Communications Minister Amy Adams has passed over incumbent Telecommunications Commissioner Ross Patterson, appointing one of his deputies to the role.
The outgoing commissioner has been replaced by associate commissioner and economic adviser Stephen Gale, who Adams said impressed the selection panel through "his ability to articulate the role of the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."
The panel considered 44 applications. "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," Adams said in a statement.
That's more in tune with Adams' cautious approach to regulating broadband content, which she previously said may stifle innovation. Patterson was seeking another five-year term, having overseen the operational and structural split of Telecom and cheaper charges for mobile termination rates.
More recently, Patterson launched an investigation into Sky Network Television's pay-TV content arrangements, which the antitrust regulator considered may erode the level of competition in the industry. In 2008, Patterson took a 10-month leave of absence to cope with a drinking problem.