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NZLS supports expanded telecoms access dispute resolution

31 July 2015

The New Zealand Law Society supports Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment proposals for an expanded scope for dispute resolution around land access for telecommunications.

The Law Society has released its comments on proposals outlined in MBIE's Land Access for Telecommunications Discussion Document which was released for public consultation.

With the aim of striking the right balance between property owners' rights and interests and the objectives of the Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) rollout, the Law Society addresses a number of the document's proposals.

It notes that the objective of public consultation is to inform the government on how the right balance can be struck between protecting property rights on the one hand, while allowing more New Zealanders to realise the benefits of UFB on the other.

The Law Society says that as well as supporting the proposed expanded scope for dispute resolution, it also supports the criteria for design of the disputes resolution framework. These are fairness, transparency, efficiency, accessibility, and with appropriate mechanisms for resolving landowners' complaints.

"The Law Society considers that compensation should not be the only remedy. Where compensation would not be an adequate remedy, the adjudicating body should have the ability to order the removal of the cabling," it says.

"In addition, the dispute resolution process could also consider whether alternative routes are available and the intended use of the land."

An accessible dispute service is appropriate for disagreements between landlords and tenants, the Law Society says. However, it believes that service should be required to consider the contractual arrangements between the landlord and tenant.

"In this instance it is likely that the disputes will involve penetration of buildings which will also bring into play water-tightness issues and the reinstatement provisions."

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Last updated on the 31st July 2015