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.



Media Release: Continued Investment required to connect rural New Zealand to its future

11th May 2016

TUANZ is calling on the telecommunications industry and government to continue to increase investment in rural connectivity.

Following the 2016 Rural Connectivity Symposium, TUANZ CEO Craig Young said that government needs to be continually ambitious about their rural connectivity targets, and to collaborate with industry to address rural connectivity issues, especially mobile data coverage.

“Rural businesses and communities have the same connectivity wants and needs as their urban cousins, yet many rural areas lag behind because of poor connectivity. We need government and industry to step up and provide these communities with faster broadband much earlier than the 2025 goal set out by government”, said Young.

The symposium heard that improving connectivity in rural sectors is directly linked to the government’s goal of doubling the value of New Zealand’s exports by 2025. However, without improved connectivity, the primary industry will struggle to keep pace with its global competitors.

Improving rural connectivity is also essential for providing equity of healthcare across the country, as well as improving the liveability of rural communities.

“We want affordable and reliable mobile and internet coverage to be available across all of New Zealand. We all rely on the Internet for business, for health, and to stay connected to family and friends – if anything, this reliance is even higher in rural areas, and we need to aim higher in order to meet these needs”, said Young.

TUANZ has released a brief report on the proceedings from the recent Symposium.



Media Release: TUANZ cautiously welcomes Government's direction on the future of communications regulation

14th April 2016

TUANZ cautiously welcomes the Government’s announcements today on some key decisions for the future of telecommunications regulation in New Zealand.

“These decision are generally in line with our submission to the original discussion paper” said Craig Young, CEO of TUANZ.  “We are generally supportive of the move to the utility style regulations and will engage in the discussion on the specifics to ensure we vigorously support the right outcomes for business and consumer users of these services”.   He went on to state that until there is more detail released on the proposals including transitional arrangements, the impact will not be fully understood.

The decision regarding consulting on competition in the mobile sector is also a positive decision.  “This was also one of the key points we made in our submission  - that all aspects of the mobile market need to be reviewed to ensure ongoing competition is strong and we see the continuance of multi-party participation.” said Mr. Young.  TUANZ believes this review is critical to ensure that all the relevant tools are in place to ensure that competition and coverage continue to improve in Rural New Zealand in line with their goal of high quality, ubiquitous connectivity across the country.

“We look forward to engaging fully in the process as the group representing the users of these technologies” Mr. Young said.



Media Release: TUANZ symposium connecting rural New Zealand.

The TUANZ Rural Connectivity Symposium is back for 2016, on 28th April at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington.

Building on the valuable networks and relationships formed at the successful 2015 event, TUANZ will bring internet service providers, health providers and rural end-users of telecommunications together again to talk about the opportunities and challenges of internet access and connectivity in rural New Zealand.

This year’s symposium is being held in conjunction with Rural Health Alliance Aotearoa New Zealand (RHĀNZ), and New Zealand Young Farmers (NZYF). It will kick off with an opening address from Communications Minister Amy Adams, and ‘State of the Nation’ speeches from agribusiness and banking leaders.

Each of the day’s speakers come from varied backgrounds, including health, farming, businesses and technology, and will share their thoughts about the future of connectivity in rural New Zealand.

TUANZ CEO Craig Young says that the focus of the day is going to be on how rural connectivity can provide better outcomes across three important areas: health, liveability, and business.

“The symposium provides a unique opportunity for those affected by rural connectivity in New Zealand to present a unified voice as the government begins to move into the next phase of the rural broadband initiative”, says Mr Young.

“RHĀNZ in partnership with TUANZ and NZYF is committed to influencing the debate and policy decisions around rural connectivity with the input of those most affected by the issue – the rural residents of New Zealand”, says RHĀNZ Chief Executive, Michelle Thompson.

Attendees will be actively involved during the symposium, with two workshop sessions, and panel discussions throughout the day. The partners will also publish a post-symposium paper as a summary of the major themes to emerge out of the day, both for distribution to attendees, and to help shape the thinking of internet providers and government policy makers.

If you are interested in helping rural communities be part of the 21st century in New Zealand, you can register to attend on the RHĀNZ and TUANZ websites.

The symposium is on Thursday 28th April from 9am–5pm, at Wellington’s Westpac Stadium, and will be followed by networking drinks. Registration costs $120 for TUANZ, RHĀNZ and NZYF members, or $250 for non-members.