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  • 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


  • 06 May 2019 12:31 PM | Rebecca Caroe (Administrator)

    Auckland based customer experience tracking firm AskNicely has raised US$10m (NZ$15m) in a Series A funding round led by US based Nexus Venture Partners along with NZ venture fund K1W1 and US based Blackbird Ventures.

    AskNicely was founded in 2014. It scored US$400k of angel funding from New Zealand’s Enterprise Angels in 2015. This was followed by seed funding rounds of US$1.9m in mid 2016 and US$2.9m in 2017 from Blackbird Ventures.

    Following the latest funding round the company has moved its headquarters from Auckland to Portland Oregon.

    Geekwire quoted AskNicely cofounder and CEO Aaron Ward saying: “Portlanders ‘get’ customer experience more than any other city I’ve seen in the world because the service culture here is so strong.”

    AskNicely claims to automatically collect feedback at any point in the customer journey on any channel (email, web, SMS) using the Net Promoter Score (NPS) framework and enable its users to rank NPS by location, segment, team and event  and use advanced text analytics “to see what customers really want from your brand”.

    Read more

  • 03 May 2019 11:22 AM | Rebecca Caroe (Administrator)

    For any New Zealand or Australian business selling internationally, a potential minefield of various tax implications awaits. 

    This is especially relevant when dealing with the USA and is something we frequently consult on.  

    When selling into the US using a foreign corporation, the main factor to consider, is whether there is “effectively connected income”. This is specifically referring to income which is effectively connected with a US trade or business (further reading is available in Section 1.864-4).

    You might now be wondering, “what is effectively connected income?”. While there isn’t a specific definition of the term, it generally does cover most types of income sourced in the US (by a foreign corporation). This may be sales into the US on a continuous basis (from outside the US), or sourcing and then selling your products into the US. Your tax advisor should be able to clarify whether you have “effectively connected income”. 

    Should a foreign company have “effectively connected income”, it may be required to file Form 1120-F, which is an income tax return for a foreign corporation. In many cases, this doesn’t result in any tax owing, due to the tax treaties in place between both Australia and New Zealand, and the US. 

    In order to use the tax treaty to ensure that income is taxable in the home country of the foreign company, we refer to Article 5 (Permanent Establishment). As a broad overview, this defines the rules regarding the cases in which the US may tax the “effectively connected income”. A number of factors are taken into consideration, such as whether the foreign company has staff on the ground in the US, warehousing, offices, or any other presence. 

    Once these factors are considered thoroughly, we should be able to establish:

    1. Is there any “effectively connected income” and,
    2. Whether the foreign company holds “permanent establishment” in the USA.

    While point B above will be used to determine if there will be a tax obligation for the foreign company in the US, a filing obligation exists regardless if the answer to point A is “yes’.

    Even if the foreign company has no tax to pay, a tax return filing obligation will likely still exist (Section 1.6012-2(g)(1)(i) and (ii)).

    If your NZ or Australian company is considering selling into the US, or are already underway with such an endeavour, it is essential that you understand the tax obligations.

    Dave Tzimenakis, US Global Tax, www.usglobaltax.com +64 9 373 2949 


  • 03 May 2019 11:15 AM | Rebecca Caroe (Administrator)

    At ATPI Business World Travel we support Garden to Table, an outstanding charity which has the simple goal of changing the way children think about food. The functional side of GtoT is that they raise funds to put vegetable gardens into schools, teach the children how to grow vegetables and then have the children prepare and cook the resulting produce. They are now working with thousands of school age children throughout New Zealand and hopefully breaking a cycle of bad eating and obesity.  

    Why are we mentioning this? Well, we’re asking for your help as well by tuning into TV3’s Dancing with the Stars where celebrity chef Nadia Lim is dancing to raise funds for Garden to Table.  Keep the Nadia Lim votes flowing!  

    Airline update 

    We draw your attention to the small print! Air New Zealand has slipped in a rule for its long-haul Business Class and Premium Economy airfares that the lowest categories are only available if ticketed 60-days prior to departure. In Business Class for example there are generally four airfare categories – J, Z, D and the highest C with a limitation on the number of seats in each fare-category (eg Auckland to Los Angeles is J $4400 one way through to C $6500 one way).  So for the lowest fares you have to be sorted out over two months in advance. This may suit our Leisure Travellers but unlikely our Business Travelling clients who usually have short notice planning and continually evolving schedules.

    The Northern Summer schedule is upon us. Delighted to see United Airlines continues through the NZ winter reducing to three flights weekly between Auckland and San Francisco (Mon/Thu/Sat). Clients have been enjoying the flight schedule which departs Auckland 1330hrs and with an arrival into SFO at 0640hrs – meaning you’re in time for multiple morning connections to all parts of the US and Canada. You’ll be in New York early evening in time for cocktails, dinner and a good night’s sleep before starting business the next morning.  

    Hotels

    Travel better! At ATPI/Business World Travel we’re a member of the prestigious US-based Virtuoso, an invited group of the world’s leading travel agents and where we can achieve benefits over and above any other travel agent or booking site for our clients. For a similar level as any advertised rate included on the hotel site, Bookings.com or Expedia you’ll receive:

    • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
    • Daily Breakfast for two 
    • Food & Beverage or Spa services credit usually around US$100 
    • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
    • Complimentary Wi-Fi
    • Often some other kind of personalised in-room amenity
    • Take a look at www.virtuoso.com or call one of our BWT Travel Advisors

    Executive Leisure 

    We had a number of clients at Augusta watching the Masters Golf  in April. Be there yourself in 2020. Through our Sports Travel connections we have access to ticketing and accommodation for the Masters but you’ll need to start getting organised soon! Get a group of friends together for a golf tour with the Masters in Augusta as your centre piece.

    Our Sports Travel connections also help us secure access for our clients at events such as the French Tennis Open at Roland Garros (26 May-09June 19), Wimbledon (01-14 July 19), US Tennis Open (26 August – 08 September 19), Cricket World Cup, Monaco Grand Prix and many other events.  Tell your usual BWT Consultant about your bucket list! 

    Combining a family Disneyland holiday in Anaheim, California with something for the adults (and even young golfers) is highlighted with this impressive list of golf courses which are in the Anaheim neighbourhood. One of the top courses is Tustin Ranch Golf Club followed closely by the Robert Trent Jones Monarch Beach Golf Links. There are six or so to choose from in the area making a family/golfing combination ideal for family holidays or a company incentive, mini-conference or reward. 

    VISIT Anaheim has reported an increase in the desire to take multigenerational holidays, which it has called ‘Grandtravel’. According to a recent study of 1,000 Americans conducted by the destination organisation, 83% of millennials reported they wanted to take the kids on trips with their grandparents. Visit Anaheim suggested having trusted baby-sitters with them as one possible reasons  for the trend. We believe that most Grand-parents we know would be one step ahead of that notion and would want to be fully immersed on most rides with their children and grand-children in Disneyland! 

    Cruising update 

    The new venture Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection is now a member of Virtuoso.  This is of course without having their sophisticated first yacht even in the water! The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection will offer bespoke voyages onthe first of three custom-built yachts in 2020. Most voyages range from seven to ten nights, offering many overnight calls and uniquely curated experiences ashore. Each yacht will feature 149 suites, each with its own private terrace. The new cruise option will endeavour  to replicate Ritz-Carlton’s high standards of hotel service into cruising. 

    Martha Stewart never lets the dust settle on her innumerable activities and interests before she’s on to her next venture. In conjunction with MSC Cruises Caribbean cruise series, Martha Stewart has created a programme within the cruise called ‘Celebrate, Discover, Experience’ where she has created a series of culinary experiences, gift packs and shore excursions that marry Stewarts personal passions. Guests will be able to partake of a number of Martha-centric activities and ‘passion points’ including full-day excursions with hands-on culinary classes and tastings, garden tours, visits to craft marketers and hikes to scenic spots as well as her personal favourites, horse back riding excursions.  Martha Stewart has been a huge cruise fan over many years and she is passionate about this form of holiday. 

    General news

    Welcome to Rosie McDermott, our new Client Relationship Executive. Rosie joins us from Air New Zealand and has replaced Marie Easton-Myers who is taking a sabbatical for this year before seeking out project work in 2020.

    The most child friendly airport in North America has been voted as being Boston Logan Airport. Boston has multiple ‘Kidsport’ play areas which were designed by the Children’s Museum  of Boston. Portland Airport ranked second and San Francisco International third. San Fran is noteworthy for us as a gateway from NZ for many family holidays and has ‘Kids Spots’ in every terminal, with weather –related ‘Exploratorium areas’. 

    North American travel bulletin BTN has sent us their updated per-diem corporate travel index. The study measures the average price for sending a corporate traveller to any of 100 cities around the world. It measures a four-star hotel rate, taxis to and from the city and meals (continental breakfast, lunch and dinner). It takes averages for year-round hotel rates. This study provides a useful guideline to set your own employee travel expenses. 

    The priciest US cities (for the US they substitute taxi for one-day car rental): 

    1. New York – US$645 per day
    2. San Francisco – US$534 per day
    3. Boston – US$490

    The 5 priciest destinations for global business in 2019 are:

    1. Tokyo  – US$598 per day
    2. London – US$540 per day
    3. Paris - US$492 per day
    4. Tel Avis – US$462 per day
    5. Zurich – US$4456 per day 

    In the Aspac region Sydney sits at 29th most expensive globally at US$347 per day, Auckland is 43rd globally at US$308 per day, Singapore 45th at US$307 per day and Melbourne 46th at US$305 per day. Least expensive cities to send business travellers to sitting at 99th is Cairo Egypt at US$180 per day and 100th is Bangalore, India at US$171 per day.   

    A plea to remember that your US ESTA must be applied for more than 72 hours prior to your departure! 

    Call us to discuss your business travel! 0800 508 580 ATPI Business World Travel 


  • 01 May 2019 2:00 PM | Rebecca Caroe (Administrator)

    Following consultation with members, AmCham sent in a submission to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. For a copy of our submission see

    Letter to MFAT 25.3.19 Re WTO ecommerce.pdf