Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Everyone goes through big step changes in their life!!!!

One of these is turning 65 when every one of us becomes eligible for superannuation. I hasten to point out that in this world of rapidly changing demographics, increased life expectancy and, at least in the case of Christchurch, increasing labour shortages, turning 65 and considering retirement are unrelated issues!

Somehow, someone in our bureaucracy knows when you are turning 65 and a couple of months before your birthday you are sent a letter advising you to register for superannuation early and preferably online. “If you are late there will be no back payments”!
This is where the  systems starts to break down.

In my case it was impossible to register online because the street I live in was not on the “Scroll Down” list of streets online and the website does not allow you to type your street name in. Further, once you have reached that blockage point there is no going on. The process is stalled and you cannot proceed online. Stupid, that is!

When I described this to a “super” official I was told that they heard that the online registration was not user friendly but as employees they were forbidden to access it.

I think the website is one of the most unfriendly I have come across.

LESSON ONE: All  Work and Income staff should be encouraged to dummy register on the site just see how clumsy it is.

While  encouraging people to register on line, the system makes it almost impossible to do so and I imagine most approaching 65 would find it unfriendly, extremely time consuming and downright difficult.

LESSON TWO: Come on guys. In this day and age online registration should be a doddle!

Regardless of whether you are registering online or not, there is still a requirement to furnish a significant number of original documents to show you exist, that your bank account is real and that your partner is a certain age, shares your residence etc. None of those can be executed on line so a visit to Work and Income  is inevitable, in any event.

LESSON THREE:  How can that documentation support system be made more friendly? Do we really need to produce three means of identification (for ourselves and another three for our spouses) when I can cross a border or withdraw all my money with just one?

But it gets  worse.

I took everything I thought I needed into Work and Income. I arrived there at 9.00am and was dismayed to find the office opened at 9.30am! Really? In this day and age? After a wait outside and then inside in a queue, I had my filled out form and supporting documentation all checked and ticked off. Good to go, I thought, but no!

Ten days later I was rung by some other “checker” somewhere else in New Zealand, who told me I needed  evidence from my bank that  my bank account details were legitimate. Hey, I thought furnishing a copy of a bank statement at the time I registered might suffice, but no! So a request from me, to the bank to contact work and income to verify  bank account details. More time wasting and resource expenditure. Surely that must the deal done! But wait, there’s more!

Fourteen days days  before I am eligible to  start receiving super I am called by a different Work and Income employee (this one based in Blenheim) to be advised that they require me to present my wife's original birth certificate to a work and income office in Christchurch. Why? Three forms of ID required for her and she  is not even getting superannuation! Another visit and another queue.

(Why do they have full time security guards hovering around those queues I wonder?)

Why does it take three separate checks in the system to determine this is needed and why is it needed anyway?

Apparently all of the amassed information must now go past some very strict unforgiving official who can make or break my deal/day.

I find it really  hard to believe that in this  modern age of customer service we are still suffering under an archaic, clumsy system.

LESSON FOUR: Be very afraid because you will be going through it sooner or later!

Monday, 16 September 2013

An exchange of emails with Ian Taylor in San Francisco!

My blog this week  is an exchange of emails I have had with Ian Taylor who is San Francisco.
Please read on! I reformatted the emails so they flow in the correct  chronological order.

Hi everyone from San Francisco

As everyone starts to get excited about the potential for ETNZ to bring the Cup home ( and I know it is still early days) I believe most in the country, including our ministry charged with Innovation, Design and, dare I say it, Science has missed the whole point of what is happening here. This is not a story about a boat race. This is a story of world class, world leading technology, innovation, engineering and design. This is the story that should be be being told - win or lose on the water this team has been a shining example, an eye opener, on what we are capable of. And as Lord Ernest Rutherford said: "We haven't got the money so we have to think." That should be our mantra. In a place like this, next door to Silicon Valley, he should have been our talisman.

We aren't winning this race solely because of our sailors. We are winning it because of innovation on board the boat that not even Oracle had thought of. A leading edge to the wing that can be twisted to optimise wind flow across the sail. A self setting gyb that gains the crew critical seconds in tacks and gybes and a fibre optic network on board that fires updated data to screens around the boat all built in a container on Pier 32 by 3 guys. One of them an American genius attracted to live in New Zealand because of the culture of this team and the beauty of our country. Check out the engineers setting this boat up every morning - not a spanner in sight - all hand held tablets. And we bemoan the $36 million investment made in this technology company called ETNZ!

As proponents of a Ministry charged with promoting our country as a leader in innovation, technology and smart thinking we should be shouting this from the roof tops. Instead our PM says we haven't achieved anything unless we win this thing. We shoudn't even be here but we are. And yesterday you saw the panic that this technology has put into Oracle Team US. 

What has brought me to this is an interview I did last night with two ignorant, dismissive commentators on a fully tax payer funded radio station. 

You can hear that interview at  at 15:55

You might also like to check out something else special about this event. It can be found at

Some background on this. We sought funding to produce because we thought it was an important story to tell in the context of the Cup and our history as a Nation of Sailors. No one would fund it so we made it anyway.

Two guys from Google saw it at the waka two days ago and suggested we put it on You tube. We did. As at this stage it has had over 16,000 views, it has been picked up by Louis Vuitton for their guests, Emirates has requested a copy to show on their planes, it has been Face Booked linked all around the globe and the Warehouse and Noel Leeming chains are now screening it in their store around the country. It is being used to open hosted evenings in the Waka and the official AC Park big screen has requested a copy and, what is most heartening, everyone has identified the fact that no other country or billionaire involved in the America Cup could tell a story as powerful as this. An unbroken line of design, engineering, technology, seamanship and navigation from our maori ancestors who sailed the Pacific to Aotearoa to this hi tech flying machine called Aotearoa, representing us so superbly on the waters off San Francisco Bay.

There are times I feel ashamed at the way we treat our real innovators. This is one of them.

Cheers - Ian

From Peter Townsend to Ian Taylor

September 13 2013

Excellent content here Ian!

I have listened to the Radio link and cringed.

I have  watched the  YouTube link and felt inspired
I have read your  words and feel humbled and somewhat ashamed.
Your story  needs to find a  far wider audience and I hope it does.
Is it OK that I spread this around a bit?
Great to see that technology in action again this morning (Friday).
Greetings and congratulations from all here at The Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce.
We are listening!
Peter T 

Please do. I  am appearing on The Nation to discuss this this weekend. I have had really wonderful feedback and half an hour ago one of the commentators rang and apologised.

Cheers - Ian

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

AUT Business School Excellence In Business Support Awards Winner

The Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce won the New Business Excellence Foundation Not for Profit Award at the 2013 AUT Business School Excellence in Business Support Awards in Auckland on Thursday 5 September 2013.

At the same event Peter Townsend, Chief Executive of the Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce was awarded the Fuji Xerox Leadership (Individual) Award. 

The Awards were presented at a Gala Dinner attended by 750 dignatories, involved 46 finalists in various categories from across New Zealand, all involved in various forms of business support.  The Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce and Peter Townsend’s Awards reflected the Chamber’s role in business support and recovery in post-earthquake Christchurch.  Particular mention was made of the role that the Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce played together with Canterbury Development Corporation in Recover Canterbury and the fact that the Chamber had been a constant safe pair of hands for the business community since 4 September 2010 earthquake.

The Leadership Award accorded to Peter Townsend was in recognition of the role he has played in leading the Chamber and in particular the intense activity across the Christchurch business community since September 2010. 

“We are really proud to have received these Awards in recognition to the tenacity and resilience of the Christchurch business community.” said Peter Townsend.  “There are extraordinary tales to tell and it is good to see some of them told in Auckland, at a prestigious event which has no doubt spread the word about what is happening in post-earthquake Christchurch.” said Peter Townsend.

Leeann Watson, the General Manager of the Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce who accepted the Not for Profit Award on behalf of the Chamber stated that the Award recognised in particular the work that had been done by Recover Canterbury, a joint venture with the Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce and the Canterbury Development Corporation, as well as the dedicated staff of the Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce in ensuring that business outcomes in the community were well supported and optimised. 

“It is a tribute to the economic infrastructure of our city as well as key stakeholders including Central Government and Local Government, that the rest of New Zealand has recognised all of the good work going on in the pastoral care of businesses and the rebuild of Christchurch,” said Peter Townsend.  “These Awards are not just a tribute to the Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce.  They are, indeed, a recognition by the rest of New Zealand of the business response to the Canterbury earthquakes.”

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Last Friday I attended the SCCC Business Excellence Awards

The South Canterbury Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards were held in Timaru.

It was a sell-out evening of celebration. A wide range of top quality businesses, covering the whole economic spectrum of South Canterbury were featured. Every category from Emerging Business through Hospitality, Tourism, Manufacturing, Primary Produce, Retail, Construction and Service was well represented. It is always a pleasure to be involved in these events and see what really does make up the regional business matrix. As a judge, I was especially impressed this year with the number of finalists that emanated from the smaller regional communities of South Canterbury. On the way home I did some secret shopping at the Fairlie Bakehouse, one of this year’s winners. Situated on the main street of Fairlie, with a top quality  bakery offering, it is well worth a stop if you are passing through.

I took advantage of my trip south to spend a little time in the Mackenzie Country  and  once again was reminded of just what a beautiful country we live in.