Ministry accused of secrecy
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has been accused of excessive secrecy for failing to release submissions received in response to a government discussion paper in August on broadband pricing.
The discussion paper said the Telecommunications Act could be amended to let the Government set the combined wholesale price that Chorus would be allowed to charge for a copper phone line and broadband connection. It invited submissions on three ways this could be achieved.
The Coalition for Fair Internet Pricing, which is opposed to such intervention, said all responses to the discussion document should be made public on the ministry's website.
Coalition spokeswoman Sue Chetwin, who is also chief executive of Consumer New Zealand, said transparency was an "important principle of government".
"It is common practice for government departments, including MBIE, to pro-actively publish responses to government discussion documents, however this has not happened for the Telecommunications Act review."
Fairfax Media has also been knocked back in its attempts to obtain the submissions.
A ministry spokesman said the submissions were "being analysed" and any decisions regarding their publication would be made once that process had been completed.
"Some submissions, either entirely or in part, are confidential and we do not intend to release them," the ministry said.
Fairfax has asked the ministry to clarify its position with respect to the Official Information Act, which sets out the grounds on which government information can legally be withheld.
The ministry has also not published responses received in response to an earlier discussion document which canvassed changes to the Telecommunications Service Obligation.
Some submitters, including the Commerce Commission and several telcos, have themselves published their own submissions on the August paper.
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