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Industry and consumer groups are joining forces to campaign against what they describe as a government imposed internet tax to subsidise Chorus.

The group, calling itself The Coalition for Fair Internet Pricing is holding a press conference later today in Wellington. Members include:

Consumer NZ, InternetNZ, and the Telecommunication Users Association of New Zealand (TUANZ), CallPlus and Slingshot, the Federation of Māori Authorities, Greypower, Hautaki Trust, KiwiBlog, KLR Holdings, National Urban Māori Authorities, New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations, Orcon, Rural Women, Te Huarahi Tika Trust and the Unite Union.

Today’s press conference is organised by Exceltium Ltd a corporate affairs consultancy that was behind the earlier Drop The Rate Mate campaign. That successfully pressured the government to lower mobile termination rates. The consultancy has the ear of key National Party members.

Previously Labour communications spokesperson Clare Curran has been critical of what she describes as  $100 million bailout to rollout the UFB network while the company posted a healthy $171 million net profit for 2013.

Curranworries Chorus use competitive copper pricing in the areas where it doesn’t control the fibre roll out.

She says: “Chorus can undercut the three smaller taxpayer UFB companies in Northland, the mid-North Island and Canterbury in order to protect its own business. This is called pocket pricing; it is an extraordinary rort.”

No doubt there will be more similar comments at today’s event.