Tuesday, 11 June 2019 02:13

NZ regulator warns MyRepublic for non-compliance with telecommunications levy Featured

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New Zealand’s competition regulator, The Commerce Commission, has issued Internet provider MyRepublic with a formal warning after it failed to meet its statutory obligations to provide information needed by the Commission to allocate the Telecommunications Development Levy.

The $50 million TDL is paid by larger telecommunications firms and is used by the government to pay for telecommunications infrastructure, including the relay service for the deaf and hearing-impaired, broadband for rural areas and improvements to 111 emergency calling services.

And under the Telecommunications Act, liable companies must provide the Commission with audited financial information that the Commission can use to apportion the levy.

Telecommunications Commissioner Dr Stephen Gale said MyRepublic failed to provide accurate financial information, and an auditor’s report, within the statutory timeframe – and the information it eventually provided did not meet the specified requirements.

“The efficiency and integrity of the TDL allocation depends on liable companies providing complete and accurate information to ensure the levy is split in the correct proportions. Where one company doesn’t meet its obligations, it can affect all the others that have,” Dr Gale said.

As outlined in the warning letter, the Commission decided to issue a warning as MyRepublic has previously been compliant.

MyRepublic it was liable for the TDL for the first time in 2017/18 and the Commission said its conduct was otherwise not serious – and the auditor assurance it provided in December 2018 was sufficient for the Commission to make the liability allocation determination in a way that did not affect other liable companies.

The Commission said it would take this warning into account if MyRepublic engaged in the same or similar conduct in the future.

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Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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