New Zealand Labour Policy Leak Came from David Cunliffe's Computer

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By Reissa Su | March 5, 2014 7:08 PM EST

New Zealand's Labour is planning to give away free computers to all students in low decile schools, according to documents sent accidentally to the national government.

Reports state the Labour policy leak happened when the Labour MP Clare Curran had emailed the party's proposed information and communication technology (ICT) policy by mistake to the office of Communications Minister Amy Adams. However, Labour has recently confirmed that the missent email came from David Cunliffe's computer. Mr Cunliffe's press secretary, Simon Cunliffe, declined to name the staffer responsible for the error.

Reuters
A Master of Business Administration (MBA) student works on a computer in a library at Management Development Institute (MDI) in Gurgaon, on the outskirts of New Delhi May 2, 2012.

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In previous reports, Ms Curran's office had hastily admitted the error to the media by supplying them with the notes but later on said the document was different from the one accidentally sent. Aside from Labour's ICT plans, the speech notes of Labour party leader David Cunliffe was also included. Mr Cunliffe gave a speech to a private IT leadership breakfast last March 4.

The speech notes reportedly described access to Internet as a "right" and the suggestion of free personal computers to children studying in less-wealthy schools. Labour is planning to bridge the digital divide, as it plans to roll out free computers to allow universal access.

The notes include a warning about not revealing too much about the plan, since it would spoil a policy announcement in the future. In 2010, Labour had already hinted of an idea to provide school children with free computers. However, the leaked speech notes indicated bigger plans.

Some schools in New Zealand, including low-decile schools, made headlines for issuing iPads to all students despite the availability of cheaper $100 tablets. The speech notes also discussed the concept of an "IT visa programme," but with footnotes warning Mr Cunliffe of possible risks like rights or wages.

According to Labour's ICT policy framework document, a proposal would be submitted known as the "KiwiCap" with a fixed monthly bandwidth for every Kiwi. The leaked policy also mentioned a "KiwiCloud" which will provide cloud-based storage at a fixed amount.

Ms Curran said the leaked documents were only ideas for an ICT policy and had no bearing since they're not official.

Labour had no comment about the leaks, but Ms Adams said she finds its funny that the party's ICT team can't seem to "use ICT with any basic level of competence."

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(Photo: Reuters / )
A Master of Business Administration (MBA) student works on a computer in a library at Management Development Institute (MDI) in Gurgaon, on the outskirts of New Delhi May 2, 2012.
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