25 May 2011

Broadband contract process a farce, says Labour

2:47 pm on 25 May 2011

Labour is describing the Government's handling of the ultra-fast broadband contract as an elaborate farce.

Telecom will build the fibre-optic system for Auckland, the eastern and lower North Island and most of the South Island, but must split off its network arm, Chorus, into a new listed company.

Labour's communications spokesperson Claire Curran told Morning Report that Telecom was always going to get the contract.

She says instead of admitting it the Government has gone through a lengthy and farcical process that's got a lot of holes in it, and puts a lot of risk on the taxpayer.

Communications Minister Steven Joyce has dismissed the criticism as ridiculous, saying the contract went through a tough negotiating process and is a good deal, with little risk to the tax payer.

He says Australia is spending about $30 billion doing the same thing, when in New Zealand the final cost to the Government is about $600 million.