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  • 24 Sep 2018 9:39 AM | Rebecca Caroe (Administrator)

    Hawaiki Submarine Cable has contracted with US-based Ciena Corp to increase the capacity of its deep-sea fibre optic cable by more than half.

    The 15,000-kilometre cable links Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific and the United States and started operating in July with a transmission capacity of 43.8 terabits of data a second.

    Now Hawaiki plans to upgrade that to 67 terabits per second using Ciena’s GeoMesh solution.

    That will give Hawaiki the lowest cost for per bit of data transmitted, and let it offer greater granularity of capacity products for customers, the companies said in a joint statement.

    “As the provider of the largest and fastest link between Australia, New Zealand, and the US, we recognize our customers’ need for innovative capacity solutions that support a shorter time-to-market and improved revenue generation,” Hawaiki chief executive Remi Galasso said.

    “Our collaboration with Ciena will allow us to both scale our infrastructure with minimal operational complications and meet market requirements for greater connectivity and diversity across the Pacific.”

    Hawaiki is a carrier-neutral service linking Sydney, New Zealand, American Samoa, Hawaii and Oregon. The New Zealand link comes ashore at Mangawhai head.

    The US$300 million project was developed with support from anchor customers including Amazon Web Services, Vodafone, American Samoa Telecommunications Authority and Research and Education Advanced Network New Zealand.

    News release

  • 23 Sep 2018 4:43 PM | Rebecca Caroe (Administrator)

    Deadline October the 15thto file FINAL 2017 US Tax Return.

    As we approach the end of the month, one more important date is looming for many US citizens who are deemed “wilful in their failure to file tax returns”, the end of OVDP (Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program).

    The OVDP program closes completely on 28th September 2018.

    OVDP was introduced in 2009, and revised in 2014. In brief, OVDP was a form of amnesty program designed to allow taxpayers who could not be considered “unwilful” (ie did not intentionally fail to file their returns) to come back into the fold, with a prescribed penalty regime. For many, this offered an opportunity to come forward regarding international bank accounts, investments or similar, without the risk of criminal prosecution.

    For the last 9 years, this has proved an incredibly successful, netting over $11b in additional tax revenues for the IRS (according to the most recent statistics available).

    It is a common misconception that OVDP is ending as the IRS is no longer focusing on international taxation. This is untrue, and the reality is quite the opposite. The IRS has established multiple international tax enforcement groups, and the amount of penalties issued for unreported entities or accounts (trusts etc.) is rising.

    The IRS introduced OVDP as a voluntary program, as the agency didn’t previously have the ability to track the foreign assets and accounts held by individuals at the time. This is no longer the case, and the IRS no longer needs a voluntary disclosure program, but rather can use the instruments built as part of FATCA to catch up with any individuals it deems to be failing to comply.

    Luckily, few New Zealand or Australian based US citizens have needed to use the OVDP program, instead using the Streamlined Filing Amnesty Program, which is far less punitive and designed for “non-wilful” individuals. Rather than the severe penalty regime of OVDP, Streamlined instead waives all penalties for taxpayers who were not aware of the need to file returns to the IRS, and thus unintentionally failed to comply.

    Now is the time for any US citizen with any worldwide income to take advantage of the amnesty programs available, and come into compliance without penalty. OVDP is the first to go, don’t leave it too late, Streamlined may be next.

    Dave Tzimenakis,Client Services Manager Dave@usglobaltax.com +649 373 2949                                                


  • 18 Sep 2018 4:35 PM | Rebecca Caroe (Administrator)

    Your Vote Counts!  Did you know that many U.S. elections for House and Senate seats have been decided by a margin smaller than the number of ballots cast by absentee voters?  All states are required to count every absentee ballot as long as it is valid and reaches local election officials by the absentee ballot receipt deadline.

                                  

    Follow a few simple steps to make sure that you can vote in the 2018 U.S. elections:

    Request Your Ballot:  

    Complete a new Federal Post Card Application (FPCA).  You must complete a new FPCA after January 1, 2018 to ensure you receive your ballot for the 2018 elections.  The completion of the FPCA allows you to request absentee ballots for all elections for federal offices (President, U.S. Senate, and U.S. House of Representatives) including primaries and special elections during the calendar year in which it is submitted.  The FPCA is accepted by all local election officials in all U.S. states and territories.

    You can complete the FPCA online at www.FVAP.gov.  The online voting assistant will ask you questions specific to your state.  We encourage you to ask your local election officials to deliver your blank ballots to you electronically (by email, internet download, or fax, depending on your state).  Include your email address on your FPCA to take advantage of the electronic ballot delivery option. Return the FPCA per the instructions on the website. FVAP.gov will tell you if your state allows the FPCA to be returned electronically or if you must submit a paper copy with original signature.  If you must return a paper version, please see below for mailing options.

    Receive and Complete Your Ballot:  

    States are required to send out ballots 45 days before a regular election for federal office and states generally send out ballots at least 30 days before primary elections.  For most states, you can confirm your registration and ballot delivery online.

    Return Your Completed Ballot:  

    Some states allow you to return your completed ballot by email or fax.  If your state requires you to return paper voting forms or ballots to local election officials, you can use international mail, a courier service such as FedEx or DHL, or you may also drop off completed voting materials during regular business hours at the U.S. Consulate General in Auckland.  Place your materials in a postage paid return envelope (available under "Downloadable Election Materials" on the FVAP homepage) or in an envelope bearing sufficient domestic U.S. postage, and address it to the relevant local election officials.

    New this year – email to fax service by FVAP! - the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) will provide an email-to-fax conversion service for voters who have difficulty sending election materials to States that do not accept emailed documents.  Get more information here.

    Researching the Candidates and Issues:  Online Resources.  Check out the FVAP links page for helpful resources that will aid your research of candidates and issues.  Non-partisan information about candidates, their voting records, and their positions on issues are widely available and easy to obtain online.  You can also read national and hometown newspapers online, or search the internet to locate articles and information.  For information about election dates and deadlines, subscribe to FVAP's Voting Alerts (vote@fvap.gov).  FVAP also shares Voting Alerts via Facebook and Twitter.

    Learn more at the Federal Voting Assistance Program's (FVAP) website, FVAP.gov.  If you have any questions about registering to vote overseas, please contact the U.S. Consulate General Auckland Voting Assistance Officer at VoteAuckland@state.gov.  

    Remember, your vote counts!

    Be absent but accounted for!

  • 17 Sep 2018 5:43 PM | Rebecca Caroe (Administrator)

    Exciting news from Company-X, the Waikato based software experts about a new partnership with Silicon Valley's Enquero. 

    Jeremy Hughes and David Hallett have created a team with world-class software development skills - their goal with this partnership is to add digital engineering and solution architecture expertise from the Enquero team.

    Scoop press release


  • 13 Sep 2018 1:39 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters today announced the appointment of diplomat Rosemary Banks as New Zealand’s Ambassador to the United States of America.

    The new Ambassador has previously held a number of senior roles in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and has served as New Zealand’s Ambassador to France and Portugal, as well as Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York.

    Ms Banks is currently a Crown Negotiator in the Treaty of Waitangi settlement process, a member of the Council of the University of Canterbury, and a Senior Adjunct Fellow in the Department of Political Science.

    “The Government congratulates Rosemary Banks on her appointment. She is a highly experienced diplomat and public servant who will be a consummate professional in representing New Zealand’s interests in Washington,” Mr Peters said.

    “The Government also wishes to acknowledge the departing Ambassador, Hon Tim Groser for his service. He has been a strong advocate for New Zealand and has been successful in cementing the relationship between our two countries.”


  • 30 Aug 2018 6:26 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    I’m delighted to able to announce that Agritech New Zealand has signed a significant MOU with Western Growers, the largest producers of fresh produce in North America.

    The agreement addresses some of the significant challenges that New Zealand agritech companies have faced when entering the US market. Where to land? Who to speak to? How to validate tech in-market and on-farm? This Agreement answers these questions.

    Today, the 30+ New Zealand delegates attending the 2018 Silicon Valley AgTech Immersion Program & Conference are visiting the Western Growers Technology & Innovation Center in Salinas. It’s a place I have been visiting regularly over the past three years as the relationship with Western Growers has grown. Several of the delegates today are already discussing how their businesses and entities can leverage the Agreement to establish a more formal presence within the US market.

    Yesterday, we visited Fresno and the Central Valley here in Northern California. We saw at first hand the scale of the region’s agricultural sector. We also experienced some of its challenges: Water, labor & lack of automation. These are challenges that New Zealand’s agritech sector players are uniquely qualified to address.

    This is not a one-way agreement. It includes a provision to enable US-based agritech businesses to establish a presence in New Zealand to continue R&D during the northern hemisphere ‘off-season’. This is designed to enable two-way tech transfer between both countries.

    Most programs of this type end after a week and everyone heads home to ‘business as usual’. For the delegates in Salinas today, the signing of this agreement has changed all that. This is the start of an exciting new journey and a significant opportunity that Agritech New Zealand will share with the rest of the country’s agritech sector on our return to Aotearoa.

    The Media Release in full:
    SALINAS, CA, USA (30 September 2018) – Western Growers (WG) has formalized a new strategic partnership with Agritech New Zealand to strengthen, share and accelerate the development of agricultural technologies, as well as help businesses in both countries access U.S. and New Zealand agriculture markets.

    “We are currently facing a myriad of issues that are severely impacting agriculture and the production of food globally,” said Hank Giclas, Western Growers’ senior vice president, strategic planning, science & technology. “Building a two-way bridge for agricultural technology will result in international collaboration where we can create, transfer and share knowledge and experiences about new technologies that can help solve the industry’s most pressing issues.”

    The signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) establishes a business relationship focused on providing in-market support for agtech companies in New Zealand. It also opens doors for New Zealand agtech companies to enter the U.S. market via WG’s Center for Innovation & Technology (WGCIT) in Salinas, California, and for U.S.-based agtech startups to access the New Zealand market and opportunities.

    “Connecting our agriculture innovation ecosystems will benefit innovators, growers, investors, regulators, researchers and public stakeholders not only in our two countries, but around the globe,” said Peter Wren-Hilton, executive director at Agritech New Zealand. “We are excited to embark on this new partnership to foster economic growth in the U.S. and New Zealand through international connections and missions.”

    The WGCIT provides a co-working space that offers agtech start-up companies access to training and mentorship; monthly seminars; regularly scheduled events; and exclusive events with WG members – specialty crop farmers in Arizona, California, Colorado and New Mexico. As part of the MOU, the community that Agritech New Zealand serves will now have access to WGCIT offerings. Additionally, the WGCIT will work with Agritech New Zealand to evaluate opportunities to conduct R&D trials with potential New Zealand partners during the Northern Hemisphere off season.

    About Western Growers:
    Founded in 1926, Western Growers represents local and regional family farmers growing fresh produce in Arizona, California, Colorado and New Mexico. Our members and their workers provide over half the nation’s fresh fruits, vegetables and tree nuts, including nearly half of America’s fresh organic produce. In December 2015, WG opened an agtech incubator—the Western Growers Center for Innovation & Technology—in Salinas, California to provide startups with the resources and mentoring needed to get their companies and technologies up and running. The Center now houses 47 startups. Connect with and learn more about Western Growers on our Twitter and Facebook.

    About Agritech New Zealand:
    Launched in 2018, Agritech New Zealand is a purpose driven, membership funded organization whose members share a passion for the opportunities that agritech can generate. Agritech New Zealand connects innovators, investors, regulators, researchers and interested public.  It promotes opportunities and challenges raised by agritech.  Agritech New Zealand advances the ecosystem through advocacy, collaboration, innovation, talent and economic growth through international connections and missions. 

  • 17 Aug 2018 12:10 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Tourism Holdings takes out Supreme Award at the 2018 AmCham - DHL Express Success & Innovation Awards for companies doing business with the USA

     Auckland, 16th August 2018 The 19th annual AmCham DHL Express Success & Innovation Awards were held at the Pullman Auckland Hotel last night, with Tourism Holdings winning the Supreme Award for doing business with the United States.

    Amcham was delighted to welcome the Hon Grant Robertson as keynote speaker and presenter of the three key exporter awards with the U.S. Ambassador Scott Brown presenting the Importer of the Year award.

    Over the last year trade of goods with the USA were just under $12 billion, up 4%, representing 10% of New Zealand’s total merchandise trade.  Trade in services continue to grow with total trade bilateral worth around $17 billion. The years finalists on show at the awards highlighted some of New Zealand’s most innovative products and services succeeding in the USA.

    This year saw a new award added – Bilateral Entrepreneur/Innovator with the USA which was won by serial entrepreneur and investor Chip Dawson.   

    The Supreme Award is chosen from the winners of each of the categories presented on the night. The complete list of winners is as follows:

    This year’s award finalists were some of the strongest AmCham has seen in the last eighteen years and the judges decided to award a number of Highly Commended certificates. These were presented to:
    Tekron International
    RJ’s Licorice
    The Walshe Group
    Helen Robinson

    The AmCham DHL Express Success & Innovation Awards celebrate success and innovation in the export, import and investment sectors between New Zealand and its third-largest trading partner, the USA.  Winners of the importer, exporter, tourism and bilateral connections awards categories receive an Economy Plus® Round Trip Ticket to the USA from United Airlines. 

    In addition to AmCham, DHL-Express and United Airlines, the Awards are also supported by ANZ Bank, Baldwins, Fonterra, The Pullman Auckland Hotel, media partner The Business, wine sponsor Constellation Brands and event manager Lime & Soda.

  • 14 Aug 2018 2:16 PM | Creative Agency Secrets Ltd (Administrator)

    Upgraded credit card regulations have been launched by IATA – affecting all airlines and travel agents around the world. Our industry has done a lot of work specifically around PCI (payment card industry) credit card protection in particular noting that airlines suffer significant volumes of credit card fraud; they are keen to reduce this problem. This affects ATPI Business World Travel and our clients in that a change will occur when communicating your credit card number to us. For most clients we have your credit card saved in our secure Traveller or Company Profile system and so nothing changes in this instance. This usually only needs human intervention when your card’s expiry date is adjusted or you want to change your card on file. For ‘one off’ or new card numbers we will now email you a secure link to complete the card details and return to us. We are not permitted to take credit card numbers over the phone or by email. In the interests of improving your credit card security, we appreciate your understanding.

    Airline Update:

    • Singapore Airlines has won the coveted Skytrax Best Airline in the World Award for 2018. Singapore won the Best First Class Award and was in the top 3 airlines for Business, Premium Economy and Economy Class and so the top award was deservedly theirs for the taking. Best Business Class was Qatar Airways (then Singapore and ANA All Nippon), Premium Economy Class went to Air New Zealand followed by Qantas and then SQ, Economy Class top airline was Thai Airways followed by SQ and then Qatar. Disappointingly local airline Air New Zealand no longer feature in the top 20 airlines for Business Class. They were 19th in the world for Economy Class but the star of the show, Air NZ’s Premium Economy kept them in the game with that category’s ultimate Award.
    • Airlines are ‘back to the future’ and bringing back the retro rule from days gone by of a surcharge for flying on peak days. Quite a few international airlines have adopted a surcharge for flying Thursday to Sunday. One airline charges an additional $60 Economy and $300 Business Class for flights on those peak days.
    • Hawaiian Airlines already offers a very useful connecting flights schedule beyond Honolulu to around a dozen US mainland destinations. Their newest will be Long Beach(LGB) and this offer provides a very tidy connection to and from Auckland, completely avoiding the mayhem of LAX. Long Beach Airport is a 20-25 minute drive to Disneyland so this will be great for our leisure clients as well – a few days with the family in Disneyland with Honolulu on the way home!

    Hotel update:

    Iconic brand Regent Hotels has been partly sold to IHG – Inter Continental Hotels, which will take a 51% stake. A boutique brand, Regent Hotels can be found in around 10 locations in Asia and Europe. More mature clients will fondly remember The Regent Auckland (now the Stamford Plaza) which was the first luxury hotel in Auckland, introducing a new standard to the country. IHG will develop the Regent brand as its top tier luxury brand and will build this to around 40 hotels over the next few years. The iconic harbour-side Inter-Continental Hong Kong will revert back to the future with its original brand as the Regent Hong Kong.

    One of our San Francisco favourites the Inn at Union Square has undergone a tip to toe renovation. Located right in the heart of Union Square this boutique property has some snug rooms but one of the best locations! Pitched at the four-star market the Inn offers a complimentary continental breakfast as well as wine tasting in the evenings.

    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 achieve benefits over and above any other travel agent or booking site for our clients. For the same as any advertised rate including 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 Wifi
    • 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 and Private Clients:

    Toy Story Land has just opened at Disney World in Florida. Toy Story Land puts you right into Andy’s backyard, shrinking you down to the size of a toy as you explore the universe from the three Pixar movies. (You’re considered an honorary toy the minute you walk in). There’s a lot to see, from the Slinky Dog Dash roller coaster to the Alien Swirling Saucers teacup-style ride and Toy Story Mania. The new park within a park has taken over 4 years to create and is a part of a major transformation for Disney World. Next up in 2019 is a significant Star Wars attraction.

    We’re urging Hawaii-bound clients planning a visit to Oahu’s Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve this week to check for updates before heading to the spot, famed for snorkelling. The beach was closed recently following a sudden spike in jellyfish stings before 0900. The park is routinely shut on a Tuesday. Reports say it will depend on the ocean conditions. The upper portion of Hanauma Bay, including its visitor center and scenic overlook will be open.

    General:

    Wellington now has an alternative to taxis or rental cars – introducing Mevo which is a unique car sharing service offering Audi A3 e-tron electric vehicles. Whilst there is an airport pick up station available the system works well in the central city grid. Basically if you see a car is available you use your Mevo APP to open it and take it to your next appointment. Through a special arrangement with Wellington City Council you can also park the car anywhere in the city. Look at www.mevo.co.nz

    Northside Aucklanders now have a public transport link to Auckland Airport. The new North Harbour Express SkyBus leaves Albany Westfield every 30 minutes from 0400hrs stopping enroute at Smales Farm and Akoranga Drive. Return first bus departs from the Domestic Terminal at 0500hrs and from International at 0505hrs. NORTH HARBOUR EXPRESS is $24 one way, $44 return or $210 for a 10 trip card.

    Travellers heading to the US from any airport in the world should allow 3-hours for advance check in. Passengers are randomly selected for the second check and on some flights it might be 6 passengers and others up to 100 need to go through the second screening and an interview. A reminder that your electronic items (phone, laptop, camera etc) must be charged and working. Remember clients, Honolulu is in America and the 3-hours applies!

    Powder has now joined the liquid/gels hand luggage screening ‘no-no’ list. International travellers from New Zealand and Australia will notice changes to the way airport security screening takes place – all powders you are carrying in your hand luggage have to be separately screened. This will also apply to baby formula you might be taking on board.

    For more details and bookings contact your BWT consultant on 0800-508 580 or 09-5293700



  • 06 Aug 2018 9:52 AM | Creative Agency Secrets Ltd (Administrator)

    Geoff Letcher, owner of Pukekohe-based Quadbeam Technologies, was a lonesome but successful salesman.

    Quadbeam’s Suspended Solids Sensor is now sold in 14 countries – and Letcher’s hours of door-knocking in faraway places has paid off.

    "The market has changed rapidly. Where people didn’t want to talk to us, we now have them calling us," says Letcher, whose family bought Quadbeam in late 2009.

    "It’s been 'bloody' hard work. A lot of travelling and a lot of cold calling and finally we are a good news story.

    "The business has grown three times since 2009 and I expect it to more than double by mid-2019,’" says Letcher.

    Source:  AucklandNZ


  • 03 Aug 2018 2:36 PM | Creative Agency Secrets Ltd (Administrator)

    Ambassador Scott P. Brown strongly welcomes President Trump signing the Knowledgeable Innovators and Worthy Investors Act, or KIWI Act, into law today in Washington, D.C. The KIWI Act will allow eligible New Zealand nationals to enter the United States under the Immigration and Nationality Act as nonimmigrant traders and investors.

    “This is a historic day for the United States and New Zealand partnership. Today’s announcement is a testament to the long-standing friendship and economic cooperation between the United States and New Zealand,” Ambassador Brown said. “With this addition of New Zealand to our eligible Treaty Traders and Investors visa program, we look forward to even greater bilateral commerce and entrepreneurship. The KIWI Act received overwhelming, bipartisan support in the U.S. Congress, showing the broad and unshakable support for the U.S.-New Zealand partnership. This legislation demonstrates the United States’ continuing recognition of the value of Kiwi investment and innovation.”

    Source: U.S. Embassy & Consulate in New Zealand