Fran O’Sullivan on Telecom

Good God. If people think I am sometimes harsh on Telecom, read this column by Fran O’Sullivan.

Fran calls for Mark Prebble to expand his leak inquiry (which I can guarantee he will not do) to include the following:

1. Investigate just how the nation’s largest listed company was able to exert such a stranglehold over the Government at all levels that it took more than three years after the first recommendations emerged before the Cabinet dealt with its broadband monopoly.

a) Why did the Cabinet turn down a proposal put forward by previous communications minister Paul Swain that had been backed by the Ministry of Economic Development to crunch the broadband monopoly in 2004?

b) Was the billion-dollar leaker working for Telecom back then and was he or she part of a nexus of well-connected players paid from the telco’s alleged $30 million Government relations budget?

2. Investigate whether Telecom boss Theresa Gattung and her high-priced consultants “spread confusion” in Telecommunications Commissioner Douglas Webb’s mind that he could reverse his earlier decision to curtail Telecom’s monopolistic position in late 2003 in favour of a proposal put forward by the telco which it blatantly undershot.

3. Investigate how Telecom “duchessed” leading business organisations to the extent that Gattung could get away with claiming that the broadband issue was a manufactured grievance driven by competitors and the news media.

4. Investigate the extent of Telecom’s funding of political parties.

c) Why is United Future taking so long in giving approval for an inquiry by Parliament’s commerce committee?

5. Investigate how many former Beehive advisers are paid lobbyists or consultants to Telecom.

6. Investigate how Gattung got telecommunication regulations eliminated from a transtasman probe into competition issues affecting both countries.

7. Investigate what provisions the Government had made to ensure its market-sensitive decision to axe Telecom’s broadband monopoly was conveyed to the company in an orderly fashion to stop market disruption and insider trading.

8. Why did the Prime Minister need a visit to South Korea last year before she woke up to the fact that New Zealand’s telecommunications environment was “country cousin status” and do something about it?

Read the full column. Very powerful.

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