Peter Dunne was disappointed the IRD may have shut out local firms from bidding for its NZ$1.5 billion IT project, Paymark reported a slow-down in consumer spending in September, the Commerce Commission only warned SkyTV over its deals with telcos, Flybuys appointed a new CEO, Steven Joyce argued the regions were getting their fair share of government money and the NZ Super Fund's Adrian Orr was appointed to a side gig as the deputy chair of the world's sovereign wealth fund club.
Dunne Disappointed - United Future leader (and former Revenue Minister) Peter Dunne said he always intended that local IT firms would have a major role in the Inland Revenue business transformation process and he would be "extremely disappointed" if, since his resignation in June, there had been "a change of heart by either the government or Inland Revenue" to go with large international providers instead.
Inland Revenue has invited expressions of interest from companies able to assist with the project (which could cost as much as NZ$1.5 billion over 10 years) with a clause requiring bidders to have "led or managed the overall design and implementation" of a NZ$100 million-plus major transformation programme for a national tax authority, and to have designed and implemented a national-level social policy transformation programme, which would preclude local firms from bidding.
"All the work we did in terms of developing and strengthening Inland Revenue's relationships and working links with the local IT industry was about preparing for the role they could play", said Dunne. "I was all for giving them the opportunity to show what they were capable of ... I also understood this was the view of the Prime Minister as well".
Spending growth slows - The America's Cup races, bad weather and the NZ$33 million Lotto jackpot may have contributed to a slowdown in general consumer spending growth during September, said Paymark Acting CEO Paul Whiston. Spending through the Paymark network, which processes around three quarters of all electronic transactions in New Zealand, was up 5.3% nationally from September 2012 to September 2013, but sectors which have been strong performers over the past year (floor covering outlets, appliance stores and hardware outlets) saw their growth slow to +3.4%, +5.9% and +4% respectively.
Spending was down at clothing stores (-2.6%) and footwear shops (-1.2%). The worst week for retailers was the week of the final America's Cup races and the Lotto jackpot. “Whatever the cause, I can report that spending growth has been a strong 9.1% in the first week of October, suggesting a quick bounce back to the growth momentum that had developed", said Whiston.
Just a little slap for Sky - After an 18 month investigation into Sky Television's contracts with telecommunications retail service providers (RSPs) the Commerce Commission concluded that the contracts were likely to have breached the Commerce Act by being anti-competitive - but let Sky off with a warning.
The contracts with the RSPs included restrictions on them obtaining content from sources other than Sky (such as Netflix or Hulu) which "had the purpose, effect or likely effect of substantially lessening competition" said Commission chairman Mark Berry.
"However due to market developments the key commitments Sky has with RSPs are unlikely to continue to have the same effect". Berry said a warning letter and notice that the Commission would continue to monitor Sky's contracts was the prudent course of action. He added legal action against the company "could take several years to conclude, costing several million dollars and finish in an era that is likely to be vastly different to the one we lived in when this breach occurred".
But Labour's Broadcasting Spokesman Kris Faafoi said the ruling was a cop-out by the Commission and effectively a "slap with a wet bus ticket" for Sky.
Loyalty NZ appointment - Flybuys operating company Loyalty New Zealand announced the appointment of Stephen England-Hall as CEO. England-Hall returns to New Zealand after stints with social media and technology services company Syncapse and Razorfish UK.
Fair go for regions - the first report into central government spending region by region showed that taxpayers's dollars were evenly distributed, said Economic Development Minister Stephen Joyce. The Regional Government Expenditure Report commissioned by Treasury and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment estimated all government expenditure "from building roads and hospitals, to social welfare payments, education and research and development. The results ... show that regional expenditure broadly reflects the size of the population in each region", said Joyce.
Orr moonlighting - Chief Executive of the NZ Superannuation Fund Adrian Orr was elected deputy chairman of the International Forum of Sovereign Wealth Funds (IFSWF), a voluntary association of 25 sovereign wealth funds including Australia's Future Fund, the Kuwait Investment Authority, Oil Revenues Stabilization Fund of Mexico, the China Investment Corporation, and Norway's Government Pension Fund. Orr, who is a former deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank, will take on the role in addition to his NZ Super Fund responsibilities.