Chorus, the Commerce Commission, and the Common Good

The government has told us repeatedly it can’t intervene in decisions of private companies or even State Owned Enterprises. It said it couldn’t possibly direct KiwiRail to build its rolling stock at Hillside Workshops, even though KiwiRail is actually owned by the government and hundreds of jobs were lost. It says it certainly can’t ensure that aged care workers receive a living wage, even though the government pays the full cost of service provision and has to top up the low wages with the likes of accommodation supplements and working for families tax credits.

However it appears that the government can intervene to make sure Chorus shareholders don’t miss out on any dividends. It is considering simply overruling the Commerce Commission decision that found Chorus was overpricing its copper wire network and consumers were paying too much for the internet services. Continue reading