Ralston on broadband

Bill Ralston writes in the HOS:

Communications Minister David Cunliffe had an instant knee-jerk lame response to Key, claiming the plan lacked detail and credibility and “smacks of opportunism”. As most politicians are opportunists (and Cunliffe is certainly no exception) his cries that the scheme would reinforce Telecom’s monopoly position lacked credibility.

I am one of those who regard Cunliffe as generally having done a very good job in the portfolio. But his response to the plan has almost universally been seen as unwise, and making it harder for Labour to come out with its own response.

Quite how he arrived at the conclusion Telecom would be the big beneficiary of the plan is beyond me as Key had said in the speech that one of the principles guiding his government’s investment would be that there would be open access to the fibre network and none of the current players would be able to line their pockets at the public’s expense.

Indeed, they were critical principles.

New Zealand First blindly followed the anti-Telecom line and Act retreated into some doctrinal babble about how governments should not spend money.

Peter Dunne justifiably spat the dummy at the critics’ “Think Small” approach, saying “Surely the point is that widespread, superfast broadband is a good thing for the New Zealand economy and the only question is how do we get there?”

He went on to wish, without much hope: “It’d be excellent if politicians spent more time working out the answer to that question and not simply whacking each other over the head and feeling they’ve accomplished something”. Fat chance.

It is election year. One party could announce it had found a cure for cancer and the rest of the parties would argue against it.

Oh yes, John Key would then be accused of ignoring AIDS 🙂

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