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Patterson out, Gale in: New telecommunications commissioner appointed

Ross Patterson, incumbent telecommunications commissioner, is to be replaced by Commerce Commission associate member Dr Stephen Gale.

Ross Patterson, incumbent telecommunications commissioner, is to be replaced by Commerce Commission associate member Dr Stephen Gale (pictured).

Dr Stephen GaleDr Patterson began the job in 2007, committing to a five-year period, and presided over issues including the regulation of mobile termination rates and the operational and structural separation of Telecom.

Communications and information technology minister Amy Adams said Dr Patterson played an important role in the success of the telecommunications sector during his tenure.

An independent panel was convened to consider the 44 applications for the role, she said, and recommended the appointment of Dr Gale as telecommunications commissioner and member of the Commerce Commission.

Dr Gale has been an associate member of the commission since July 2010, and has sat on the telecommunications division of the commission since February of this year.

“Dr Gale impressed the panel with his wide range of experience in regulated industries and his ability to articulate the role of the regulator to promote the interests of consumers through encouraging competition and ensuring that investors have the incentives to invest over the long-term.
 
“He has an excellent understanding of the issues faced by the telecommunications industry and the various approaches taken by other countries in regulating their telecommunications markets.”
 
The appointment is for a five-year term starting on July 12.

Commerce Commission chair Dr Mark Berry said Dr Gale brings a strong background in industry regulation and economics to the job.
 
Dr Gale has worked as an economic adviser to businesses and government on competition matters. He was previously a director of advisory firm Castalia, and prior to that with the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research from 1986 to 2003 and the Ministry of Energy before that. He holds a doctorate in physics from Cambridge University. Over his working life he has specialised in energy policy, regulation and, in the past 15 years, competition policy.