The Green Party is proposing a future government invest $100
million as a way of kick-starting a second internet cable
system to New Zealand.
In August, the Pacific Fibre board ended its operations,
citing an inability to raise the $400 million required to
fund the laying of the cable. Pacific Fibre launched in March
2010 and planned to build a 13,000km high-speed fibre-optic
cable connecting New Zealand and Australia to California.
Its board included David Kirk, Michael Boustridge, Rod Drury,
Sir Stephen Tindall, Sam Morgan and Mark Rushworth (chief
executive). Green co-leader Russel Norman said yesterday
Government investment in a second internet cable system,
supported by smarter government procurement policies, would
lead a step-change in the ICT economy, stimulating exports
and creating green jobs.
''Our reliance on a single provider for our internet means
higher prices, data caps and less innovation. This stifles
the full economic potential of the ICT sector.''
In September 2011, the Australian telecommunication research
company, Market Clarity, reported the cost of bandwidth to
the United States from New Zealand was 5.8 times greater than
the price paid by Australians.
Dr Norman said the for-profit joint venture would be subject
to a competitive tender and require no new government
spending. It would be achieved by giving new priorities to
poor quality spending.
New government procurement guidelines were also suggested in
Dr Norman said Government agencies would need to consider the
wider economic benefits to New Zealand of supporting the
local ICT industry when making purchasing decisions.
''The ICT sector is a key component of our vision for a smart
green economy. The potential of the sector is huge, the jobs
are well paid and continued growth of the sector won't come
at the cost of our environment.''
The Green Party consulted widely with the ICT sector in the
development of the discussion paper and was seeking public
feedback which would be incorporated into the final policy
due before the 2014 election.