A tax on internet use, the removal of the current "three strikes" Copyright Act, plus targets for the use of open source within government form part of a range of ICT policies announced by the opposition Labour Party in New Zealand.
Other policy ideas include a review of the National-led government's NZ$1.5 billion Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) Initiative. The party hopes to extend it past the current planned 75 per cent of New Zealand homes, but within existing budgets.
There would also be a single regulator covering broadband and broadcasting within the Commerce Ministry, which analysts believe will harm Sky TV.
The policies were officially unveiled in a seven-point Digital Nation document earlier today, after an apparent leak of the policies on the controversial Whale Oil blog yesterday.
Digital Nation spoke favourably on the role of ICT in generating national wealth. The party is also seeking to close gaps between rural and urban broadband access, as well as the digital divide.
Though Labour would continue with National's NZ$1.5 billion UFB initiative, the document claims there is a broadband "mess" to sort out and it plans an independent review of the policy.
"Labour has some grave concerns about government's urban and rural broadband scheme, and with the amendments to the Telecommunications Act passed in 2011," Labour ICT spokesperson Clare Curran said.
"National's broadband network must not be a tool to entrench the divide between the haves and the have-nots.
"While Labour is committed to working within Crown Fibre Holdings' current investment limit of NZ$1.35 billion for ultra-fast broadband, it will allow the UFB to be extended to other areas of New Zealand."
Elsewhere, the policy spoke of greater use of open-source software within government, with an emphasis on greater collaboration between government departments on projects. Labour believes vendors "double dip" by departments working in silos. It also seeks to reduce the government ICT spend going offshore.
To foster such cooperation, a government chief technology advisor would be appointed with the Ministry of ICT set to work within the Ministry of Economic Development. The party announced a target of two thirds of government using open source by 2015.
It also proposes that the source code of such software be open to the public.
There would also be an Open Source Centre of Excellence Created, along with a government "app store" to help developers promote their wares.
A Labour government would also look to expand the role of NZ On Screen as a broader content storage facility to help distribute Kiwi-made content more affordably. This would be funded by a "small copyright levy" on internet access.
The party would also increase the number of research and development technology interns from 200 to 1000 and increase funding for the Computers in Homes scheme.
The announcements come just five weeks before New Zealand holds a general election and the day before Internet New Zealand stages a debate with the main parties on ICT policy.
The ruling National Party is yet to release its ICT policies.