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Telecommunications Commissioner to stand down temporarily

19 September 2008

The Minister of Commerce and the Minister of Communications and Information Technology have today agreed that Dr Ross Patterson will be taking a leave of absence from the Commerce Commission for health reasons.

The Telecommunications Commissioner is appointed by the Governor General on the recommendation of the Minister of Communications and Information Technology.

"The Commission will provide Dr Patterson with the support it would give to any staff member in similar circumstances," said Commission Chair Paula Rebstock.

In the interim, under the Telecommunications Act the Chair of the Commerce Commission assumes the functions of the Telecommunications Commissioner.

"I want to express my confidence that the telecommunications team will continue to maintain the high workload in this area. The Commission's role in regulating and monitoring the telecommunications industry is vital to delivering improved quality, prices and choice to consumers and we will continue to deliver on this work programme in Dr Patterson's absence," said Ms Rebstock.

"Dr Patterson has asked me to convey that his health issue is alcohol related and that he is seeking the appropriate treatment. I would ask that the media respect Dr Patterson's right to privacy at this time," said Ms Rebstock.

The Commission and Dr Patterson will be making no further comment at this time.

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