Free wifi in New Zealand

Why is it that we don't get free wifi access in New Zealand? The closest to free we had was with the Telecom wifi hotspots that you find at all Starbucks stores, free if you're a Telecom broadband customer. I must confess that was one of the reasons I used Telecom broadband.

A few months ago, all that stopped when Telecom got SmartPay to manage the wifi network. They changed the boring but functional “Telecom wifi” brand to “Fivo” and took the opportunity to start charging $10 per hour for wifi. Is that ridiculous or what?

I was at Westfield St Lukes the other day, and while waiting for my car to be serviced at the AA across the road, I figured I could just do some work at the mall.  Seeing almost everything I need is hosted online, all I need is pretty much an internet connection. I enquired at bupropion from turkey the info desk and got told that there's only ONE wifi hotspot at St Lukes, at the Starbucks. I th

ought I could avoid having to pay the $10 / hour, but no such luck.

I figured I would give the new Fivo a try. But the darn thing just wouldn't work. I gave up after two attempts at buying credit online. I called the 0800 number, and got told that the online purchase of credits doesn't work.

In Malaysia, malls offer free wifi as a service for parents/husbands/boyfriends. That way they don't have to stand around waiting but engage in more productive activities, like online gaming, surfing the net etc. It also means that the kids/wives/girlfriends can go on prolonged guilt-free shopping trips.

Now that's an idea.

Given the fact that broadband is pretty cheap anyway, why is it that New Zealand malls can't do the same? Surely it would be well worth the investment…

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Singapore vs New Zealand

Singapore is a pretty interesting place. At 707 km², the island is roughly the size of Lake Taupo (622 km²). Yet this small island nation with approximately the same population size as New Zealand (4.5m in Singapore to 4.2m in NZ) is far more progressive in many ways. According to IMF figures, Singapore is the 21st wealthiest country in the world based on the GDP / capita measure, coming in at USD35K. They are just ahead of Japan, and 5 places above New Zealand (at USD30K). Adjusted for purchasing power parity, the difference is even more dramatic. Singapore's GDP / capita rises to USD50K (6th highest in the world) vs New Zealand's USD26K (32nd).

tourist bus on orchard road

It's amazing how an island nation not blessed with natural resources and dependent on her northern neighbour for the most basic of resources (including water and sand) can achieve this level of development.

New Zealand is often compared to Australia (GDP/capita USD43K, ranked 15th). Sometimes, New Zealanders give the excuse that Australia's superiority is simply because of their abundance of natural resources including various minerals and oil. Perhaps one thing we can learn from the Singaporeans is to stop whining about what we cannot change and focus on what we can. If a small Asian island nati

on can transform itself from rural backwaters to one of the wealthiest nations in the world within 40 years, perhaps there are some lessons to be learnt. I don't think we need to look far. Strong leadership is a key factor. Unwavering resolve to achieve progress collectively is another. Do we know what it means to do whatever it takes?

Of course, it's not all about economics. There are also reasons for Kiwis to celebrate. We just found out that Auckland is ranked the fifth best city to live in globally for the second year running, trumping Sydney (10th) and Melbourne (17th). Singapore is a distant 32nd.

Many New Zealanders would not be able to tolerate living in Singapore. Notwithstanding the heat, long working hours, and lack of nice beaches/bush, the list of things you can't do could be longer than the list of things you can.

I was reading the Straits Times on the flight to Singapore, and came across an article about an ex-Singaporean (now US citizen) getting sued for insulting a judge.

Gopalan Nair was charged under the Miscellaneous Offences (Public Order and Nuisance) Act, which states that “it is an offence for any person who in a public or private place uses any indecent, threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour towards a public servant in the execution of his duty”. If convicted, Nair faces a fine of canadian levitra fast delivery up to $5,000 or up to one year in jail.

I can imagine that National MP Carter wouldn't have abused the cop if he knew he could go to jail for it.

Not a day goes by where you don't find an article in the Herald with a story critical of the government. Criticising the government is now a national pastime. Of course, who else would you blame for high food prices, petrol prices, inflation, interest rates, NZD etc.

What would you rather have? More money / less freedom or more freedom / less money?

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Value creation key to prosperity

No one is surprised that Kiwis are heading across the ditch at a rate of 100 a day in March alone when news filter back that the average after-tax income in Australia is 34% higher than in New Zealand. If New Zealand ranks as the second easiest place on the planet to do business why are we less prosperous than most of the OECD, coming in at 21st out of 30 countries on GDP/capita?

It’s certainly “easy” to do business in this country. Anyone can start up a company within a matter of hours, apparently one of the fastest places you can do so in the world.

However, just because it’s “easier” to do business doesn’t mean that our firms are necessarily more prosperous. Quite the contrary. Our firms are unusually small (over 90% of firms employ less than 10 staff), compared with under 50% for USA and Korea for example. In the highly significant export sector (where we derive most of our wealth), only 4% of our firms export, and 80% of our the total $ value exported is generated by 1.5% of exporters (Source: David Irving, Icehouse presentation Apr 08) .

The reason Kiwis don’t get paid more is simply because we’re not productive enough. New Zealand is in the business of producing pretty low value goods and services. We are easily lulled into a sense of superiority because we are one of the world’s largest exporters of dairy products.

It’s a matter of demand and supply. It’s not just our dairy products that are in demand, but our talent too. As we have seen from the prices of butter and milk in our local supermarkets, we are by no way insulated by global forces, regardless of how many cows we have in New Zealand. In a global market, organisations compete for talent by paying more. Over time, the best resources move to the highest bidder.

New Zealand is a great place to live. No doubt about that. That’s why most of us are still here. We can and should still talk about what the government and the rest of us can do to make New Zealand more competitive.

Personally I would like to see more people create value by growing their businesses, employing more staff, and selling higher value products/services. Hopefully if enough people do that, Kiwis get paid more, and fewer would have to move to Aust/UK for more money.

I had the chance to visit a high tech company last week and spend some time with the owner (as part of a leadership training programme I’m attending). It was absolutely amazing to see how they managed to grow from nothing to a “mini-multinational”. I’m now pretty inspired to make a difference!

I’m pretty happy that at Euroasia we help people connect with foreign cultures, and a fair few of our clients have extensive contact with people from overseas. They build relationships that help with international trade and New Zealand’s global competitiveness.  order viagra no prescription I have a feeling that in 5 years, we’ll see a lot more people providing cross cultural training and consulting services. And when you google “cross cultural training” you will find more than the handful of providers you see there now.

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