Spark grumpy about new telecommunications levy

One of New Zealand's biggest telecommunications companies is so grumpy about a levy in the budget it's going to highlight it separately on its bills.

The government raises $50 million a year from a telecommunications development levy but was supposed to reduce it to $10m by 2016.

In Thursday's budget the levy was kept at $50m, annoying telecommunications companies, including Spark New Zealand, the former Telecom New Zealand.

"The changes announced by the government mean this reduction will not happen, and therefore represent a new cost that we will have to pass through to our customers," managing director Simon Moutter says.

The $50m is allocated across 20 telecommunications providers by the Commerce Commission, based on a proportion of their qualifying revenue.

The bill to Spark averages out at almost $1 per month for each consumer, Mr Moutter says.

"We're exploring options for adding this cost in a transparent way to our customers' monthly statements so they understand the contribution they are making to the government's Telecommunications Development Levy fund," Mr Moutter says.

It's no different to itemising levies from border agencies and airport departure taxes when people purchase airline tickets, or line charges and industry levies on power bills, he says.

Source: Fair Go

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