National’s blatant pork-barrelling ICT announcement today should reinforce a growing sceptical electorate’s view that they are all about the gift wrap and not the present, Labour’s ICT spokesperson Clare Curran says.
“Instead of addressing the real issues - the woeful inefficiency of Chorus in rolling out ultrafast broadband and its desperate attempts to keep copper prices high along with the low uptake of UFB by households, National has merrily announced it will broaden its scheme to parts of New Zealand where it needs more votes.
“The industry hasn’t been consulted; even Crown Fibre Holdings, the government agency charged with managing the UFB contracts, hasn’t been consulted. And to cap things off National will use asset sales coffers to fund the UFB expansion.
“National has based its ICT policy on spending the industry’s money to increase rural broadband using a failed model and extending the urban scheme to appear to be handing out free lollies using a deeply flawed recipe.
“National must provide a solid guarantee that it hasn’t promised any more backdoor hand- outs to bail out Chorus.
“National’s polling clearly indicates regional New Zealand has lost patience with the current abysmal connectivity and is scrambling to patch over the cracks.
“Instead of creating a Chief Technology Officer to develop a joined up vision for a tech-savvy nation across rural and urban New Zealand and undertaking an increasingly urgent, fast but thorough, review of UFB and the rural broadband scheme, Amy Adams has produced a mediocre and thoughtless policy.
“It makes no attempt to address the issues raised by communities, the industry and by those hoping for ICT to be at the heart of economic development. It is nothing more than a cynical gap filler.”