Apr 23, 2008

National's Broadband Plan

Paula Oliver looks at the wider implications of John Key's speech yesterday.

If nothing else, National leader John Key's plan to put $1.5 billion of Government money into an ultra fast broadband network marks another milestone in his party's move away from the purist policies of its past.

Key is describing a lack of investment in New Zealand's telecommunications network as a "significant market failure" - strong words from a National Party leader.

His acknowledgement that the market hasn't worked, and won't work without a helping hand from the Government, is a big step away from the "market rules" position his party has been more widely known for.

It has been a year since Key first mused about using Government money to help kick-start broadband.

Back then he was promptly contradicted by none other than his deputy, Bill English, who ruled out widespread government investment in national broadband infrastructure because it would "crowd out" private sector investment.

Clearly Key has won that argument.