill directly."

He says the move has paid off almost immediately with the decision by Econet Wireless to set up shop in New Zealand.

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Tags Telecommunications Bill

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