National has unveiled yet another new tax in this budget – a rural broadband levy that will almost certainly result in an immediate price hike for internet and telephone connections across New Zealand, Labour’s ICT spokesperson Clare Curran said
“The Telecommunications Development Levy Amendment Bill that is being rushed through under urgency today will force the telco industry to hike broadband prices.
“The Bill increases a levy on the big players in the telecommunications industry of $50 million a year and breaks their election promise of no new taxes.
“Not only is this a new Broadband Tax, it is wasteful and negligent spending on a rural broadband scheme that is not working.
“There has been no consultation with the industry and no chance to scrutinise the outcomes of the existing rural broadband scheme. Consumers will be taxed more to pay for a policy failure.
“Previously unpublished market research in rural New Zealand shows 68 per cent of businesses and households are angry and frustrated with their internet connections.
“That’s no surprise given that after five years the government funded rural broadband scheme has never been evaluated and no figures of households connected had ever been published,” says Clare Curran.