Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Motel Toilet Paper - Why the "V"?

OK, so we have left the REALLY big question unanswered - until now!

Why do hotels and motels form a V in the toilet roll?

Well, dear readers the following post has taken many years of research.

This is seen in motels and hotels worldwide where the housekeeping staff will fold the first sheet of toilet paper into a triangle. The triangulated toilet paper informs the guest that the cleaning staff has been there and has finished cleaning the room.

It has been suggested that the toilet roll V is the ultimate symbol of bathroom class. Apparently the Queen always insists on it wherever a loo is graced with her presence

The origin of folding the first sheet of toilet paper into a triangle is unknown, however custom has spread to many accommodation places throughout the world.

Some suggest that this behavior is a form of meme.

What is a meme?

Wikipeadia describes this as "
a postulated unit or element of cultural ideas, symbols or practices, gets transmitted from one mind to another through speech, gestures, rituals, or other imitable phenomena."

So what was the answer again? Well....we simply don't know!

Trade Me buys holidayhouses.co.nz

Interesting news that Trade Me is to increase its exposure to short term accommodation on-line reselling by purchasing holidayhouses.co.nz.

This strategic purchase will strengthen its fledgling motel and hotel reselling site, travelbug.co.nz that appears not to have performed as well as some industry commentators had predicted. Trade Me would have also been encouraged by the success of AA's bookabatch.co.nz.

Click to enlargeSource: www.aatravel.co.nz

On 9 September 2007, Travelbug launched with more than 1500 hoteliers and moteliers listing their properties, assisted by a labour intensive campaign of reps visiting operators throughout the country.

It is unclear how many of Travelbug's claimed 2,600 listings currently on their website are active and "live" as there still appears to be many operators only choosing to advertise "on request".

At the time of travelbug's launch, Sam Morgan was quoted as having a long-term target of 5000 to 10,000 operators. This may have been a lofty goal at the time, however with the instant gratification of 5,000+ holiday home listings that will be aquired with the holidayhouses.co.nz purchase, this would appear to have been largely achieved.

After the initial uptake of accommodation operators, further growth is planned from expansion into other areas such as tourist activities, rental cars and flights.

It was predicted that Travelbug would quickly establish itself and emulate the success of its big brother TradeMe. It was assumed that the two-thirds of all Internet users in New Zealand that use Trade Me would simply start using Travelbug.

This clearly hasn't happened, but it is still early days!

Online auction site Trade Me is acquiring online holiday accommodation booking business holidayhouses.co.nz for an undisclosed sum.

Trade Me is buying 100 percent of Red Rock Ltd, which owns all the business interests of holidayhouses.co.nz.

Set up nine years ago, holidayhouses.co.nz has about 5300 holiday home, bach and accommodation listings.

The site focuses on privately owned houses and features customised searches, interactive maps and the option for guests to submit feedback on their stays. Trade Me will, at least initially, keep holidayhouses.co.nz separate from its existing Travelbug website which focuses on motels and hotels.

"Holidayhouses.co.nz has a great brand, a strong following and the widest selection of holiday home and bach accommodation in New Zealand," said Trade Me CEO Jon Macdonald.

"Holidayhouses.co.nz is a proven product and we don't want to mess it up. We'll stay true to its consumer focus, which is entirely consistent with our approach to Trade Me," Macdonald added.

Co-founder of holidayhouses.co.nz Bill Stalker will continue to be involved in its daily management. He said Trade Me was the right group to further grow the business.

Trade Me is a sister company of Stuff.co.nz, with both owned by Fairfax Media.

Source: Click HERE

Motel owners brace for rowdy students

It will be interesting to follow the student activities and relationships with their accommodation providers at the University Games to be held in Taranaki in a couple of weeks.

It is unfortunate that students may feel that a recent Disputes Tribunal decision in their favour from shenanigans at last years event vindicates hooliganism, vandalism and covering motel rooms in vomit.

We trust that accommodation providers have learnt from this ruling and are able to effectively deal with any challenges that the games participants may present.

Hopefully the media will be able to qualify and understand the rights of business owners before the assumed needs of self absorbed, attention seeking, whining students.

30 March 2009

The annual University Games are 107 years old now, and are part sport, part alcohol, part vomit.
It's all arguably pretty harmless stuff, unless the vomiting is taking place in your motel, and motel owners on the receiving end of last year's vomit are warning motel owners near the venues for this year's games - get out the no vacancy signs, fast.

The 2007 University Games in Christchurch were loud, wild and drunken. Last year the games were held in Rotorua, and 88 from Victoria University stayed at the Cleveland Motel.

"They're low lifes," says Clyde Farquhar. "They have no respect for anybody."

Mr Farquhar is not a fan of this sort of behaviour - not when it is in his motel. He and his wife Cynthia say from the first night, the only thing the students were interested in was drinking.

"We really wanted them to go that night it was so bad, but they stayed," he says. "The same thing happened the next night. I'd say that probably a third of them didn't even get up in the morning to make it to their first games. And that's what they were here for, to play games."

But students don't accept the criticism, and they are dishing out some of their own.

This year's games, which feature everything from athletics to touch rugby, are in Taranaki, and at least one university has had trouble finding accommodation.

"We have had some feedback from the membership that there has been some struggles as we get closer to the event in terms of securing their accommodation," says Louise Burns, University Sport NZ. "But overall, as far as I'm aware now all 16 institutions have secured accommodation."

University Sport NZ now requires students to sign a code behaviour agreement and for each campus to provide a $2000 bond. But the Farquhars reckon once the drinking starts, a bond won't make any difference.
After three nights, the Farquhars kicked the students out and charged the Victoria Students' Association for damages.

But the students fought back. In January, the Victoria Students' Association took the Cleveland Motel to the small claims tribunal - and won.

"On the basis of the findings of the disputes tribunal, I think it's fair enough to say that most students weren't involved in that sort of behaviour," says Jasmine Freemantle, the association's president.

The VSA also had 40 students staying at the Havana Motor Lodge, and it is also taking the motel to the small claims tribunal. It is seeking just under $4000 after the students were evicted a day early and charged for damages. That hearing is due in May.

Victoria students might have won their case against the Cleveland Motel, but motel owners remain angry.
"I'd rather have pigs staying in this motel than students unless they're supervised," says owner of the Rob Roy Motel in Rotorua, Dr Prem Sharma. "Pigs are much cleaner and better behaved than these people."

There were media reports moteliers in Taranaki were reluctant to have students to stay, but the official line is that association members will be welcoming students in a couple of weeks.

But those who have experienced student behaviour are unconvinced, saying bikie gangs and the Mongrel Mob are better customers.

The Cleveland Motel has e-mailed motels in the Taranaki warning them to be prepared.

Source: Click HERE

Monday, March 30, 2009

Hotel Drinking Glass - hidden truth revealed

Often wondered why American motels and hotels often offer their guests in-room disposable plastic cups?

The History of Marketing

A great animated video that illustrates how the producer/marketer - consumer interaction has changed drastically in just a couple of decades.

Social Media has certainly made a huge impact on the way we relate to each other on the Web and it has helped humanise the Internet experience.


The Motel Boom

Set the scene, New Zealand in the early 1950’s when accommodation options were restricted to hotels, taverns, guest houses and camping grounds.

Les and Mearle Bird were probably the first to build the country’s first motel in Picton in 1952.
(Can someone confirm, what was the name of their motel?)

In 1958, Neil “Chopper” Summersby with his wife, Jenny opened the Orange Grove Motel, Gisborne’s first self-contained motel and one of New Zealand’s first “modern motels” complete with kitchen facilities. As an early pioneer, Chopper’s success played a major part in paving the way for the rapid growth and improvements in the motel throughout New Zealand over the next 50 + years.

About this time motels were booming in the USA and TIME magazine published the following article:


14 March 1955

TO count the number of first-class hotels built in metropolitan U.S. since the war, all a statistician needs are the fingers of both hands. But to total the number of new motels that have sprouted up around big cities and along U.S. highways, the experts need an adding machine. What was once a sorry second choice for prewar travelers has skyrocketed into one of the biggest and fastest-growing of U.S. businesses.

By last week, as winterbound families started planning their annual vacation motorcade, some 53,000 motels, doing a $1.5 billion annual business, dotted the roads from Maine to California. Of the total, 4,000 were built last year alone. Reasons for the big rise are not hard to find: increased population, higher auto sales, more touring, steady prosperity. But the biggest reason is the fact that U.S. motels are offering luxuries that put most hotels—and a good many resorts—to shame.

Gone are the old clapboard tourist cabins with their cold-water faucets and rickety bedsteads. Today's motelman thinks little of spending $1,000,000 for his neon-lighted palace, where private baths and comfortable beds are as standard as doorknobs. Though the average occupancy rate is still about 70% (about the same for hotels), such a prime vacation place as Las Vegas, Nev. has between 250 to 300 competing motels. Southern California alone has 650; Florida has 4,500, and its motel operators thought the state had all that it could stand 18 months ago. But new motels are still abuilding from Jacksonville to Key West.

To tempt motorists most new motels offer TV and air conditioning, a swimming pool, some kind of food service, children's play areas, and telephones in every room. Says one successful Northwest operator: "People want complete service —a barber, a beauty shop, a car wash—the works." Fort Worth's successful Western Hills Motel (TIME, July 9, 1951) goes a step farther with a separate block of rooms for guests' maids and chauffeurs.

Western Hills Motel

In Santa Monica, Calif, the big $1,500,000 William Tell Motel, which offers a swimming pool, playground, TV and air conditioning, all set in a lush tropical atmosphere, now faces stiff competition from the newer, $600,000 Highlander Motor Hotel, built with all the standard luxuries plus piped-in music, a sun deck, and heated swimming pool.

William Tell Motel

Highlander Motor Hotel

One North Carolina motel keeps its free soft-drink machine available all night, dispenses free hot coffee and doughnuts each morning. The new Georgia and Florida motels have either restaurants or small alcove kitchens (at no extra charge) in their suites. Says the manager of the 96-unit Atlanta Terrace Motel, biggest in the state: "People just won't stop if they have to go elsewhere for food." Others give their guests free morning and evening newspapers, plush communal lounges, playgrounds with shuffleboard, badminton, swings and even horseshoe pits.

Terrace Motel

The motel business is no place for amateurs, and no place for the man who wants to get rich quick. Many motel owners make a good living, but many others, who were dazzled by the first postwar bubble, settled down in poor locations and have either gone out of business or barely make ends meet.

Even the most successful motelmen have problems of rising costs and bitter competition. Since 1945, construction costs have gone up from an average $2,500 a room to nearly $5,500, with 15% of the boost in the last two years.

More and more motels are being built in the center of town —traditionally a hotel preserve. In hotel-short New Orleans the new, $2,000,000 redwood-and-glass Motel de Ville, which has a pool, a cocktail lounge, restaurant and 24-hour room service, is only 15 blocks from the central shopping district, and manages to rack up a 100% occupancy rate. Those who stay outside town struggle for a choice highway intersection, or even a slight rise of ground so that motorists can see them from afar. Wherever a motelman does well, he can soon expect a rival to try to set up an even flossier motel next door.

Motel de Ville

The motel boom shows little sign of slowing down. Around the U.S. last week, some 900 newer and bigger motels were either under construction or in the planning stage. Yet the motelman, eyeing peak auto output and rising tourism, sees nothing but a happy future for the smart operator. Says Seattle's Frank Seal, owner of a 55-room motel that he built in 1947 for $92,200 and now values at nearly $400,000: "It just isn't for sale. This is just too good a thing not to hold on to."

Source: Click HERE

Key Blows Hole in Plastic Bag Debate

Common sense returned today when John Key chided his Environment Minister Nick Smith, who had a brain rush and had asked his ministry to investigate a compulsory charge for plastic bags as a deterrent to using them.

The great plastic bag debate has now been buried along with other Nanny State-isms such as compulsory flouro light bulbs and mandatory shower restrictions.

From the New Zealand Herald this evening:

"Mr Key said there was no way he was going to support a charge that was in effect a tax going into the coffers of supermarkets.

"My preference is to find a voluntary and industry-led solution," he said.

"I've made that very clear to the minister."

Asked whether he would preferred to have known in advance about both issues, he replied: "I think it would be more useful if I found out about things before I read about them in the newspaper."
In the future, Mr Smith should check what political party he belongs to and keep his watermelon ideas to himself - Mr Smith, you are the weakest link!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Earth Hour Alternative

Last night's testing of the lights we have assembled for "Earth Hour" went well!

The smug and insidious Earth Hour is just about upon us.

On Saturday from 8pm, hippies, enviro-activists and other associated loonies around the world will turn off their lights for one hour in order to protest the delusional ideals of man-made global warming.

For prosperity we have assembled a few selected enlightened comments from the blogosphere:

Whaleoil has eloquently suggested that "Earth Hour can just eff off"
This household will be attempting to maximise its carbon footprint. We will have every light on, the fridge door open the oven on, I'll render a video to make sure my Mac is consuming as much power as possible and use the laptop as well. I will leave the vacuum-cleaner turned on if I can find the on-switch...not really familiar with that piece of machinery. The stereo and the tv will be on, as well I think I'll leave the lawn mower running for an hour and the cars all idling.

This is a crock of shit made to make us feel guilty, well I won't play and I'll screw up the rest of the neighborhood who does.

It is a pointless exercise in mass guilt that has already been negated by the Victorian bush fires, any currently active volcano, plus the new one in Tonga many, many times over.

You can shove your hour of the lights off up your collective asses.
Not PC gives us something thoughtful to keep in mind during ‘Earth Hour’
If economic prosperity is “environmentally unfriendly,” then all the better for economic decline (those enthusiasts presumably think). If we are restricted to using energy that is untried, uneconomic, and unsuccessful at producing energy in the quantities that economic prosperity requires, then economic decline is certain.

If our industrial emissions are “capped,” then our arrival in the economic abyss is assured.

Keep this in mind during the nonsense of ‘Earth Hour’ this weekend, as you celebrate the fruits of the Industrial Revolution while all around you the Luddites are huddling around candles -- that the goal of environmentalists is not prosperity, but its opposite: poverty.
RoarPrawn doesn't think its a bright idea:
Up Earth Hour we say. Bugger the hemp undy wearing wankers - we are gonna turn on our lights too.
Save The Humans exposes the waste of central and local government resources:
"Isn't is disgraceful that the Christchurch City Council feels it has funds to splash around for this pointless exercise in environmentalist hand-wringing? The CCC is not the only culprit.
This comes from the idea that councils tell us what to do, instead of vice versa. Council's are captured by silly interest groups like the WWF, which now seems to do little else than bang on about global warming. Council staff no doubt spend hours if not days in meetings at ratepayers' expense, talking and planning all this rubbish.

Worse, a google search shows some 6000 hits for earth hour in the NZ government domain, which includes central government and councils.
We wish you a fun, thoughtful and productive "Edison Hour"

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Holiday parks worth $623m a year to NZ economy

Fergus Brown is the long standing and popular CE of the Holiday Accommodation Parks Association of New Zealand (HAPNZ).

HAPNZ seems to be on a roll with its members being positive, united and enjoying a small lift for the 2008 year by increasing guest nights by 60,000 (up 1 percent).

Although we poke fun at caravans etc on our blog, we are admire how the caravan parks/camping grounds sector have been galvanised by strong and professional industry leadership.

The research commissioned by HAPNZ has added value to their membership, help raise profile and makes interesting reading.

Click HERE for the research highlights.

26 March 2009

Holiday parks play a key role in stimulating economic activity at local, regional and national levels, new research shows.

While staying at holiday parks, travellers contribute at least $623 million in direct expenditure and support a wide range of businesses in the community, the research shows. It was commissioned by the Holiday Accommodation Parks Association of New Zealand (HAPNZ) which represents holiday parks around the country.

“There is a perception that travellers who stay at holiday parks might not be worth as much to the economy as those who stay in more expensive accommodation. But this research shows they actually make a large contribution through the amount they spend in the community while they are on holiday,” HAPNZ Chief Executive Fergus Brown says.

Approximately $340 million (55%) of the expenditure by holiday park visitors is contributed by domestic travellers, with the balance of $283 million (45%) by international travellers.

“This means the export earnings of holiday parks are worth more than exports by New Zealand’s mussel industry, the book publishing industry, or the fresh vegetable sector,” Mr Brown says.

The research also highlights that holiday park visitors spend about 18% of their daily expenditure on accommodation costs. The bulk of their spending is spent outside holiday parks in areas such as cafes, restaurants, bars, activities and attractions, shopping and entertainment.

“In addition to this direct expenditure, holiday parks employ more than 2000 people around the country, as well as supporting many local businesses through purchase of supplies, maintenance, and payments for marketing and professional fees,” Mr Brown says.

“The holiday park sector has enjoyed a relatively good summer season, with both New Zealanders and international travellers choosing to stay in our facilities. People are still travelling but they are often choosing cheaper accommodation. This research shows that holiday parks will continue to be a valuable part of the economy.”

Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA) Chief Executive Tim Cossar says the research proves the value of the tourism industry to New Zealand’s economy.

“Holiday parks are a popular accommodation choice and an important sector of New Zealand’s multi-billion dollar tourism industry. Generally owned and operated by New Zealanders, holiday parks are real heartland businesses that offer visitors a genuine Kiwi experience,” Mr Cossar says.

“There are holiday parks in almost every region which employ local people and support local businesses. We expect they will continue to perform relatively strongly in the current economic environment – helping keep people in jobs in a range of sectors, not only tourism.”

Attached: Value_of_the_Holiday_Park_Sector.pdf

Source: Click HERE

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Hidden Camera Motel Trial

Did you miss the "Hidden Camera Trial of Mid-Priced Motels" on the consumer watchdog TV programme, Target this week?

Well, we did too!

No fear, click on the link HERE and be taken to the TV3 webpage to watch the episode online.

This is a must for motel voyeurs and is a great industry training video.

We must say congratulations to Camalot Motor Lodge in Christchurch that did exceedingly well in the hidden camera trial. This property backed up its win in the 2008 AA Supreme Host of the Year.

And of course, Target also found properties that did not do as well...

Enjoy Capitalism

I have had a few people comment on the advertising that has crept onto "Motella"

We have a few clickable adds scattered about our blog that are mixture of private adverts from companies we like dealing with and content from Google Adsense that earns us revenue per click.

Hey, we make no apoligies for our rampant commercialism and encourage you to randomly click away at our advert links after reading our words of wisdom!

Motel Link

Kathie Shepherd is an ex motelier and now a specialist motel broker extraordinaire. She has been busy completing her National Diploma in Real Estate ... and updating her blog.

For fellow "motellas" out there, the following links are worth a look:

Apparently, it pays to turn up to functions with a business goal: Click HERE

That old perennial question - Should I pay cash or borrow to get a bigger lease motel?
Click HERE

Clark is gooooone!

Good riddance!

By Paul McBeth

Former Prime Minister Helen Clark is to be named head of the United Nations Development Programme, according to the Trans-Tasman political letter.

Prime Minister John Key lobbied international leaders as he supported Clark for the nomination, while at the same time his administration purged Labour-appointees from the boards of state-owned enterprises and Crown entities. Similarly, Foreign Minister Murray McCully is looking to fold NZAID, the government department responsible for the nation’s aid programme, back into the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade where its focus will shift to economic development from poverty alleviation. The government has also put the previous administration’s “world-leading” climate change agenda on review, calling the proposed emissions trading scheme overly ambitious.

Major donors to the U.N.D.P. supported Clark to the highest international position held by a New Zealander since former Prime Minister Mike Moore was named Director-General of the World Trade Organisation after she was placed on the short-list. Her leadership in a number of global issues and her international standing over the country’s anti-nuclear policy are believed to have supported her.

UN Secretary General Ban Ky-Moon is expected to confirm the appointment in the next few hours. Clark’s expected to take up the post later this year, forcing a by-election in the Mount Albert electorate which she has held for 28 years.

Source: Click HERE

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Hotel prices down 12% globally

Good bargains for Kiwi travellers around the world
Queenstown hotel prices decline the most in Australasia

A decline of 35 per cent in the price of hotel rooms in Queenstown makes it the city with hotels most affected by the global economic crisis in the Asia Pacific region after Mumbai in India, and behind only Reykjavik in Iceland globally, according to the latest Hotel Price Index™ from Hotels.com®, the global hotel specialist.

The Hotel Price Index, which looks at hotel prices* for October to December 2008 compared to the same period the year before, revealed that hotel prices globally fell 12 per cent. On average hotel prices today are only one percent higher than they were five years ago.

Christchurch hotel prices also noted a significant fall, down 19 per cent, while across the Tasman, Melbourne and Sydney hotel prices are down 23 per cent and 22 per cent respectively, making local and city breaks across the Tasman an appealing cost-effective option for Kiwi travellers.

The really good news for Kiwi travellers is that hotels in destinations once considered an indulgence for the budget-conscious are now also offering considerable savings.

On average, hotel prices in North America fell the greatest – down 12 per cent – with Europe dropping 10 per cent during the same period. Hotel prices in the Caribbean and South America fell by seven per cent, while the Asia Pacific region also recorded its first year-on-year drop in hotel room prices since the Hotels.com Hotel Price Index first began. This decline was comparatively small, being only two per cent, however with substantial price drops recorded in a number of large Asian cities.

Savings to be had for Kiwi travellers in Asia Pacific include Seoul, where hotel prices are down by 20 per cent, Singapore 14 per cent, Beijing 13 per cent, Hong Kong eight per cent and Tokyo, down by six per cent.

The Hotels.com Hotel Price Index tracks the real prices paid per hotel room rather than advertised rates. It is based on prices actually paid by customers for 68,000 hotels across 12,500 locations around the world. The international scale of Hotels.com (in terms of both customers and destinations) makes the Hotel Price Index one of the most comprehensive benchmarks available.

David Roche, President, Hotels.com Worldwide, says: “The latest Hotel Price Index shows the economic downturn is now affecting hotel prices on all continents. Our report shows that hoteliers around the world are being forced to cut rates to fill their rooms.”

”The good news is that there are many bargains to be had for travellers. This year really will be the ‘year of the deal’,” he said.

Mr Roche said hotels in destinations traditionally considered pricey for many travellers are now offering considerable savings, making it an ideal time to visit these favoured destinations. Hotel prices are down in cities including Prague (down by 26 per cent), London (24 per cent), New York (22 per cent) and Barcelona, which are down 21 per cent.

Other cities topping the list of the biggest falls in hotel prices include Mumbai (-41%), Reykjavik (-36%), Manila (-32%) and Las Vegas (-31%).

Destinations with the most expensive hotels, despite some significant price falls, include: Moscow (-17%), where you will pay an average of US$296 per room per night; Dubai (-8%) at US$281; New York (-22%) at US$255; and Paris (-10%), where you will pay US$196 per room per night.

“For travellers from any part of the world, this is a great time to explore: hotels have not offered such good value since January 2004. The indications are that 2009 will continue to be a good year for travellers,” Mr Roche concluded.

Source: Click HERE

Motels Baulk at Games Team

The university of life has many tough lessons.

It would appear that the majority of students that will be assembling in New Plymouth in April this year have managed to secure accommodation, however up to 100 mollycoddled Massey University students have been left out in the cold.

What can our "brightest up-and-coming students" learn from this?

Firstly they should have thought ahead and booked accommodation months ago - those that sit back will often miss out. Secondly, publicly whinging will not help your cause - take some accountability and learn to sort it out for yourself. And thirdly life is tough - you will be judged by your past behavior and you must learn to suffer the consequences of your actions.

Long time Taranaki motel association president Deborah Tawa talks straight on behalf of her members "it is a pretty big risk to take when it's your livelihood."

We would suggest that the Massey University students stop moaning and start looking for a tent!

Manawatu Standard

Up to 100 Massey University students are being forced to find their own accommodation for Taranaki's University Games after a team freeze-out by "scared" New Plymouth moteliers.

Massey's student team has been rejected by at least 50 moteliers, who say they do not want students on their premises after they ran amok in Rotorua last year, student representatives say.

Students who still want to compete will have to hunt for individual accommodation before the games begin on April 14.

At the 2008 University Games, Rotorua moteliers complained of hooliganism by some students.

They said rooms were trashed and covered in vomit, and 130 Victoria University students were evicted from two motels.

Massey Palmerston North student president Matt Poucher said it was unbelievable that all students were being judged on the behaviour of a minority.

"I think it's really unfortunate. I mean Taranaki bid for the games on a very 'we want them here' basis.

"Last year involved a very small number of students, from a very small number of associations. As one of our students, you feel like you are being persecuted for something you never did."

He had spoken to numerous accommodation providers. Many were receptive until the word "student" was mentioned.

"They are all good right up to the moment when I said Massey University Students' Association, and then it was an issue.

"These are our brightest up-and-coming students and sportsmen ... for a lot of people it's a stepping stone to bigger things. For sport in New Zealand, it's a really important thing."

Students would now have to take their own cars instead of Massey-provided vans, and it would be harder to muster team spirit, he said.

Taranaki motel association president Deborah Tawa said moteliers had been "scared off" by what happened last year.

"Unfortunately the whole Rotorua story, no matter how out of proportion it may have been blown, did a lot of damage to the University Games.

"Yes, they will have had a hard time, because most moteliers feel pretty strongly about not taking them on. I understand the whole thing was probably overpublicised, but it is a pretty big risk to take when it's your livelihood."

Massey Wellington student president Alex Sorensen said its team had just secured accommodation, but was feeling "dispirited" after months of searching.

University Sport New Zealand executive director Louise Burns said 1300 beds had been filled, and Massey Palmerston North was the only team without a place to stay.

Despite not having a university, Taranaki won hosting rights for the University Games over Palmerston North. It is only the second time since the games began in 1902 that a non-university town will host the games.

Palmerston North lost the bid last year after no council representatives showed up to promote the city in a selection panel's two-day visit. Mayor Jono Naylor was on holiday.

The games, from April 14 to 17, also known as Easter tournament, are the second-biggest annual multisport event in the country.

They are expected to attract 1500 competitors in 25 sports, and pump $1 million into the Taranaki economy.

Source: Click HERE

Monday, March 23, 2009

Motella Not PC

We are honoured to be added to Not PC's blogroll .

Right back at you - we love your work @ www.pc.blogspot.com. . . promoting capitalist acts between consenting adults.

Affordable Holidays Scam?

I must be a target for unsolicited telemarketers. On my residential phone, I received a phone call from a representative of Affordable Holidays (www.affordableholidays.com.au).

This company claims to be based in Maroochydore Queensland Australia.

The offer is to purchase accommodation vouchers that can give the recipient 20 discounted nights of accommodation for up to 6 people in 3 - 5 star motels and hotels in Australia and New Zealand. The vouchers have no expiry date. All this for a one off price of $269.00.

What is a discounted night? Well that was very difficult to ascertain, however depending on the property and time of year this "could be" between 50 - 75%.

Haven't we heard this MO before??

Well yes! This appears to follow a well worn path of dodgy Ozzie scam artists that also sell accommodation vouchers. These would appear to have a dubious worth and be very difficult to redeem. This is covered in our previous posts HERE and HERE.

The highlight of the frenetic, high sales pitch was when the telemarketer directed me to their website www.affordableholidays.com.au to demonstrate the fantastic properties available to me. I requested a motel in my region and you would never guess what motel magically appeared in front of me - my own! I can assure you that my motel does not accept these vouchers...

It would appear that Affordable Holidays are using the same technique as www.holidayfever.com.au and have embedded a search engine of an unsuspecting 3rd party accommodation reseller on their website. This gives the impression that they have more properties in their "voucher scheme" than they really have.

If an accommodation operator comes across a potential guest with these vouchers, then they need to become part of the solution and assist in shutting these shonky Ozzie operators down. We suggest getting as much information from the guest as possible in order to make a written complaint to the Commerce Commission. We suggest that the guest is advised to do the the same.

If enough complaints are received, the Commerce Commission will issue further warnings to the New Zealand public and pass information over to their counterpart in Australia that will be able to take action.

The Commerce Commission can be contacted by:
PO Box 2351
Wellington 6140
Email contact@comcom.govt.nz
Phone 0800 943 600

Tourism industry calls for Kiwis to stay in NZ

Hands up if you can remember this campaign in 1984?

22 March 2009


A call has been made for Kiwis to spend their holidays in New Zealand instead of overseas to save jobs and businesses in the local tourism industry.

One in 10 New Zealanders relies on the tourism industry for work, a lot of people worried by a plummet in overseas visitors last month.

But tourism industry leaders say the answer lies in our own hands.

"We are also looking for New Zealanders to see a bit of New Zealand this year instead of having a winter holiday in the islands," says Bruce Robertson, Hospitality Association of New Zealand.

It is a move supported by the tourism minister.

"If people stay home it might be a nice idea," says John Key.

Tourism businesses are also heavily dependent on our neighbours - the number of Australians who visited last month was 2.5 percent more than the same time last year, and the Government is hoping a new ad campaign will keep them coming.

It is the rest of the world that is letting us down. Visitors from the UK dropped by 15 percent; from the US it was nearly 18 percent fewer; numbers from Korea fell by almost a third, and arrivals from Hong Kong plunged by more than half.

"Any drop in numbers does put jobs at risk, and livelihoods and businesses at risk," says Mr Robertson.

It is reflected behind the doors of hotels up and down the country, which have been battling falling numbers for five years. In 2006, three-quarters of rooms were full. But that has dropped every year since.

And this year, the New Zealand Hotel Council told 3 News most kept the same staffing levels since last winter instead of taking on extra, as they usually do, to cope with the summer demand.

"Tourism is a big part of our economy," says Mr Key. "It's nearly 20 percent of our entire foreign earnings, it is one in 10 jobs in the economy and 10 percent of our economy overall. So when tourism slows down, it does have a negative impact."

And if you think that impact adds up to bargains for holidaymakers, think again. The Tourism Industry Association tells its members not to discount their services, but to add value instead, such as offering a bottle of wine with bookings.

And however bad things seem, it says the full impact of the downturn won't be known until next summer.

Source: Click HERE

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Countdown to "Edison Hour"

Further to our post HERE, we note with amusement that there are a few groups forming in opposition to the smug and insidious Earth Hour.

We like "Human Achievement Hour" that advertises itself as "an annual, one hour long holiday recognizing the various achievements of humankind. It was created by policy staff at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

Our favorite alternative to "Earth Hour" is "Edison Hour" that has been started by The University of Michigan Students of Objectivism as a global rally on Facebook. They are "asking people across the world to turn ON their lights and join together in a celebration of technology and industrialization". They ask that "for one hour, please use as much power and energy as possible in order to celebrate the advancement of mankind. It's as simple as a flip of the switch."

"Edison Hour" seems like a positive name to us and the celebration of Human achievement is a worthy cause. We will be joining them on March 28th, 2009 at 8pm where we will be TURNING OUR LIGHTS ON!

We intend to bathe our motels in the brightest of white light that our electrical switchboards will allow - You are welcome to join us by clicking the "going" button on the following graphic:

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Dutch House Warming - very funny

and the spoof is very cool...

Tourism Bureaucracy

Our tourism and accommodation industry leaders are too quick to assume a 70's union style wage bargaining position and simply demand more funding for the tourism budget without qualification.

The tourism budget should not be immune from scrutiny. Our industry leaders should be joining us in demanding efficiencies and the reduction of wasteful spending within government funded tourism agencies before they whine for further corporate welfare.

In our predictions for 2009, we predicted that a review of services will identify duplication in services provided by Tourism NZ, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise. We expected these entities to be tweaked and some services amalgamated.

We also suggested that Tourism NZ would need to qualify its expenditure line by line alongside other government entities. Individual marketing campaigns, staffing levels and overseas offices will need to demonstrate an acceptable ROI to the New Zealand taxpayer. We expected some reshuffling of roles and budget and also expected a nil or at best a token increase in the tourism budget.

Whaleoil has suggested that we Take the axe to the waste now! and has faithfully typed the following article from Matthew Hooton's NBR column that begins to uncover some of the institutionalised bureaucracy and waste within tourism.
Tourism New Zealand (TNZ) is the government agency that promotes New Zealand globally.

Compared with its competitors in Australia and elsewhere, it operates on a lean budget of just $69 million annually.

In the ten years since then Tourism Minister Lockwood Smith, TNZ chairman Peter Allport and chief executive George Hickton launched their "100% Pure" marketing strategy, annual tourist numbers have leapt 52% to 2.4 million, average length of stay is up 24% and earnings are now $5.9 billion, up a massive 53%.

Taxpayers might think that a junior Treasury analyst could work out that TNZ does a good job, and that a clerk at the Office of the Auditor General could check no one's hand was in the till, but you would be wrong.

In fact, TNZ is monitored and evaluated by its board, its auditors and minister; by the Treasury, the State Services Commission and the Auditor-General; by the ministries of Women's Affairs, Maori Development (TPK), Pacific Island Affairs and Ethnic Affairs; by a select committee of Parliament; and of course by the industry itself, including the Tourism Industry Association, the airlines, the Inbound Tour Operators Council, the Hospitality Association, the Motel Association, Regional Tourism Organisations and by dozens of tourism reporters and publications around the country.

This bureaucracy was not enough for Labour. In 2002, it set up a new Ministry of Tourism to advise the minister on "board appointments, roles and functions" and oversee TNZ's "overall contribution to the government's policy objectives." The ministry has 24 full-time staff and an annual budget of $7 million, more than 10% of all the money TNZ has to do the real work of getting tourists to New Zealand.

As a result, the levels of accountability from the person who places advertisements in the People's Daily now run through TNZ's Shanghai office, to the general manager consumer marketing, to the chief executive, to the board, and now to the ministry, and on to the minister, currently none other than the prime minister himself - all overseen by at least seven other government agencies. Everyone in this process, except perhaps the person who places the ads, earns over $100,000 a year.

Were the Ministry of Tourism simply abolished, and TNZ left to get on with the job, overseen by "just" seven other government agencies, the taxpayer would save $21 million over the next three years, and no one would notice any difference.

The Ministry of Tourism is far from being the worst case. Take the masakari to the corporate welfare programmes of the Ministry for Economic Development and NZ Trade and Enterprise; abolish the pointless Tertiary Education, Families and Electricity commissions; simplify the Emissions Trading Scheme so it won't cost tens of millions to administer; slash the "policy advice streams" of TPK, Youth Development, Women's Affairs and so forth, and you've saved a billion dollars before breakfast.

Not a single doctor, nurse, teacher, police officer, solider or overseas marketing clerk would be affected. There could even be money left over for pay rises.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Fight for Aussie tourists

The government and Air New Zealand will be 50/50 partners in a $5 million stimulus boost to attract tourists from the Australian market to visit our shores.

Air New Zealand's $2.5 million contribution would appear to be "in kind" and consist of $2 million worth of internal travel tagged on to any trans-Tasman fare sold in Australia and 100 trans Tasman flights gifted to NZ RTO's to attract Australian media to visit their region.

The NZ government will contribute the remaining $2.5 million. Ignoring the government's majority shareholding in Air New Zealand, it would be interesting to compare the ROI by Air New Zealand and the New Zealand taxpayer. Unfortunately like most publically funded tourism marketing "investment" this is almost impossible to track.

Trans-Tasman rivalry is apparent with either side of the ditch attempting to out-stimulus the other. With the public attuned to cheap travel deals, hopefully more Australians will be tempted to visit New Zealand, than New Zealanders visiting Australia...


John Key and Air New Zealand will have their work cut out trying to lure more Australian tourists across the ditch.

Combined, the Prime Minister and national carrier today said they would splash out $5 million in an attempt to boost Aussie visitor numbers over autumn and winter as recession grips New Zealand's tourism sector.

But even with the additional money, added to the $9 million annual Tourism New Zealand marketing budget for Australia, they are likely to find the going tough.

Australia's A$83 billion tourism industry is in a slump and it's pulling out all stops to get Australians to travel around their own country. They're also desperately seeking to boost inbound visitor numbers, particularly kiwis.

Australia has an A$135.6 million (NZ$168 million) marketing budget and on top of that each state has its own budget.

South Australia alone, has tipped $4.5 million into its "Isn't It About Time" tourism marketing promotion aimed as much as Australians as international travellers.

Tasmania has just asked for an additional A$6 million for its tourism budget after weathering what it described as a particularly aggressive marketing campaign by New Zealand over summer.New Zealand, by comparison, has an $82.6 million (A$66.3 million) budget and of that $75 million is targeting at international marketing.

Television celebrities Petra Bagust and Robbie Magasivia are frequently on Australian television channels touting New Zealand's numerous attractions.Tourism Australia is forecasting a 4.5 percent drop in tourist numbers this year as its population, hit by recession, stays closer to home. But the number may be much higher, particularly this month and next where numbers are tipped to drop by as much as 15 percent.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics last month said short-term visitors to Australia fell 3.8 per cent in January compared with the year before.But a plus for New Zealand could be a call from Australian employers in many sectors of industry and business for staff to use up their accumulated holiday leave entitlements or risk losing them. On the minus side, even though trans-Tasman airfares are their lowest in more than a decade, the Australian government is considering lifting it's A$47 passenger departure charge, less than a year after it was hiked 24 percent.

This would be yet another sock to passengers wrestling with a barrage of fees and costs.Earlier today Air New Zealand's manager for short haul, Bruce Parton, said the national carrier would work with Tourism New Zealand to maximise opportunities to growing Australian visitor numbers during the traditionally quieter autumn period.

Parton said the majority government owned airline was working through details of a significant marketing campaign to give away more than $2 million in free domestic travel to any of its 27 New Zealand ports when sold in conjunction with a trans-Tasman fare sold in Australia. It's also offering up to 100 free return air fares to regional tourism organisations to attract Australian media to visit their regions.

And Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism John Key said he was handing Tourism New Zealand $2.5 million immediately to boost promotion of New Zealand in Australia.

Key said this represented a more than one quarter increase on the existing $9 million investment in the Australian market. Key said it was being provided now so a campaign plan could be implemented for the low season.

"Australia generates nearly 40 percent of New Zealand's arrivals, and even small gains in demand will make a big difference," said Key.

"New Zealand tourism is operating in a very challenging environment because of the global economic crisis. However, I expect this investment to contribute an immediate injection of around $64 million to the New Zealand economy."

Key said the $2.5 million would be allocated across three areas. These included extending the 100 percent Pure New Zealand and 'What's On' activity in Australia to increase autumn and winter arrivals, increased public relations and working with industry groups to convert awareness of New Zealand into actual travel.
Key said the global recession should result in New Zealand becoming a more attractive holiday option for Australians as they tighten their belts and look at holidaying nearer to home.

"This additional funding will be specifically targeted to encourage them to choose New Zealand."

Source: Click HERE

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Lure of free Skype calls to NZ firms

Will Skype migrate from a tool to keep in contact with friends and family to a widely used and robust business tool?

It will be interesting to gauge the success of this promotion... 

16 March 2009
New Zealand Herald
By Helen Twose

Users of internet calling service Skype have three months of free calls to New Zealand businesses under a deal with Yellow Pages.

Yellow Pages online listings will be available in Skype's directory service and links on yellow.co.nz will connect Skype users to business land lines for free - normally a 4c-per-minute call.

Yellow Pages Group, formerly part of Telecom until its sale in 2007, is increasingly focused on its digital businesses, including online business directory Yellow.

Yellow director Blair Glubb said the tie-up with Skype was designed to get the best possible return on investment for advertisers and make it easier for people to contact New Zealand businesses.

When questioned about who would use Skype rather than a regular phone service to call a Yellow pages number, Glubb said he was convinced it would be a popular option among Skype users.

"If people are used to using Skype to do their calling, it's just going to be an easy thing for them to do at home," said Glubb.

"Our expectation is the uptake of it is going to be really quite big."

He said the trial would assess demand for the Skype hook-up, but the expectation would be to continue if it worked well.

"Online is obviously a huge part of the future of our business, and a huge part of what we want to do as a business is take the information and the content that we've got and actually distribute it far more broadly," said Glubb.

"Skype is one thing, and I think it will be an interesting trial, but essentially the future for us is actually taking the information we've got and pushing it out via a whole bunch of channels."

Source: Click HERE

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Path to Energy Rationing

Dr Muriel Newman is the founder and Director of the New Zealand Centre for Political Research (NZCPR).

The NZCPR is a web-based think tank that takes a research-based approach to public policy matters and encourages the free and open debate of political issues.

Dr Muriel Newman has previously commented on Qualmark's "mindless and costly environmental doctrine"

This week's publication
outlines the view of international experts on how emissions trading schemes don't work.

As if small businesses in New Zealand haven't enough to worry about with the "Global Economic Crisis" those that are still standing in the aftermath could be finished off with with legislation designed to counter the perceived threat of "Global Warming"

The following article is most interesting and I urge you to also read President Klaus’s speech by clicking on the link in the text below:

The Path to Energy Rationing

The 2009 International Climate Change Conference, hosted by the Chicago-based free market think tank the Heartland Institute, was held in New York last week. It drew together over 700 attendees including world-leading climate scientists, legislators, researchers, policy-makers, and media representatives to share new research and fresh insights into the climate change controversy.

What emerged is a very clear appreciation that the debate over man-made global warming has moved on from being about the climate and science, to being about political power and control. At stake is whether individuals will have the freedom to improve their living standards through access to unlimited affordable energy, or whether energy access will be restricted by the decree of the United Nations and the environmental forces that drive it.

Energy has long been the engine of mankind’s progress. From a world of manual labour, progressive nations have embraced energy-intensive technologies to build the sophisticated living standards enjoyed today. In more and more countries, citizens now take for granted access to fresh water and sanitation, light and warmth, computers and cars, and a plethora of labour-saving devices that previous generations could not have even dreamt of.

But all of this is under threat from the global warming environmental movement, which is driven by the radical ideology that the planet needs to be saved from humans. While the former Labour Government certainly embraced this dangerous ideology, unfortunately for New Zealand, the indications are that the new National Government intends to go down the same route and impose an energy tax in the form of an Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).

There is no sound scientific reason to introduce an energy tax into New Zealand. Taxes are only implemented for the purpose of raising money for the government by making the taxed item – in this case energy – more expensive. And if energy becomes too expensive, not only will it dangerously lower living standards, but it will also put the country on the path to energy rationing. In other words, the introduction of an ETS, would seriously contravene National’s 2008 election campaign promise of lower taxes and higher living standards.

While New Zealand’s isolation from the rest of the world is often regarded as an advantage, it can be a real drawback when it shields us from matters that should be of wide public interest. With an ETS on National’s agenda, one issue that we should be closely monitoring is the impact of the European Union’s (EU) Emissions Trading Scheme on member countries. To put it bluntly, with the carbon prices having collapsed not once but twice, an ever-growing bureaucracy, rising energy costs, massive job losses and no appreciable reduction in carbon emissions, the EU’s scheme has been an unmitigated disaster.

Roger Helmer, a UK Conservative Party representative in the European Parliament, explained to the conference that the costs of the European Union’s ETS “
are estimated at around €73 billion across the EU, and £9 billion in the UK. It is estimated that this will add around US$300 to the average household electricity bill, and will drive an extra million people in the UK into fuel poverty (where fuel costs exceed 10% of disposable income). The programme will result in unintended consequences and perverse incentives. It will introduce gross distortions into the energy market.”[2]

Roger reminded the conference that if it wasn’t for taxpayer subsidies, nobody in the world would be building windfarms, and he concluded his presentation with words of warning for New Zealand and every other country that is unlucky enough to have a government that is planning to introduce an emissions trading scheme (also known as a Cap’n’Trade scheme): “I've seen the future of Cap'n'Trade, and believe me, it doesn't work.”

In his presentation to the conference, Dr Gabriel Calzada, President of the Spanish think tank the Juan de Mariana Institute and associated professor in economics at the King Juan Carlos University, asked whether the EU’s/Kyoto’s emissions trading scheme had lived up to the promise that it would reduce warming and carbon dioxide in a cost effective manner, while creating jobs. His categorical answer was NO!

Dr Calzada presented evidence that total EU emissions had not decreased since the Kyoto Protocol was signed, but had increased at double the rate of the United States with emissions in Spain increasing by a massive 52 percent! On top of that, the cost to the Spanish business sector, which the government promised would not exceed €85 million annually, has risen to more than €3 billion with some companies being forced to close down production because of a lack of access to greenhouse gas allocations, while other companies were relocating overseas because of the ETS burden and related blackouts as well as high electricity costs - not to mention a Kyoto rationing scheme that was placing Spanish industries “in a very grave situation”.

On top of that, Spain, eager to comply with EU renewable energy targets, introduced subsidies of 90 percent over market prices for windpower and 575 percent over market prices for solar power. The predictable result is a massive waiting list of Spaniards wanting to get into the renewable energy business! With some 50,000 green jobs created as a result of over €28 billion in subsidies, each green job has cost a massive €500,000! Further, new
research (to be released later this month) will show that for every green job that has been created through subsidies, more than 2 jobs have been destroyed in the real economy.

To date, the only European Union leader prepared to take a principled stand on the global warming controversy has been the President of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Klaus. President Klaus reported to the conference that in his country, a new public opinion poll shows that only 11 per cent of people believe that man has a significant influence in warming the climate. With a President who has been very outspoken about
how global warming alarmism is essentially an attack on freedom and living standards, it is little wonder that his public are extremely skeptical of global warming propaganda.

In his keynote address to the conference – which is this week’s NZCPR Guest Commentary – President Klaus, who is also the current President of the European Union, explained how the United Nations IPCC is a massive bureaucracy that is generously funded by those green businesses that have a great deal to gain from maintaining high levels of public fear over global warming alarmism. He also expressed his disappointment that no other leader was prepared to stand up against the propaganda:

“A few weeks ago, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, I spent three hours at a closed session of about sixty people – heads of states and governments with several IPCC officials and ‘experts’ like Al Gore, Tony Blair and Kofi Annan. The session was chaired by the Danish Prime Minister because its main topic was how to prepare the new Kyoto, the December 2009 UN-Copenhagen summit.

“It was a discouraging experience. You looked around in vain to find at least one person who would share your views. There was no one. All the participants of the meeting took man-made global warming for granted, were convinced of its dangerous consequences and more or less competed in one special discipline – whether to suggest a 20, 30, 50 or 80% CO2 emissions cut as an agreed-upon, world-wide project. It was difficult to say anything meaningful and constructive. Among other things I tried to turn their attention to was the argument that they made such radical proposals even though their own countries had not fulfilled even the relatively modest Kyoto Protocol obligations. There was no reaction to that. After the session, one friendly looking president of a relatively large non-European country told me that he had never heard anything like my views, but was interested and wanted to hear more. I gave him my book Blue Planet in Green Shackles!” To read President Klaus’s speech, click HERE.

The former Chief of Staff to President George Bush (Snr), Hon John H Sununu, focused his presentation on the politics of global warming. He explained, “the alarmists have learned well from the past. They saw what motivates policy makers is not necessarily just hard science, but a well orchestrated symphony of effort. Their approach is calculated and deliberate. Remember the quote from one of the most outspoken alarmists, We offer up scary scenarios, make simplified dramatic statements, and make little mention of the doubts we have.”

Dr Sununu suggested that if we are to avert a policy disaster, “We need to recognize that for at least most of the next decade the real battle will be to win over public opinion and influence the policy makers”.

All around the world public opinion on the importance of climate change is falling. The onset of the global economic crisis has taken the steam out of the issue reducing its importance in the eyes of the public. Not only that, but there is also evidence from the environmental movement that once people have seen the ‘other side’ of the climate change argument twice - that nature, not man, influences the climate - they then become more cynical and tend to dispute man's role.

But in spite of these changes, bureaucrats and politicians committed to pushing through climate change legislation will not be easily sidelined. Nor will the vested interest groups that have grown strong over recent years. That’s why your effort to help sway public opinion is needed now - while this issue is still being considered by a Select Committee.

Armed with the knowledge that people begin to question global warming propaganda if they have been exposed to alternative views twice, why not send this newsletter on to everyone on your mailing list? Or print it and pass it on to people who you know would be concerned about higher energy prices.

Why not make your opinion count by writing a letter to the editor of your local newspaper or calling talkback radio? And most importantly, why not visit the Parliament page of the NZCPR website (click HERE) for the email addresses of MPs to share your views with them directly?

I will leave the final comments to Dr Benny Peiser of John Moores University in the UK, who is an international expert on climate change policy. He explained that with climate policy now undermining “the very fabric of the EU” and with Kyoto undermining “the EU’s international competitiveness”, “there is now a developing consensus within EU governments that its unilateral guiding principle has to be abandoned”.

Dr Peiser is predicting that the cost of Europe’s energy policy is giving rise to a political backlash in many European countries and that, “Above all, Europe’s politicians have recognized that climate taxes have turned to political liabilities that may undermine economic stability and their chances of re-election”.

Any politician wanting to introduce an ETS into New Zealand would do well to reflect on that reality.

All articles can be found on the NZCPR RESEARCH PAGE - click HERE

1.Heartland Institute Climate Change Conference Proceedings
2.Roger Helmer, The Emissions Trading Scheme
3.Dr Gabriel Calzada, Spain's New Economy: Boom & Bust of Spanish Renewable Miracle
4.Hon John H. Sununu, The Politics of Global Warming
5.Dr Benny Peiser, The Crisis of EU Climate Policy

Law Society criticizes S92A

The controversial Copyright Act (Section 92A), which was to come into force on 28 February dictated that Internet users’ accounts would have been terminated as a result of unproven accusations of piracy.

The Anti-S92 "black-out" brigade led by popular blogs assisted common sense to reign with the government delaying implementation this onerous Act.

The protests were colorful, used strong emotive language and initial relied heavily on social networks to gain momentum. It's good to have the support of the Auckland District Law Society that gives a cut and dry perspective on the ridiculous "guilty until proven innocent" proposed new copyright law.


If you think the debate over section 92A of New Zealand's new copyright law is getting a bit emotional, you are probably right.

Now a more sober group, the Auckland District Law Society, has pointed to issues in the legislation that it says could undermine "fundamental precepts of our common law system".

In its submission to the Telecommunications Carriers' Forum (TCF), which has been trying to draft a code to implement the law, the society's Law and Technology Committee says it considers S92A is out of step with sections 92B through to E in not reflecting recognised safe harbour provisions for ISPs.

It says s92A amounts to a mechanism whereby the copyright holder, an unrelated third party to the contract between an ISP and their customers, can interfere with that contract and this could amount to a tort of interference with contractual relations.

The Society is also critical of the Copyright (New Technologies) Amendment Act's definition of an ISP. It says all manner of businesses and organisations are included in the definition. An attempt in the TCF's draft code to deal with this by defining a "downstream ISP" is not adequate and a better approach would be to amend the legislation to exclude such organisations from the definition.

Source: Click HERE

Rates Blowout

We should be outraged with the announcement that Local authorities have managed to increase rates by more than twice the rate of inflation last year.

Accommodation providers and other small businesses bear the brunt of local body excess and have a vested interest in the efficiencies of local government.

We like the rhetoric of new local government minister Rodney Hide that has said that councils need to to focus on core activities, cull any luxuries and cap rates at the rate of inflation – or less.

For the benefit of their members, our industry leaders should be at the forefront of working with Hide to ensure that he follows through with his words.


The country's local authorities hiked rates by more than twice the rate of inflation in the year to December.
Statistics New Zealand figures out today show rates rose 8.1 percent, or by $72.3 million to $962.8 million, last year compared to a 3.4 percent rise in the Consumer Price Index.

Overall the country's 12 regional councils and 74 territorial authorities recorded a $111.5 million, or 7.1 percent, operating revenue rise in the December quarter from the December 2007 quarter to $1.689 billion. Aside from rates, government grants and subsidies were the main contributor to higher revenue, up 28.5 percent, or $55.1 million.

The increased rates charges and more government money saw local authorities produce a $51 million seasonally adjusted profit in the December quarter. This was, however, down $13.5 million - or 21 percent - from the December 2007 quarter as councils spent $125 million more than they had a year earlier.

Source: Click HERE

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Motel Blaze Captured on Security Camera

The following surveillance video captures a dramatic scene when fire breaks out in a second floor room at the 12-unit Jones Lake Motel in Moncton New Brunswick Canada.

The fire that was ruled as being accidental, started in Room 10 of the building. The video shows 2-men dragging another man from where the fire started before police and fire services arrived. 18 other people were evacuated from the building.

Friday, March 13, 2009

I need an iPhone!

Air New Zealand have introduced new technology to allow users with iPhones to download their boarding passes that can be scanned at kiosks or at the boarding gate and keep up to date with flight details.

With 30,000 upwardly mobile Kiwis with an iPhone, Air NZ have captured an important market of high-end users that are finatical about their device and will flock to the new service.

We wonder how and when this technology will be applied to accommodation reservations. 

I've decided that I now need an iPhone!

Media Release
13 March 2009

iPhone users rush to experience Air New Zealand’s new mPass technology

More than 1500 Air New Zealand customers embraced the new mPass for the iPhone in the last seven days as the airline continues to lead the market in providing a user-friendly and time-effective check-in experience to its passengers.

The mPass application was released for download on the Apple Store site late last month and has so far generated considerable interest in the marketplace, being the number one download in the travel category, and the top business application download in all categories (5th overall) for free downloads.

mPass allows users to download their Air New Zealand boarding passes onto their mobile phone as well as view up to date flight booking details. The application removes the need for a paper ticket, and makes it quicker for customers to check-in, by generating a bar code that can be scanned at kiosks or customers can make their way straight to the boarding gate to scan their mPass if they only have carry-on luggage.

Group General Manager Short Haul Airline Bruce Parton said the mPass is just one of the features of the improved domestic check-in experience, that Air New Zealand’s technology-savvy passengers can take advantage of and is encouraging people who have previously flown with other airlines to make the switch to Air New Zealand.

“We are constantly looking at ways to improve our customer experience – from booking through to boarding – meaning that our valued passengers can spend the minimum amount of time possible at the airport and more time living their lives.”

We’ve already welcomed a number of our competitors’ customers, who have literally chopped up their loyalty cards and made the shift to an airline that has no hidden costs, values their frequent travellers and listens to what they want.”

mPass was originally developed for high-end Java based phones with the iPhone version created with an external partner, then adapted by Air New Zealand’s in-house IT Innovations and Ventures team, to appeal to New Zealand’s 30,000 iPhone users.

On a global scale, the technology has so impressed that it was recently used as an “Apple vs Google” case study by information technology research and advisory firm, Gartner Group, at the annual Wireless & Mobile Summit, in Chicago in February.

To download the mPass application onto your iPhone, go to your iTunes store and keyword search ‘Air New Zealand mPass’.

Source: Click HERE

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