Morgan Tait

Morgan Tait is the NZ Herald's consumer affairs reporter.

Broadband workers due weeks of pay

Contractors laying fibre optic cable as part of the nationwide ultra fast broadband rollout. Photo /  Stephen Parker
Contractors laying fibre optic cable as part of the nationwide ultra fast broadband rollout. Photo / Stephen Parker

Dozens of subcontractors working on the Government's ultra-fast broadband network have not been paid for weeks of work on the project.

Australian firm Transfield Services was hired by some of the four New Zealand businesses contracted to the Government - Northpower Fibre, Chorus, Ultrafast Fibre and Enable Networks - to deliver the UFB network in New Zealand.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters yesterday raised the issue in Parliament, saying Transfield subcontractors had not been paid for their work.

Transfield spokesman David Jamieson told the Herald he was aware of an issue involving "several weeks of work" for a small number of the firm's subcontractors.

"We are in the process of trying to sort out what's happening," he said.

The possibility of a computer glitch was being investigated, as were other possibilities including conflicts between subcontractors and their employers.

The Minister for Communications and Information Technology, Amy Adams, who oversees the UFB rollout, said the issue came to light only late yesterday, and was being investigated.

"In terms of the ultra-fast broadband build, Crown Fibre Holdings are investigating," she said. "There is no reason to suggest there is going to be a significant delay to the build."

Ms Adams said she did not know which of the four New Zealand companies had hired Transfield.

The agency was putting strategies in place to support those affected and see the issue quickly resolved, she said.

The $1.5 billion UFB project, due to be completed by 2019, is part of a public/private partnership to bring fibre-optic cabling to homes, businesses and schools.

- NZ Herald

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