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Ed Sheeran

Spectrum, not money critical for development

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A Māori broadcasting claimant says it’s essential Māori get a share of 5G spectrum, or their development in the information and communications sector will be held back another 20 years.

The government is currently identifying the spectrum that will be used for the latest generation of communications networks, which will be more focused on data than voice calling.

It has flagged that it needs address Treaty of Waitangi issues because the spectrum can be auctioned.

Graeme Everton says the Māori right to the spectrum identified by the Waitangi Tribunal 20 years ago remains, but the crown has never accepted the tribunal’s recommendations.

Māori need to use the economic strength built up over the past 20 years to push for a better deal this time.

"We’ve got to think of spectrum like fish, like whenua, and once we have control of that resource we can build what we need to manage it and work with others. Getting that resource allows us then to build the infrastructure, the people, the knowledge to utilise it in partnership with others," Mr Everton says.

He says a cash deal, such as the $30 million technology fund set up by the previous National Government when it refused to allocate 4G spectrum to Māori, isn’t good enough because it doesn’t give the industry any incentive to partner with Māori.











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