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  • 18 Jul 2019 10:58 AM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Address to the Centre for Strategic and International Studies Washington by The Rt Hon Winston Peters

    16 July 2019 

    ‘Enhanced Pacific Partnerships’

    Good afternoon. Welcome to Ambassadors and representatives from embassies in Washington, D.C. including Ambassador Rosemary Banks and the New Zealand Embassy, as well as US Government officials. Greetings also to members of civil society, academia and the business community, and a particular thanks to Mike Green from the Centre for Strategic and International Studies for hosting this event.  

    We come to Washington with a dual purpose. On Thursday our delegation will be attending the Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom. As a country that is a strong supporter of freedom of religion or belief, and of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, New Zealand stands with all countries who share this foundation stone of freedom.

    In New Zealand we have also witnessed the debasement of these ideals when a stranger to our country unleashed his cowardly violence on innocent members of Christchurch’s Muslim community peacefully honouring their religious beliefs. We understand, in a way previously unimaginable for ordinary New Zealanders to grasp, the evil consequences of religious hatred and violence.

    That tragedy, however, only reinforces our deeply-held belief in religious tolerance and freedom. So we come to Washington to listen and share our experiences.

    We are especially admiring of the United States and the contribution two of its Founders made to the advancement of religious liberty and democratic freedoms.  

    Thomas Jefferson, who could choose from any number of historical achievements to have chiselled on his tombstone, included instead his authorship of the Statute of Virginia for religious freedom.

    As president, Jefferson elaborated on his commitment to freedom of conscience when he addressed the Danbury Baptist Association, saying ‘Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make ‘no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.’’

    So, if politics and religion are two subjects usually best left to the conscience of each of us, sometimes the creative fusion of both can lead to freedom’s march for all of us. A good example was James Madison’s study of the early Puritan communities and their eventual fragmentation across the New England landscape.

    Observing that a competitive balance was achieved among rival Puritan communities, one that prevented any one faction from dominating the others, Madison, in Federalist paper No. 10, unfurled the brilliant insight that republican government cast over the extended sphere of an entire continent would similarly achieve a balance of competing voices in the many states to avoid domination by any one particular interest or region over the whole.

    Religious freedom and pluralism are therefore two pillars of the foundations underpinning both United States and New Zealand-styled democracy

    One can also add a third and fourth pillar; namely, respect for, and protection of, human rights and promoting and maintaining the rule of law. Together, these strong foundations see our countries as two of only nine that have held continuous democratic elections since 1854.

    There is a fifth pillar that connects our two democracies. That is the promotion of free and fair trade, which is our second purpose for coming to Washington. This objective is an old one for New Zealand, with former Finance Minister Walter Nash meeting President Roosevelt and members of the US State Department and Treasury in 1939 ‘with a view of paving the way ultimately for a reciprocal trade treaty.’ Some very good things, as is said back in New Zealand, take time, but as we said in Washington last December, time, tide and political change wait for no man or woman. Now is the time to act.  

    At last year’s 6th US-ASEAN summit Vice President Pence conveyed President Trump’s offer ‘to make bilateral trade agreements with any Indo-Pacific nation that wants to be our partner and that will abide by the principles of fair and reciprocal trade.’

    We stand here to say New Zealand is uniquely ready in our fulsome record and attitude to ‘free and fair’ trade to take up the President’s offer.         

    In a December 2018 speech here in Georgetown we laid out our perspective on the geo-strategic rationale for greater US engagement in the Pacific. Six months on we re-affirm the logic of that speech while noting real progress in collaborative efforts among like-minded partners including New Zealand and the US to work together to enhance regional security and developmental assistance in the Pacific.

    For example, last year the United States, New Zealand, Australia and Japan announced a partnership with Papua New Guinea which aims to connect 70% of its population to electricity to the people of PNG - currently only 13% of the population have reliable access to electricity.

    A key point made in the Georgetown Address was that partners need to support each other economically – through free trade and by understanding each other’s economic imperatives – because only by doing so can we achieve our collective ambitions to strengthen the economic engines that drive our mutual ambitions to lead, compete better and, ultimately, see the Pacific region and each other prosper.

    While the geo-strategic rationale remains as strong as ever we’d like to focus today on the economic grounds for advancing a bilateral free trade discussion between our two countries. We want to begin by saying to our friends in Washington that the United States’ limited engagement in trade agreements in the Indo-Pacific is of real concern to New Zealand.

    First, however, let us acknowledge that the Indo‑Pacific region has benefited significantly from the US presence over the last 70 years. Indeed, the US commitment in our hemisphere has brought strategic stability, which has in turn allowed the region to address many of its internal fault‑lines – for example, through the establishment of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN.  

    That stable presence has allowed countries to focus on improving the living standards of their people, largely through domestic economic reforms, and also through negotiating agreements to reduce and remove barriers to trade and investment.

    These agreements have been achieved through a range of different vehicles. Bilateral agreements have been one important platform for improving prosperity across the region. Examples include the United States’ Free Trade Agreement with Australia, or New Zealand’s FTA with China. 

    Multi‑country agreements have also had their place. The ASEAN Free Trade Area is one example of a successful regional trade and economic agreement. The Comprehensive and Progressive Trans‑Pacific Partnership Agreement – a high quality deal between 11 countries across Asia-Pacific and the Americas – is another. 

    Agreements such as these have a serious impact on patterns of commerce and investment in the Indo‑Pacific. Over the past two decades we have also seen a growing number of countries in the region conclude a significant number of trade and economic agreements with each other, all which reduce barriers to trade and investment between them.

    The upshot is that, for those countries which have engaged in this manner, they are able to move goods, services and investment across each other’s borders with lower costs, and much more business certainty.

    And the converse is also true; for those countries not participating in these negotiations, they are by definition becoming less competitive relative to those countries who are progressively removing barriers to trade and economic activity.   

    While we seriously admire the boundless creativity and innovation that comes out of the United States–particularly your truly amazing ICT companies–the reality is that the United States also remains a huge producer of more traditional goods and services, much of which is destined for export markets.  

    And this is where we have the real concerns for the United States’ future prosperity. While most countries in Asia have been actively negotiating trade agreements between them, with the staggering economic growth of China one obvious symbol of the greater trade engagement seen across Asia, the US has in the last 20 years only negotiated three FTAs in Asia: with Australia, the Republic of Korea, and Singapore. While these are significant countries in the region, they are by no means the biggest economies. In fact, taken together these three countries represent just 12% of Asia’s GDP. 

    We point out that the impact of the US’s post-NAFTA record of concluding trade and economic agreements in Asia is having a serious impact on your share of trade in Asia.   

    The trend of US exports to New Zealand is a case in point. Although New Zealand and the US enjoy a strong economic relationship, the reality is that the United States’ share of exports to New Zealand has been declining. This is consistent with the broader trend for US exports to the Asian region.

    Notwithstanding the fact that US exports to the world have grown by 5.3% on average per year since 1990, the share of United States’ total exports to New Zealand over the same period dropped from nearly 18% to 10%.   

    During that same time, imports from our regional partners with whom we have Free Trade Agreements have grown in relative importance. By example, China’s exports to New Zealand have grown on average by 17% per year, and China's share of total exports to New Zealand has grown from 1% to 20% during that time, becoming our largest source of imported goods. 

    This trend is even more marked for the United States’ share of imports across Asia. In 1990, 17.4% of all goods imported to Asia came from the US. By 2018, that 17.4% had fallen to just 7.4%. That means that the US has lost half of its market share over a 28 year period, and gives you a sense of the significant scale of lost opportunities for US exporters and workers.    

    So, the question becomes: how has this come about, and what can be done to reverse this decline in US exports to New Zealand, and more broadly the Asia‑Pacific region?

    For most economic commentators, the answer is clear. The deteriorating share of US exports has been the result of the growing network of bilateral and regional trade and economic agreements of which the US has not been a part.   

    By example, New Zealand has been at the forefront of negotiating trade agreements across the region. We negotiated an FTA with Singapore in 2001. Thailand followed in 2005. Our first regional FTA with Brunei, Chile and Singapore came into being in 2006, laying the foundation for what ultimately became the CPTPP.   

    In 2008 New Zealand added an FTA with China and our bilateral trade with China has tripled in just 10 years. Our second regional FTA with ASEAN (which also includes Australia) and a separate bilateral FTA with Malaysia were added in 2010. Further bilateral FTAs in North Asia were made with Hong Kong, Chinese Taipei and Korea in 2011, 2013 and 2015, respectively. 

    Our most recent FTA, the CPTPP, came into being late last year. A new trade and development agreement has also been concluded with the Pacific, called PACER Plus, which we are working to bring into force.   

    As a small trade dependent nation, New Zealand will never rest on its laurels. We have negotiated an upgrade of our original FTA with Singapore; we’re working on an upgrade of our China FTA and starting on an upgrade of our agreement with ASEAN.

    Negotiations are also ongoing for new agreements with the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, the European Union, the Pacific Alliance, along with a new Digital Economy Partnership Agreement with Chile and Singapore. 

    This is just the trade negotiating activity undertaken by New Zealand. Most other countries in the Asia‑Pacific region have embarked on similar programmes.   

    Bringing this back to the US context: the eventual CPTPP provided the US with a ready‑made platform to reverse the declining share of US exports to the Asia‑Pacific region. Although some were disappointed at the decision to withdraw by US from the TPP, we understand and respect the right of your administration to make this decision. Because until we fixed the shortcomings of the TPP and made it the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership many of us in NZ had similar reservations.   

    President Trump has expressed his preference for negotiating trade agreements bilaterally. As was said to Vice President Pence when we met last December, New Zealand is ready to work with the United States to achieve such a breakthrough in our bilateral trade and economic relationship.

    Such an agreement would be beneficial to the United States and New Zealand in its own right. More so, it would have strategic and symbolic importance far greater than the undoubted mutual economic benefits. 

    It would underline the strong friendship between the United States and New Zealand – and signal to our exporters and our investors that our two governments are absolutely committed to further strengthening our bilateral relationship.

    More importantly it would send a signal into the Indo‑Pacific that the US is in the region to stay and provide substance to the President’s offer for free and fair bilateral trade engagement. It would signal that US involvement in the region will be broad and comprehensive, with an ambitious economic programme to mirror the US’s strategic and security objectives.   

    And it would signal to other countries in the region that the US is open for business, and looking to conclude ambitious, high quality and comprehensive free trade agreements with other countries in the region.

    It would also reinforce a noticeable feature of the United States’ trade history during the past three decades. Whether by historical accident or irony, it is a fact that of 16 trade negotiations the US has entered into since 1985, Republican presidents started 12 of them and signed all bar one, marking the GOP as the party most open to pursuing free and fair trade deals.

    To conclude, New Zealand believes there exist compelling geo-political and economic rationales for the United States leadership to shift gears by launching a bilateral trade agreement with New Zealand.

    Over the past two decades, the US-NZ relationship has only grown stronger, more dynamic and more vital. Whether it’s on military co-operation and shared service, people-to-people connections, visa access, or high-level dialogue on vital foreign policy issues, our two countries are much closer than we were at the turn of the century.

    However, one glaring gap remains in an otherwise exemplary bilateral relationship. We have not made the progress on a bilateral trade agreement that we should have. New Zealand wants that to change.

    We earnestly hope the US shares that ambition. For New Zealand’s ability to play its part in promoting our shared values in our part of the world very much depends upon it.

    ENDS

  • 09 Jul 2019 1:56 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    AFT Pharmaceuticals (NZX.AFT, ASX.AFP) has reached an out-licensing and development agreement with US-based Timber Pharmaceuticals [Timber] for the USA, Canada & Mexico for its orphan drugi Pascomer.

    Pascomer (Active ingredient, Rapamycin) is a topical treatment for Facial Angiofibromas in Tuberous Sclerosis. The disease affects over 30,000 patients in the US alone which could potentially be worth US$300+ million in the USA - if clinical studies are successful.

    The first of AFT’s two planned clinical studies in 120 patients is due to start in eight study centres around the world, including the world-renowned Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota in the US. Research centres in Australia, Spain, the UK and New Zealand are also taking part in the trial. Results are due in 2020.

    Rapamycin is normally easily oxidised and typically has limited stability in topical formulations. However AFT has developed a formulation that uses a proprietary dermal delivery technology that has overcome these stability issues.

    Extensive pre-clinical development work has been completed and an Investigational New Drug Application (IND) has been approved by US FDA. AFT will run the clinical study program in conjunction with Timber, which will cover both trial costs and direct AFT staff costs for staff involved in the Pascomer development program.

    AFT CEO Dr Hartley Atkinson said the agreement with Timber – US based company specializing in the development and commercialization of dermatology treatments for rare diseases - represents both a significant and exciting opportunity. “The deal we have struck with Timber, mitigates AFT’s research and development risks, while still promising strong returns for the company if the clinical trials proceed successfully,” Dr Atkinson said.

    Timber will cover all clinical trial costs. AFT will receive signing and, provided development proceeds successfully, staged development and registration milestone payments in excess of US$10 million, potential sales milestone payments in excess of US$10 million and ongoing sales-royalty payments. At this early stage of the financial year and with the timing uncertainty of the development, AFT will leave its present operating profit guidance for FY2020 at NZ$9-12m.

    “We are looking forward to the start of clinical trials. We are excited to have secured prestigious clinical trial sites such as the Mayo Clinic in the US, Children’s Health Queensland in Brisbane, Clinica Universidad de Navarra in Spain and Christchurch Hospital.

    “Facial angiofibromas are a disfiguring condition affecting patients from childhood. So, a successful Pascomer development will offer an important therapeutic option to these sufferers,” Dr Atkinson said.

    As part of the agreement, AFT has also taken 100% control of the original partnership set up for development of Pascomer, DSLP

    In a series of transactions covered by the agreement, DSLP joint venture partner Tardimed (formerly named Medicas), which is the majority shareholder in Timber, transferred its share in the DSLP partnership to AFT.

    Under the terms of the deal Timber, in addition to its sales of Pascomer in North America , will also earn a 50% share of DSLP’s net royalties outside North America, Australia, New Zealand and SE Asia.

    Timber President, Zach Rome said: “AFT’s dermal delivery technology coupled with Pascomer is potentially a significant breakthrough for people with facial angiofibromas. We are delighted to be working with Hartley and his team to take this treatment to market in North America.”

    source: AFT Pharmaceuticals.

  • 05 Jul 2019 11:04 AM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Air New Zealand’s Gas Turbines business has won a fourth significant contract to service ten additional US Navy LM2500™ Power Turbines.

    The latest contract, worth more than USD$17 million, will see the Auckland-based Gas Turbines team carry out maintenance on the LM2500™ Gas Turbines which power the US Navy's cruiser fleet.

    The Air New Zealand Gas Turbines business has secured USD$80 million of confirmed work covering 39 engine units since the power turbine contracts were first opened for tender by the US Navy in 2017.


    To date, the Gas Turbines business has delivered seven overhauled units back to the US Navy, with 13 units currently in work and another nine onsite ready for induction. The 10 additional units awarded in the latest contract will arrive in New Zealand late August and the overall body of work is expected to conclude in 2021.

    Air New Zealand’s Chief Ground Operations Officer Carrie Hurihanganui says the contracts are competitively bid for and the win only solidifies the airline’s longstanding relationship with the US Navy.

    “This fourth contract win is a credit to the Gas Turbines team and further strengthens our to more than 20-year relationship with the US Navy. It’s a clear indicator of the calibre of work the team produces.”

    Air New Zealand Gas Turbines is a business unit of Air New Zealand and a General Electric “Authorised LM2500™ Service Provider” providing LM2500™ gas turbine overhaul and repair services to clients globally across a range of industries. The business began sourcing work in the industrial and marine sector more than 35 years ago and has since supported several of the world’s navies, offshore oil and gas platform operators and power generation companies.

    Issued by Air New Zealand Communications.

  • 12 Jun 2019 8:30 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Airline update
    From 26 June Hawaiian Airlines (HA) increases frequency between Auckland and Honolulu to 5x weekly services – daily except Mon/Tue. With a 2355hrs departure, arrival into Honolulu at 10.45am allows for multiple connections to the Hawaiian Islands as well as direct connections to New York and HA’s dozen or so other US mainland destinations. Hawaiian Airlines is able to subsidise the domestic flights within the islands and so they are the best value airfare for your Hawaiian Islands holiday – they also include your meals, movies and luggage within the price. With their very good lie-flat Business Class sitting around the same price as other airlines Premium Economy, consider them when our Travel Consultants send you through your various airline quotes.

    Honolulu is popular in July with Air New Zealand – that month will see a daily flight between Auckland and Honolulu. After the school holidays the schedule falls back to 5 x weekly, similar to the Hawaiian Airlines’ peak season schedule.  

    United (UA) customers travelling through New York-LaGuardia Airport (LGA) will experience new gates on the Terminal B Eastern Concourse, following the first phase of the $4 billion, 1.3-million-square-foot redevelopment project of Terminal B. New outlets in the Terminal range from the iconic Shake Shack and local Irving Farm Coffee Roasters to an outpost of New York's famous toy store, FAO Schwarz.

    Whilst on United Airlines, they have launched new Northern Hemisphere Summer routes – all commencing in the coming weeks (Washington to Tel Aviv; Denver to Frankfurt; New York to Naples).

    American Airlines and Qantas have had their trans-Pacific joint venture tentatively approved by the US Government. This will allow AA and QF to code-share on each others flights between Australia/New Zealand and the USA. It would also assist in AA considering making their AKL/ LAX flight ‘year-round’ instead of the current New Zealand Summer operation in place now. 

    Star Alliance partner airline Avianca Brasil and Avianca Argentina are experiencing a few financial issues and services have been suspended – in part. These are part-subsidiaries of Avianca, the ‘actually-quite-good’ Colombian airline which is not affected. All parties are working through this temporary issue. We use Avianca for our business travellers connecting from the US to do business in South America or from Air NZ out of Buenos Aires, but we had re-accommodated all our affected clients after an earlier tip-off.

    US airlines love selling luggage to their traveller and this is the list from the US Department of Transport regarding the amount the Top 5 US income earners made from selling travellers their check-in luggage.  

    Travellers often get confused about whether luggage is included in US airfares or not and we hear cases where non-clients end up paying unnecessarily for their luggage. Your usual ATPI Business World Travel Consultant will always brief you about what is included based upon your airfare and frequent flyer status.

    • Airlines through the industry body IATA now require the travel agency industry to provide them with either or a compulsory contact telephone number for the passenger or alternatively a statement from us advising that our client specifically does not want to divulge this information to the airline. The rationale given to us is that this will allow airlines to have quicker communication in the event of a delay or cancellation.  Travel agents are being threatened with a famous industry item known as an ‘ADM’ (agency debit memo) where we are auto-billed later by an airline for non-compliance. Clients with a Traveller Profile on record with us won’t need to be asked or to take any further action however we will require a contact for your guests or clients you are booking. We are dubious and conversely we will closely monitor this to ensure airlines do not use this as a cheap form of database marketing.

    Hotels
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    Treat yourself to New York City’s favourite holiday tradition—the Christmas Spectacular! An awe-inspiring celebration in, perhaps, the most beautiful of all New York venues, Radio City Music Hall, the Christmas Spectacular is a show generations of Christmas fans love and return to see year after year. Starting 08 November, the legendary Christmas Spectacular has dazzled and inspired over 65 million people for more than 75 years and continues to create memories that will last a lifetime. Make your Festive season one to remember with the show deemed “A Superspectacular” by the New York Times...plus get your Christmas shopping done! The season commences 08 November but be quick as its sells out in no time at all. Our Virtuoso partner in New York has access to VIP tickets for the Christmas Spectacular and can arrange other show and sporting event tickets as well.


     

    ATPI Business World Travel
    Level 5, ANZ Bank Building                 
    187 Broadway, Newmarket
    PO Box 99088, Auckland, New Zealand
    Auckland: Telephone: +64 9 529 3700
    Wellington: Telephone: +64 4 470 6044
    NZ wide: 0800 508 580

     

  • 11 Jun 2019 10:57 AM | Rebecca Caroe (Administrator)

    The Kiwi startup DropIt has appointed former Netflix Marketing lead, Joel Mier to its board.  He agrees it could be worth $1 billion in three years' time.

    DropIt provides an app that helped companies run 83,000 so-called "drop auctions" or reverse auctions to sell their products online in the year to March.

    Its revenues are still in the single-digit millions, but chief executive Peter Howell said the firm with 24 staff experienced "8000 per cent" revenue growth last year and expected to run 600,000 auctions this year as it grew in the United States.

    Read more.


  • 06 Jun 2019 1:58 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Air New Zealand has today announced significant investment in its international network and customer experience with commitments to purchase eight Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner aircraft powered by GE Aviation’s GEnx-1B engines.

    At today’s list prices, the agreement represents a value of US $2.7 billion. As is usual with such orders, Air New Zealand has negotiated a significant discount on current list prices and the parties have agreed not to disclose the actual purchase price.

    The first of these highly fuel-efficient aircraft will join the Air New Zealand fleet in 2022 and together they will have the potential to save 190,000 tonnes of carbon per year.

    Air New Zealand currently operates a fleet of 13 787-9 Dreamliners which Chief Executive Christopher Luxon says have proved to be the perfect aircraft for the airline’s Pacific Rim focus.

    “The 787-10 is longer and even more fuel efficient. However, the game changer for us has been that by working closely with Boeing, we’ve ensured the 787-10 will meet our network needs, including the ability to fly missions similar to our current 777-200 fleet.

    “This is a hugely important decision for our airline. With the 787-10 offering almost 15 percent more space for customers and cargo than the 787-9, this investment creates the platform for our future strategic direction and opens up new opportunities to grow,” says Mr Luxon.

    In addition to the eight firm orders announced today, the agreement includes options to increase the number of aircraft from eight to up to 20. The airline has also negotiated substitution rights that allow a switch from the larger 787-10 aircraft to smaller 787-9s, or a combination of the two models for future fleet and network flexibility. The delivery schedule can also be delayed or accelerated according to market demand.

    These new long-haul aircraft will replace Air New Zealand’s fleet of eight 777-200 aircraft, which will be phased out by 2025. Combined with GE’s GEnx-1B engines, they are expected to be 25 percent more fuel efficient than the aircraft they’re replacing.  

    Mr Luxon signed the letters of intent with Boeing Vice President Commercial Sales and Marketing Asia Pacific Christy Reese and GE Aviation’s newly named Vice President of Global Sales and Marketing Jason Tonich at Air New Zealand’s headquarters in Auckland today. 

    Mr Luxon says, “Today’s news is incredibly exciting for our business and our customers as we continue to invest in the most innovative, sustainable and comfortable aircraft on the market and deliver on our commitment to grow our business sustainably.

    “In connecting New Zealand with the world, we naturally offer a high proportion of long-haul flights, and these state-of-the-art aircraft will ensure we continue to operate one of the world’s youngest and most efficient jet fleets.”

    Christy Reese, Vice President of Boeing Commercial Sales and Marketing for Asia Pacific says, “We are honoured to extend our deep partnership with Air New Zealand. This is a bold decision by the airline and will help carry forward the ambitions of Air New Zealand for many years to come.

    “The 787-10 is the most efficient widebody in operation today with 25 percent better fuel costs per seat than the aircraft it replaces. In addition, the 787-10 has 95 percent commonality with Air New Zealand’s existing fleet of 787-9s and will provide the airline with added benefits in terms of capacity and overall operations.”

    Jason Tonich, GE Aviation’s Vice President of Global Sales and Marketing says, “GE is honoured to be selected to power and support Air New Zealand’s new fleet of 787-10 aircraft with our GEnx-1B engines.

    “The GEnx engine is the leading engine of choice on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, with world-class utilisation, reliability and fuel efficiency that will benefit Air New Zealand and its customers,” says Mr Tonich.

    Air New Zealand’s widebody fleet currently consists of 13 Boeing 787-9s, eight Boeing 777-200s and seven Boeing 777-300 aircraft. A 14th Boeing 787-9 will enter the fleet later this year.

    The first new aircraft is expected to join the Air New Zealand fleet in late 2022 with the remainder delivered at intervals through to 2027.

    This constitutes a major transaction as defined by NZX Listing Rule 5.1, and the letters of intent are contingent upon approval from a simple majority of 51 percent of shareholders. The transaction will be voted on at the airline’s Annual Shareholder Meeting in September. As a 52 percent shareholder, the Crown has indicated to Air New Zealand’s Board of Directors that the Government will vote in favour of the transaction at that time.

     

  • 20 May 2019 2:46 PM | Rebecca Caroe (Administrator)

    Hawaiki Cable has signed New Zealand’s fourth-largest ISP, Trustpower as a customer for Internet connectivity to the US, giving Trustpower its first directly contracted link to the USA.

    Trustpower has also added a point of presence in the US, in Hillsboro, Oregon

    Trustpower CEO, Vince Hawksworth said the company needed to contract directly with asset owners for capacity as its customers connected to higher-speed plans and consumed more data.

    Read more.


  • 20 May 2019 2:38 PM | Rebecca Caroe (Administrator)

    Jucy Snooze, a micro-accommodation provider which has more than 530 beds across its Auckland, Queenstown and Christchurch locations, is New Zealand’s first hotel chain to offer pod-style rooms for budget conscious travellers.

    Jucy has now signed a joint venture with a Los Angeles-based hotel developer to operate a Jucy Snooze hotel with more than 220 pods under the ‘Stay Open’ brand in San Diego.

    The two storey, approximately 2000sqm Stay Open site is adjacent to the San Diego Airport and will have 226 pods plus six rooms with ensuites. The hotel will feature a rooftop bar and restaurant and an app which supports social connection between guests, introduction to local events and seamless ordering of food and beverages via their mobile device.

    Jucy CEO Tim Alpe, says while the company already has campervan rental operations in the US, the proposed $16m San Diego hotel will be the company’s first offshore accommodation expansion.

    “The Jucy Snooze concept is about meeting the growing demand for budget accommodation as well as designing socially interactive spaces for Millennial and Centennial [Generation Z] travellers who want to connect with others while they travel.

    “We have also created new technology to remove some of the traditional pain points which allow guests to manage their own check-in process without needing to queue and access their rooms via a smart device.

    “The US operators have visited our sites around New Zealand and have seen nothing else like it; they plan to expand the Jucy Snooze concept throughout the US.” 

    Read more.

  • 16 May 2019 4:14 PM | Rebecca Caroe (Administrator)

    The first all female team from New Zealand has been crowned winners of their division at the world championship for Middle School (years 6-8) students and best all-girl team at the VEX IQ Robotics World Championships, the biggest and fastest growing youth robotics competition in the world.

    Tara Stevens (14) and Riley Pollard (11), from New Plymouth and Okato and the Nakibots team, fought off around 80 others in their division from 24 countries, including the United States, China and the UK.

    Not only did they win their division but also go on to compete and be placed 6th in the world across all 400 teams in the wider competition, in front of 20,000 spectators.

    The World Championships is based on the VEX robotics system, the largest producer and distributor of robotics kits in the world. New Zealand sent 90 students between the ages of 11 and 18, including their support teams to this year’s event in Louisville, Kentucky, United States. The teams have just returned home.

    As well as Taranaki, the teams this year came from Feilding, Palmerston North, Auckland and Tauranga.

    Chris Hamling, from Kiwibots says Tara and Riley’s win makes them the best all girl robotics team in the world for their age group:

    “This is a great victory for Girl Power as they were up against the might of some very well funded teams from big schools and cities.

    “We’ve all lost our voices cheering for them as they beat off team after team. They showed just how good young Kiwis are at innovating, building and programming robots to compete.

    “Their win is an example for all young people, especially girls, to get involved in robotics and technology as a way of understanding the importance of STEM skills.”

    Nakibots is an afterschool club created by parents keen on helping their intermediate and high school kids learn about STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) and use it to create and be innovative.

    The competition involves building a robot to compete in a game designed by VEX IQ. It is completely student led with adults acting as mentors. This year’s game involved moving and stacking plastic objects called hubs, hanging the robot from a bar and working together with another team (selected at random), all in a 60 second time limit. Robots could only carry one hub at a time, but the students quickly figured out strategies to move large numbers of hubs without lifting them.

    Read more and view video.

    https://youtu.be/Li8LNUwBUPY



  • 06 May 2019 12:37 PM | Rebecca Caroe (Administrator)

    World’s First Non-Magnetic, Climbing Inspection Robot for Hazardous Environments Attracts Top-Tier Investors to Support Growth

    Invert Robotics, a leader in inspection robotics, today announced it has closed an US$8.8 million round of financing led by Finistere Ventures, an agtech/foodtech venture pioneer, with support from Yamaha Motor Ventures & Laboratory Silicon Valley (YMVSV), the corporate venture capital business of Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. Existing investors such as Allan Moss, Inception Asset Management and the New Zealand Venture Investment Fund also participated.

    Using the strategic investment to scale its team, open a U.S. office and expand its technology platform and industry-specific solutions, Invert Robotics aims to increase the global footprint of its climbing robot – the first specifically designed to inspect the integrity and safety of non-magnetic, hazardous environments.

    "The immediate value of Invert Robotics across the global food supply chain – from ensuring food and beverages are stored and transported in safe, pathogen-free environments, to avoiding catastrophic failures in agrichemical-industry containers and plants – is undeniably impressive,” said Arama Kukutai, co-founder and partner, Finistere Ventures. “However, we see the potential applications as almost limitless. With Invert Robotics, companies across a variety of industries will be able to deploy climbing robots to make asset inspection and maintenance easier and more effective to avoid life-threatening situations for their workers, their communities and their consumers.”

    Workers charged with inspecting and maintaining the high and confined spaces common in many industries frequently suffer deadly accidents on the job, but increased pressure from health and safety regulators and substantial fines are motivating companies to act. Invert Robotics offers precise, remote inspection of non-magnetic surfaces such as stainless steel, carbon fibre, aluminium and glass. Already used by some of the world’s largest food and beverage, dairy, aviation, pharmaceutical, oil and gas, and chemical companies, Invert Robotics will further expand its reach and open new international markets.

    “Our climbing robots go where other robots cannot and people should not,” stated Invert Robotics Managing Director Neil Fletcher. “We give our customers an easier, safer and faster way to inspect the safety and integrity of the most hazardous and toxic environments. Industrial accidents can be costly and sometimes even deadly, but they are often preventable. Remote inspection solutions that take into account chemical corrosion and high-pressure processing scenarios can help chemical companies improve worker safety, optimise maintenance and avoid future tragedies.”

    The Invert Robotics climbing robots can securely adhere to surfaces that other robots cannot and go into confined, treacherous spaces that would put workers’ lives at risk. Going beyond visual inspections, its robots can perform in-depth scans using surface-wave detection and ultrasonic probes to measure wall thickness, assess structural integrity and find defects on any surface.

    Headquartered in New Zealand with offices throughout Europe, Invert Robotics will also build out an artificial intelligence platform that will allow customers to take a proactive approach to asset management by predicting potential fail points and future maintenance needs.

    Read more