Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Pork-barrel politics over broadband

Steven Joyce has announced the initial locations for the government's rollout of ultra-fast broadband:

The cities of Hamilton, Tauranga, Whangarei, New Plymouth and Wanganui will be among the first to benefit from the government’s rollout of ultra-fast broadband (UFB), says the Minister for Communications and Information Technology Steven Joyce.
In addition, UFB will be rolled out in Cambridge, Te Awamutu, Hawera and Tokoroa.

So, what does this look like by electorates? UFB will be rolled out to:

  • Whangarei, held by National's Phil Heatley, with a majority of 14,663;
  • Hamilton East, held by National's David Bennett with a majority of 8,820;
  • Hamilton West, held by National's Tim Macindoe, with a majority of 1,618;
  • Taupo, held by National's Louise Upston, with a majority of 6,445;
  • Taranaki-King Country, held by National's Shane Ardern, with a majority of 15,618;
  • Tauranga, held by National's Simon Bridges, with a majority of 11,742;
  • New Plymouth, held by National's Jonathan Young, with a majority of 105;
  • Whanganui, held by National's Chester Borrows, with a majority of 6,333.
So, the first thing to note is that only National-held electorates get broadband; those with Labour MPs need not apply (sorry, you voted for the wrong person and so must be punished). The second thing to note is the targeting of marginal seats New Plymouth and Hamilton West. It'd be interesting if someone who knew about IT policy used the OIA to delve into National's rollout decision, but from here it looks like pure pork-barrel politics. And I don't like it one bit.