It was the era of black and white television, The Beatles, and the space race between the US and Russia to the moon. It was the 1960s and on the other side of the world, in his garage in little New Zealand, a man was making crystals to generate radio frequency. That man was Warren Robinson, founder of Rakon. Back then, Warren saw a large gap in the market for crystals and so he decided to make his own. The company became incorporated on 4 April 1967.
Fast track fifty years where connected technology is in use more than ever, and diverse applications are evolving rapidly. The company continues to design and make frequency control devices based around quartz. However, today, there is a plethora of communication and location systems which all require accurate clocking signals to generate precise electrical, radio or optical signals in networks and systems everywhere – and at the heart of many, is a Rakon product. This week the company is celebrating across its multiple sites worldwide.
Rakon CEO Brent Robinson says the competitive nature of the industry and rapid pace of technology requirements makes the milestone particularly significant.
“It is an incredible achievement to not only endure within a highly dynamic technology driven industry such as ours, but to continuously innovate and push technology boundaries, and we are immensely proud of this milestone.”
So has being a kiwi-led company played a part in Rakon succeeding?
“Certainly the can-do attitude and transparency we have had with our customers has forged very strong relationships with them and that is something inherent within the New Zealand culture. Also our relative isolation to the rest of the world provided the opportunity, particularly in the early GPS days, to develop in-house our own proprietary test equipment completely unique to what else was available, which gave us an advantage.
“However, largely we have achieved this milestone through the sheer drive and determination of our highly talented team of engineers and professionals worldwide. We have built a truly global manufacturing, R&D and customer/application support platform. Supporting that is a great team who are united with the same passion and curiosity to continually go beyond conventional performance limits.”
Diversification has also been strongly part of the company’s strategy and Robinson says continuing to diversify, evolve and shape the business to customer requirements will be essential to succeed in the years ahead.
In 2015 the company diversified through its investment with Thinxtra – an Internet of Things (IoT) business. In February this year, Taiwanese company Siward Crystal Technology Company Limited took a 16.6 percent share in the company, giving both companies a broader range of products and alternative channels, into new and existing markets.
“Listening to our key eco-system partners, staying abreast of developments and evolving the business accordingly to meet their requirements − and those of the industry − is mandatory” Robinson said.
Rakon has a proud history of delivering industry ‘firsts’, has won a number of industry and supplier awards and its products can be found in many international programmes.
The Reserve Bank today began publishing new monthly statistics that will provide greater insight into the structure and activities of the banking sector.
Head of Macro Financial Stability, Bernard Hodgetts, said the Reserve Bank has worked closely with banks to develop the new statistical collection on the sector’s balance sheets.
“Since the global financial crisis there has been increased demand from the general public, media and financial analysts for more detail in financial statistics, and for these statistics to cover more areas – particularly in banking.”
The new banking statistics include breakdowns of financial instruments, including loans, securities, deposits and borrowings. They replace the existing statistical framework first introduced in the late 1980s, which was known as the Standard Statistical Return.
Statistics manager Steffi Schuster said that, with lending to households now making up a larger share of bank lending, a more comprehensive breakdown of mortgage lending to households is timely.
“Users will be able to see the banks’ mortgage lending portfolio broken down by payment type, such as interest-only, revolving credit and principal and interest. Residential investor mortgage lending will also now be separately identified.”
Comprehensive sector breakdowns have also been introduced in the collection and aligned with Statistics New Zealand’s Statistical Standard for Institutional Classifications (SCIS). “We have further expanded the business sector statistics to capture data on agriculture, commercial property and other business lending activity. For the first time, business loans fully secured by residential mortgage have been identified,” she said.
The Bank plans to expand the statistical series even further later this year and publish data that provides more detail about bank deposits, as well as lending to the business sector and commercial property sector.
“We understand the importance of data continuity, so some key statistics such as credit have been backdated to provide comparable historical data. Statistics for most new series will be available from the December 2016 month
What a Difference three years has made to the Media Class
Out the book came on its triennial pre-election rotation shaming mission this time of the military. Broadcasters adopted solemn visages to hype the soufflé. Print columnists responded piously in their customary and secondary Pavlovian pick-up role.
The public responded. With indifference. The media class had flailed away at the usual levers. They were no longer connected.
Less than a year has passed since the two New Zealand newspaper chains first lodged their merger application with the Commerce Commission. Yet industrially it is an epoch ago. It is as if during these 11 months that the age sail had given way to steam which in turn had given way to internal combustion. Consider what has happened during this short space of time:-
President Donald Trump communicates directly with New Zealanders via his Twitter account. No need to buy a newspaper, or tap into a broadcasting channel. The President of the United States will communicate with anyone, anywhere with a Twitter account at the same time that he does with the rest of the world.
Two universities, repositories of immense content, have similarly moved into the on line news business
Chorus the main provider of long haul communications cables also moves into the online business, backing up the considerable existing presence in this sector of Telecom-Spark , its original parent.
General Motors and Vodafone entered the online general news business here.
What a difference three years makes. What a difference 11 months makes.
The free model meanwhile scythes at ever accelerating speed through the communications sector, notably books and newspapers.
In the sector at large there remains though some curious ironies. For example this week Spark’s Xtra subscribers found that accessing what they were paying for, their email service, was labyrinthinely complex, if possible at all.
While access to the Spark free news service was instantaneous.
| From The MSCNewsWire reporters' desk || Wednesday 5 April 2017 |||
Major Chinese banks operating in New Zealand continued to make significant inroads last year, with a strong rise in overall assets across all three as they look to cash in on the growing trade ties between the two nations.
Trade between China and New Zealand has tripled to $23 billion since the free trade agreement between the two nations came into force in 2008.
The money flow looks set to continue after New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English and China Premier Li Keqiang last week signed off a series of co-operation deals spanning trade, customs, travel and climate change and agreed official talks to upgrade the existing FTA between the nations will start on April 25.
However, while all three banks have primarily targeted corporate clients since setting up shop here, they are also gradually increasing their residential mortgage portfolios, benefiting from a massive housing boom.
China Construction Bank of New Zealand reported total assets of $887.8 million in the year to December 31, up from $401.9m in the prior year.
It also reported a net profit of $1.8m, up from a net loss of $4.7m in the prior year.
The bank significantly increased its residential mortgage portfolio, which jumped to $381.6m versus $72m in the prior year. Its corporate loan portfolio was $363.6m versus $235m in the year to December 31, 2015.
Bank of China New Zealand reported total assets of $514.5m, up from $208.4m in the prior 12 months.
BOC NZ set up shop in November 2014. Corporate loans jumped to $309.4m from $144.5m. It also turned to the housing market with loans of $33.8m at the balance date versus none in the prior year.
Finally, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (NZ) also made a stronger foray into the residential market, with its residential loan portfolio increasing to $172.9m versus $102.4m in the prior year. Its corporate exposure jumped from $278.6m to $531.4m.
Auckland – The Kiwi Connection Tech Hub is working with NZ businesses, industry and government across multiple initiatives to support 100 Kiwi entrepreneurs, managers and executives to visit major South East Asia markets this year to increase exports, access investment capital and tap into the talent pool that New Zealand lacks.
Hub director Mitchell Pham is working with organisers of the significant landmark business trip to Vietnam, Thailand and possibly Myanmar in a giant leap forward to boost New Zealand exports.In partnership with Augen
The tech hub is a partnership between Augen Software Group and New Zealand Trade & Enterprise (NZTE) and Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade (MFAT). It works in collaboration with businesses and industry associations in both countries.
Pham says the New Zealand mission to South East Asia will focus on businesses in various tech, food and beverages and retail sectors.
“The trail-blazing visit in August will be led by ASEAN-New Zealand Business Council in collaboration with ExportNZ, KEA and the Kiwi Connection Tech Hub and with support from NZTE, MFAT and the Asia New Zealand Foundation.
“In addition to that trip, at the same time, the University of Auckland Business School has 65 management and executive participants in this year’s MBA programme helping 11 Kiwi businesses develop market entry strategies, execution plans and local connections for the Vietnam market. This group will also be working in-market in August.Trade mission to Singapore and Vietnam
“Thirdly FinTechNZ will lead a trade mission to Singapore and Vietnam later this year involving Kiwi FinTech business leaders who will attend the regional FinTech conference in Singapore and connect with the rapidly growing Vietnam market in November. This FinTechNZ trip is in collaboration with the Kiwi Connection Tech Hub and with support from NZTech and NZTE.
“While Augen and the tech hub focus on assisting tech businesses, technology is not a silo sector but rather a part of the bigger picture that is NZ Inc and the NZ story.
“This is further affirmed by the government’s inclusion of tech sector and digital exports in the recently released NZ Trade Agenda 2030, as ways to both grow and diversify export. It is why our Kiwi tech hub is working with a wide range of collaborating partners and engage in many initiatives.
“We are providing a vital bridge for Kiwi tech businesses to speed-up entry and business growth in South East Asia, where there is a huge and rapidly growing pool of talent, capital, customers as well as massive digital economy and consumption appetite,” Pham says.
The hub was opened by minister Steven Joyce in June last year to ensure the Kiwi tech sector could engage with Vietnam and provide a base to support business activities across the ASEAN region.
Rising property values helped lift New Zealand’s net worth to just over $1.39 trillion at 31 March 2015, up 9 percent on 2014, Stats NZ said today.
“Net worth reflects the balance of what New Zealanders own and what they owe – that is, assets minus debts held by households and government,” national accounts senior manager Gary Dunnet said.
Except for a 3 percent decline in 2009, net worth has grown steadily since 2007 – from just over $1 trillion in 2007 to $1.39 trillion in 2015.
Graph, New Zealand's net worth,at 31 March, 2007–15
From 2007 to 2015, household net worth increased $319 billion (35 percent), to about $1,236 billion. Investment in land and buildings (non-financial assets) was a significant contributor to this increase, although this was partly offset by increased mortgage debt (loans liabilities).
Over the eight years, households also built up wealth through increased bank deposits (up 58 percent), investment in business shares (up 28 percent), and insurance and superannuation funds (up 90 percent).
The value of all assets owned by New Zealanders was nearly $4.0 trillion ($3,953 billion) in 2015. This figure consisted of financial assets (cash and deposits, loans, and investments) and non-financial assets (land and buildings; plant, machinery and equipment; and business inventories) valued at $2,404 billion and $1,549 billion, respectively.
All financial liabilities totalled $2,557 billion in 2015, with the largest contributions coming from equity (37 percent), and loans (30 percent).
Over the 2007–15 period, the net amount New Zealanders owed to the rest of the world rose from $130 billion to $153 billion.
“This first release of balance sheet statistics marks a significant milestone in our ongoing work to achieve a full set of national accounts,” Mr Dunnet said.
“Balance sheets help to relate economic growth to the accumulation of wealth, and to understand how financial shocks affect the productive economy. By filling these gaps, government, businesses, and households will have more economic information to make better decisions.”
Balance sheets are used to provide estimates of assets, liabilities, and net worth held by New Zealand businesses, households, and government.
Annual balance sheets are now part of Stats NZ’s suite of annual macroeconomic statistics. In coming years, we’ll add related financial information, including quarterly balance sheets and flow-of-funds estimates.Information in this release is based on data from a range of sources, some of which is only available up to 2015.
He looks like the star of a television series set in the 1950s about British country doctors or family solicitors of those solid and dependable times. But former French premier Francois Fillon considered by the English-speaking world to be a shoo-in for his country’s presidency is now looking anything but a winner.
In recent weeks the Mr Clean of europolitics has found himself be-spattered in every variety of calumny and remarkable even for a country renowned for its political spoils system.
The hapless Mr Fillon is looking less and less like the fulcrum around which will rally the centrist forces in the event of a first round win by the National Front’s Marine Le Pen.
At the cusp of the 1960s/1970s France was the focus of New Zealand’s global trade interest for the way in which it was perceived to be throwing a spanner into the primary produce works as Britain made its transition into the Common Market, as the EU was then described.
Yet in a bizarre about turn France has now become as important to New Zealand industrially as Britain was in those days.
This is artfully concealed from public view though by a politico-media determination to keep the trade spotlight on Asia and the Middle East
Here though are just some of the French companies that dominate their sectors in New Zealand:- ‘
* Veolia Water and commuter transport in Wellington and Auckland. Controls Transdev * Axa Finance – (controls AMP) * Pernod Ricard Owns Montana * Lafarge Holcim Cement * Schneider Electrical manufacturer, formerly PDL * Accor Hotelier * Air Liquide Industrial n gases * Allflex Livestock management applications * Danone Dairy * Parmalat Dairy * Synlait Dairy * Alcatel Information technology * Thomson Air traffic control * Alstom Transport * Rexel Office supplies
This unacknowledged state of affairs took on a humorous form when one of the New Zealand government start-up technology incentive funds invested in what appeared to be a local computer games producer only to find out that it was in fact controlled by Vincent Bollore.
He is known as the Breton Raider, and who from his gigantic holdings in transport and commodities in Africa has devolved into the leisure-entertainment sector.
The officially encouraged focus on the East contains a romantic Prester John–like flavour in refusing to acknowledge how hard it is for anyone but the very biggest traders to actually get paid from anyone in these regions.
It also shrouds the mercantile dependence on a country such as France. This is demonstrated by a French trade deficit of $845 million in 2014. In France’s favour.
Back now to Mr Fillon who until a few weeks ago was considered the favourite for the Elysees and thus the man to usher in New Zealand’s EU trade agreement.
His role even as the rallying point as the second round coalition leader in the French presidential double is now being questioned.
The favourites now are the National Front’s Marine Le Pen head-to-head with the former Socialist Party economics minister Emmanuel Macron and his own personal party France on the Move.
For Mr Fillon trouble does not travel alone. Not only is he being charged with putting his family on his parliamentary payroll, and for influence peddling, which is all pretty much part of French political life anyway.
In the unkindest cut of all he is also being accused of receiving his fine-cut English style suits as gifts from wealthy benefactors.
Twelve of the 15 regional economies in New Zealand recorded nominal GDP increases in the year ended March 2016, Stats NZ said today.
Provisional estimates show the largest percentage increases were in the Bay of Plenty (7.7 percent), Auckland (6.0 percent), and Otago (4.8 percent). The national increase was 4.1 percent.
“The Bay of Plenty’s increase was underpinned by strong performances across the professional and administrative services, and agriculture, primarily kiwifruit,” senior national accounts manager Gary Dunnet said.
“The increase in Auckland was driven by the professional services, finance, and transport industries.”
Decreases were recorded in Taranaki (8.5 percent), the West Coast (2.8 percent), and Southland (1.0 percent).
“These decreases reflected a fall in mining and agriculture activity, mainly from the impact of lower international prices for oil, coal, and dairy products,” Mr Dunnet said.
Despite a fall in the region’s GDP, Taranaki retained the highest GDP per capita ($71,297), followed by Wellington ($67,888) and Auckland ($58,717). The Northland region had the lowest GDP per capita ($36,531). The national average was $54,178.
New Zealand's regional economies 2016 visually presents the key measures of the 15 regional economies.
This year's regional GDP release includes an additional year of provisional data for 2015 about regional industry activity.
Zespri officially opened its Middle East office in Dubai earlier this week to manage its growing sales and marketing programmes in this region and other developing markets.
Zespri Chief Executive Lain Jager said at the event that Zespri was growing its presence across the Middle East, India and Africa and the new office would support this growth.
“More consumers in the UAE and these regions are enjoying the great taste of premium quality, healthy Zespri Kiwifruit, with sales set to increase by more than 50 percent over the next five years to over 4 million trays of New Zealand fruit and over 2 million trays of global supply (Northern Hemisphere) fruit.
“Zespri’s gold variety SunGold has proved particularly popular with consumers in the Middle East who enjoy its sweet, juicy taste and powerful health properties. Our team in-market is working hard to expand distribution across the region to introduce more consumers to our premium quality fruit and get more of them to buy Zespri Kiwifruit each week,” says Mr Jager.
Zespri’s aim is to grow overall kiwifruit consumption around the world and increase kiwifruit’s share of the global fruitbowl from a fraction of a percent, and building new markets like the Middle East, India and the United States is a key part of this.
A Maori cultural delegation led by kaumatua Kihi Ngatai officially opened and blessed the new office, installing a traditional Maori whakairo (carving) in the office. The carving is named Te Hau Marama which translates to the Wind of Understanding and embraces traditional architecture of the region which takes advantage of desert winds to keep a comfortable breeze for its inhabitants. The carving is made of kauri, traditionally used for pare (lintels) over doorways in wharenui (tribal meeting houses) in New Zealand which provided a boundary between the physical world outside and the spiritual world inside the wharenui.
It is made by James Tapiata who has made several other carvings for Zespri offices in New Zealand and around the world.