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Steven Joyce's Telecomms Legacy

Steven Joyce's resignation from parliament will surprise nobody. He arrived with a hiss and a roar - straight from the street to a Ministerial office - and its fitting that he leave the same way today.

We need to remind ourselves of the truly outstanding job he did in his first term, as Minister of Communications.

Steven was the architect of Ultra-Fast Broadband. It was a key differentiator in the 2008 election when he came to power. He took the concept and fashioned it into an end product. He did it brilliantly.

Result - nearly a decade later this country has 63% of premises with UFB available. The Aussies started at the same time as us with five times the per capita budget. Their equivalent figure is around 12%. QED.

Thats to Joyce's credit. He's street smart. His big strength was in his wealth of real-world experience before he came to parliament - a rarity in these days of career politicians.

And he went on the deal decisively with the obscenity of mobile phone termination charges.

He came in the footsteps of two other excellent Ministers - Paul Swain and David Cunliffe. All three can claim a role in turning New Zealand telecommunications from literally the worst in the OECD to getting towards true global leadership. But Joyce rode the winner across the finish line.

Steven will be missed not only for his work. He's a genuinely nice guy with a wicked sense of humour. He has a lot of working years ahead and I will watch with interest to see his next move.

But sometime when you're logging in to outstanding Internet, or using a truly affordable cellphone, spare a thought for Steven for a job outstandingly well done.

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