Dunedin South Labour MP Clare Curran is urging people to get behind a plea that has gone out today for donations to help uninsured residents who lost their homes and possessions in last week’s floods.
“The worst affected suburbs are some of New Zealand’s most densely populated and disadvantaged areas. The elderly, people with disabilities and families with young children on low incomes are disproportionately affected by the extreme flood event.
Several years of warnings and pleas to free up the barriers to connecting households and businesses to ultrafast broadband has finally prompted some action from the Government, Labour’s ICT spokesperson Clare Curran says.
“The release of an MBIE discussion document on options for improving land access for telecommunications should hasten complex fibre installs and is good news for the thousands of frustrated New Zealanders who want fibre but can’t get it.
The Minister of Maori Affairs must seek immediate assurances from the Chair and CEO of Maori Television that editorial independence at Maori TV has not been compromised, says Labour’s Broadcasting spokesperson Clare Curran.
“The shock resignation of prominent and respected reporter Mihingarangi Forbes last week from Maori TV’s Native Affair’s programme has exposed further rifts within the publicly funded broadcaster.
Labour is calling for an immediate inquiry into the flailing $300 million rural broadband initiative, before companies and consumers are forced to pick up the tab for the new $150 million broadband tax, says Labour’s ICT spokesperson Clare Curran.
“Rural New Zealanders and InternetNZ have expressed strong concerns that the Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI) isn’t delivering quality internet and has connected very few households.
Public broadcasting funding has been cut by 25 per cent in real terms since the National Government took office in 2009, leading to the erosion of our once world-class news and current affairs culture, says Labour Broadcasting Spokesperson Clare Curran.
“A seven year funding squeeze for Radio NZ and NZ on Air, after accounting for inflation and population growth, means public funding of broadcasting is now at an all-time low.
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 departure of John Campbell is a blow to current affairs investigative journalism, Labour’s Broadcasting Spokesperson Clare Curran says.
“Campbell Live stood out in its field. Its axing comes as local broadcasting in New Zealand remains in a state of flux. Radio NZ has had its funding frozen since 2008, TVNZ has said it no longer considers itself a public broadcaster.
Southern DHB’s decision to outsource its food services and lay off staff was forced on it by the Government’s drive to screw down costs, Labour’s Dunedin MPs David Clark and Clare Curran say.
“The DHB has been pushed into a corner by the Government,” David Clark says. “They were damned if they didn’t accept the proposal – they would have had to stump up for a business case to keep the service in house – and damned if they did, with around 20 per cent of kitchen staff expected to lose their jobs.