Media Release : TUANZ welcomes Telecommunications review options paper but says it fails on several important user issues

12th July 2016

The telecommunications review options paper released today by Communications Minister Amy Adams provided some welcome detail, but failed to address a number of issues important to end users, says TUANZ CEO Craig Young.

“We are pleased to see the Minister’s commitment on issues like regulating access to assets and strengthening the powers of Commissioners. However, the tinkering with consumer disputes and advocacy process is a missed opportunity,”, says Mr Young.

“TUANZ has been arguing strongly for significantly stronger consumer disputes processes under the current mandatory code regime. However, the options released today leave this important function with the TCF. There may be no choice but to push for the alternative option of an independent dispute and complaint model to ensure that management of disputes is user-friendly, and focused on their rights.

“It is also disappointing that calls for a properly funded consumer advocacy group, and end-user focused research, have been ignored. The successful Australian model proves that contestable funds are an effective way of providing these important services, and that leaving it up to the support from corporate entities is unrealistic.”

There are positive aspects for users in the options paper. Better aligning the telecommunications industry with section four of the Commerce Act appears useful, as this is a well- understood mechanism in New Zealand. TUANZ is also broadly supportive of the principle of the building- blocks model of asset pricing, but is aware that significant work and discussion needs to take place on what elements are included, and how they will be applied in order to properly understand the asset base of the regulated entity.

It is also good to see ongoing concerns about shared services in the mobile sector being addressed, with effective proposals to streamline regulation processes. TUANZ’s call for an independent review of the regulation around mobile providers by the Commerce Commission is acknowledged as an option under the Commission’s powers.

“TUANZ will be consulting widely with its members on the options set out, in order to ensure that the final reforms reflect users’ perspectives on what is needed from the future of New Zealand’s telecommunications,”, said Mr Young.