Category Archives: Business & Finance

Revolutionising the Way We Shop: Products Talking to One Another

Presentation to ‘Connecting the Dots’ a conference to celebrate the 30th anniversary of global standards (bar codes) in New Zealand. 25 February 2009. Keywords: Business & Finance;  I cant remember bar codes and scanners being introduced into my shopping life. Except when I try really hard I cant REALLY remember what went before. Thirty years…
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Put the Boot in

Public-private partnerships are not free lunches.    Listener: 20 September, 2008.    Keywords: Business & Finance;     Wastewater from my dwelling goes out through a public-private partnership (PPP) scheme called “Boot” (Build-Own-Operate-Transfer) in which the sewerage plant was built and is owned and operated by a private company. Ultimately, the plant will be transferred…
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The P Word

Public ownership is not as important as public control.    Listener: 26 January, 2008.    Keywords: Business & Finance;    Forty years ago Arnold Nordmeyer, then leader of the Labour Opposition, asked a group of students whether they wanted to nationalise corner dairies. His question has haunted me ever since. We don’t want publicly owned…
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The Price Of Privatisation

Are public-private partnerships the next problem? Listener: 2 December, 2006. Keywords:  Business & Finance At the launch of Treasury veteran Richard Shallcrass’s memoir Family Silver, David Caygill, who had been one of Shallcrass’s Finance Ministers, rejected the suggestion in David Lange’s autobiography that there might have been corruption in the privatising of state assets. Shallcrass, who…
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So You Don’t Get It?

Being brilliant does not mean you are right.  Listener: 23 September, 2006.  Keywords: Business & Finance;  Like most senior executives, Enron’s Jeffrey Skilling could be charming, creative, inspiring and playful; he could also be moody, arrogant and intolerant. Described by some as “incandescently brilliant”, and “the smartest person I ever met”, he saw intelligence as…
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Unbungling: Can We Catch the World in Broadband?

Listener: 1 July, 2006.  Keywords: Business & Finance;  It is not the first time that Telecom New Zealand has been “unbundled”. When it was a state-owned enterprise in the 1980s it was directed by its owner (the government) to provide the local-loop lines, which connect households and businesses to the telephone exchanges, separately from the…
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Enron and the Law

Regardless of whether the executive committed felonies, the company broke fundamental laws.

Listener: 28 January, 2006.

Keywords: Business & Finance;

I don’t know whether Ken Lay and Jeffrey Skilling, top executives of Enron, the giant US energy company that crashed in 2001, will be found guilty of the various felonies for which they are about to be tried. That is a question of what they did, and the intricacies of any statute law that they may have broken.

The Rise and Fall Of Department Stores:why Did They Come Unstuck?

Listener: 3 December, 2005.

Once in the heart of our cities were department stores. Many readers will have visited them as children, accompanied by mother, aunt or grandmother. Perhaps you played in the children’s area while they were shopping. There was the excitement of the lift with its own operator, and one even had an escalator that was so grand to ride. And sometimes – not always, and you had to be especially good – you were taken to the graciously tableclothed tearoom for orange cordial and a generous slice of that very special cake.

Business Vision: How to Get Government and Business to Work Together?

Listener: 19 November, 2005.

Keywords: Business & Finance; Political Economy & History;

One might think there is a standoff between government and business. A fortnight before the election, a Business Herald “Mood of the Boardroom” feature showed that many chief executives were antipathetic towards the Labour-led government and willing to say so in public. The impression was reinforced by leaks showing that business and a business lobby group had been involved in the making of Don Brash, leader of the National Party.

The Land-rover That Time Forgot (review)

The Trekka Dynasty, by Todd Niall (Iconic Publishing, $29.95)

Listener 6 November, 2004.

Keywords: Business & Finance; Political Economy & History;

Making the boxy Trekka the centre of New Zealand’s contribution to the 2003 Venice Biennale bemused New Zealanders, as well as those who visited. Apparently artist Michael Stevenson saw it as a story about a small nation building an industrial economy, to be swept away by 1984. An easy image perhaps, but a superficial one.