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ACT Response 16/07/99


Question 1: What policies do you have to ensure an open, competitive environment for provision of Internet services?

We support a free and open economy as discussed in our published policy papers.

Question 2: What policies do you have to ensure that both central and local government agencies move towards the effective use of the Internet to communicate with the public?

We have no specific policy but I personally as spokesman on technology issues do support more Government information being available on-line.

Question 3: What steps will you take to ensure that New Zealand legislation can be accessed on the Internet?

Legislation is now available on-line through GP. I personally support moves to improve this service and for the court Judgements to be available also online.

Question 4: What strategies do you favour to ensure that New Zealand society does not become divided into the 'information rich' and 'information poor'?

We support a free and open economy as discussed in our published policy papers. Competition between providers tends to lower prices.

Question 5: What strategies do you favour to ensure that schools can readily access the Internet for learning and other needs?

Refer to ACT's published education policy. ACT would give parents the power to send their children to the school of their choice. This would create a greater incentive for schools to keep abreast of technology

Question 6: How do you plan to ensure that teachers have the technical skills and knowledge to utilise Internet services once they're connected (for example, provision of professional development for teachers, development of curriculum content, etc).

Refer to ACT's published education policy and question 5. ACT would give more autonomy to schools so that they could pay teachers with skills more thereby giving an incentive to teachers to up-skill.

Question 7: What policies do you have relevant to the maintenance of a stable, secure and adequately serviced Internet in New Zealand? Do you see a role for the Government in the provision of services supporting the New Zealand Internet? If so, what functions should it perform? If not why not?

We support a free and open economy as discussed in our published policy papers. As ACT technology spokesman I do not support the Government getting involved in internet service provision. Government could however set standards that ensure fair competition.

Question 8: Do you see a need to provide a legal underpinning for electronic commerce in New Zealand? If so, what areas require legislative attention?

Most internet-related legal issues can be resolved using the well established principles of common law, making legislative intervention unnecessary. e.g. EFTPOS system which has built up huge network of payments without any legislative underpinning.

Question 9: Do you plan to introduce legislation under which crackers/hackers can be prosecuted for computer related crime?

ACT recognises the need for some legislative intervention to restrict hacking and computer crimes and will support Government measures in this regard.

Question 10: Do you support the unrestricted use of "strong" (that is, 128 bit or better) encryption by e-commerce to provide secure Internet trading? How do you view the present export restrictions on strong encryption products under Wassenar?

Yes. As ACT spokesman on technology I would oppose restrictions on free trade in encryption technology.

Question 11: Do you see a need for Government involvement in the development of a New Zealand Public Key Infrastructure? Do you consider that legislative measures such as those taken by the Government of Singapore are necessary to regulate the behaviour of Certification Authorities? Do you consider that some form of key recovery or key escrow regime is necessary for law enforcement purposes in New Zealand?

As ACT spokesman on technology I believe it is not Government's business to get involved in public key infrastructure. Apart from the risks it could create a conflict of interest and would inevitably be abused. I do not support any key recovery regime as that would be an unreasonable violation of the right to privacy.

Question 12: Taxation Do you see any need to introduce changes to present tax laws so as to take into account Internet transactions and electronic commerce?

As ACT spokesman on technology I believe that the Internet is already adequately covered by existing law. I am however open to advice that suggests otherwise.

Question 13: Do you support self regulation by the Internet industry or do you propose government intervention through legislation?

As ACT spokesman on technology I support self-regulation and note that the issue of protecting children from exposure to unsuitable material is one for parental responsibility.

I hope these comments are helpful.

Please note that where policy exists I have referred to it. In all other cases I comment as spokesman from personal conviction and not from a confirmed policy perspective.

Muriel Newman, Technology Spokesman, ACT Party

© 1999 The Internet Society of New Zealand
Last updated 28 July 1999

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