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Mass Scam Follows Xtra Security Overhaul

MSC Newswire has taken up with Spark how a counterfeit email seemingly from Spark itself and with the subject line title "Dear Xtra Spark Email User” had been able in fact to make the transit of Spark’s own security-enhanced messaging service.

The issue was taken up with Spark in the morning of Monday May 8. No response had been received by the close of the business day on Thursday May 11.

Astonishingly while MSC Newswire was talking to the Spark official and referring online on their mailbox to this counterfeit email unwanted pop-ups appeared (see screen grab top of this story.)

Here is the email. Note the subject line:--

From: Xtra Spark NZ eCare <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 06 May 2017 at 10:14
Subject: Dear Xtra Spark Email User

Dear Xtra Spark Email User

This message is to all Xtra Spark Email Service Users. This is a notice and update to our valuable customer’s that a malware was recently detected in your account system so we have implement Anti-Malware software removes and virus free. As a result of that our Internet Tech Support is currently re-upgrading and verifying your email system networking center to identify and delete all email accounts registered unduly. This will enable us increase storage capacities for existing users and create more space for registration of new webmail future users.

To finish and fix your email account system service problem as it’s always up to date, and stops viruses before they reach your email account reply with the following details to upgrade and secure your email account for best internet service supply.

Email Address:

User name:


Reconfirm Password:

Zip Code:

Warning! Failure to reply with the above information will rendered your webmail account temporarily suspended by technical service admin.

Copyright © 2017. All Rights Reserved.

The pop up on the user's online Xtra mailbox was peddling a variety of services.We contacted via a given pop-up phone number the service advertised. It was from an organisation calling itself Financial Services Complaints Ltd.

The person answering the phone said that they were called Jan and confirmed that they were in the business of pay-day loans. Jan said the firm was based in Takapuna.

This state of affairs follows Spark’s bringing “home” its Xtra email service which was previously run in association with Yahoo. The association soured when Yahoo was the target of international and well publicised email hacks.

Spark’s core security work was undertaken by a third party specialist security company in New Zealand.

Spark has been hunkered down since its Xtra changeover which has been characterised by individual Xtra users having trouble migrating themselves onto the new all-New Zealand service.

Meanwhile MSC Newswire has questioned one of the spyware scammers making a pest of themselves with New Zealand internet users.

The scam spyware presentation said that it was in a position to rid the internet-user's computer of a variety of incriminating material that was now deposited on the user’s computer.

The telephone number 09 8010 177 was identified and was rung back.

The individual at the other end of the line identified themselves as “Tony” and said that they were based in California, and claimed to be legitimate.

|  From theThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ||  Thursday 11 May 2017   |||

Published in EXCLUSIVE

Will bring much needed internationalism to White House

Published in THE BOTTOM LINE

Henry Ford offered Keith Holyoake a game changer.

| Napier - MSCNewsWire - Tuesday 22 Nov, 2016 | Just over a half century  ago Henry Ford proposed to New Zealand prime minister Keith Holyoake a deal that would have forever changed the face of the economy. The deal was this...

If the New Zealand government would allow Ford to bring its cars into New Zealand fully built-up and ready for the road, then the Ford Motor Company, said Mr Ford (pictured at the time) would make New Zealand one of its key centres globally for the supply of castings and forgings.

At this time New Zealand was the acknowledged leader in castings and forgings in Oceania.

The problem the industry had was short-run production. There was not the scale for the long runs required to embed the industry so that it did not have to be protected, which it was, and heavily.

This was the height of the protectionist era. The Ford cars were shipped into New Zealand as kitsets, known as CKDs – completely knocked down. In effect, disassembled vehicles. These were reassembled again in the Hutt Valley providing immense employment and thus contributing to the reverse unemployment of that era. Too many jobs. Not enough people to do them.

The Ford Motor Co had seen all this. Now was the time to put forward the offset in the form of designating New Zealand as what would now be known as a centre of “ excellence” for castings and forgings components.

In the event premier Keith Holyoake whose operating principle was “steady as she goes” turned down the scheme and the CKDs poured into New Zealand for another 20 years.



Published in THE BOTTOM LINE

Will bring much needed internationalism to White House

Published in THE BOTTOM LINE

Bank officials proclaim themselves “stoked” by disappearance of depositor protection.


In a remarkable display of modern financial marketing presentation techniques the cancellation of Kiwbank’s deposit guarantee is being portrayed as an advantage for........Kiwibank’s depositors. 

The 14 year old deposit insurance scheme will disappear on February 28 next year.

The deposit guarantee was always an important selling proposition for Kiwibank. The reason is that other New Zealand bank deposits are not guaranteed by anyone and certainly not the government.

Kiwibank marketeers are slickly presenting the pending disappearance of the bank deposit guarantee as an example of the bank maturing and generally coming of age.
“This reflects how far Kiwibank has come.......We are now a successful and profitable a guarantee to give customers confidence in a brand new bank is no longer needed.”

The grounds for seeking to convert what is in customer terms is a negative into giving the appearance of a full-fledged advantage attribute is based on the investment in the bank by the New Zealand Super Fund and Accident Compensation Corporation.

“It means the profits Kiwibank delivers will continue to stay in New Zealand directly benefitting all Kiwis.”

Exulting in this somewhat nebulous benefit the letter to depositors (pictured) devolves into street-language in order to express the full measure of its own enthusiasm for the disappearance of the deposit guarantee scheme.  “....So we are absolutely stoked,” declares in his letter to depositors Mark Wilkshire the Kiwibank marketing head. 

In the event the investment in the publicly-owned bank has merely diversified. The underpinning is now spread around additional public bodies in the form of the Super Fund and Accident Compensation.

It is not immediately apparent how this public risk-spread will reinforce the retention of profits within New Zealand.

The deftly presented transformation of a marketing drawback, the withdrawal of the guarantee, into a customer benefit underlines though the continuing and misplaced belief that all bank deposits in New Zealand are somehow guaranteed. This continues in spite of assertions, notably from the Reserve Bank, that no guarantee exists.

However the government-sponsored and multi-faceted and attenuated bailing out of the BNZ after the 1987 bust greatly contributed to reinforcing this misapprehension to the effect that all banks, notably the trading banks are covered by a guarantee.

In the event, the publicly-owned Kiwibank was the exception in that its deposits were, and until February 28 will continue to be, underwritten by the state.

From the MSCNewsWire reporters desk  -  Monday 7 November 2016

Published in THE BOTTOM LINE

New Party will shake up self-serving Members of Parliament

Like a South Seas version of Donald Trump New Zealand economist–philanthropist and family man Gareth Morgan has launched himself into the firmament of Oceania politics astride his own freshly minted political party and has done so with the same purpose which is to introduce a new order to replace the current one in which he sees Members of Parliament primarily fixated on becoming MPs. Then remaining MPs.

Mr Morgan proclaims that he intends to “light a fuse” under the existing order and thus break the stranglehold that he claims “career” politicians have on the nation of under five million people.

Igniting his “fuse,” in the form of his Opportunities Party on the eve of Guy Fawkes, he does not object to being compared to Donald Trump in terms of Trump’s determination to smash the status quo.

The Opportunities Party will start issuing segments of its manifesto soon.

Mr Morgan’s decision to launch his own political vehicle comes as no surprise. The Welsh-born economist was a household business name before his family began and then spectacularly sold its version of Ebay.

The family’s TradeMe online site which replaced newspaper classified advertising was sold to the Australian-based Fairfax media chain for $700,000,000. This was approximately the same amount that News Corporation paid at the same time for Myspace which was at the same time one of the world’s busiest social networking sites. When additional management contracts were taken into account the sum is considered to have been in the region of NZD1 billion.

The problem for the new acquirer, Fairfax, was that TradeMe which retained its saturation in New Zealand had mixed results in market penetration internationally, notably in Australia.

In addition to his family’s wealth, Mr Morgan fills the other side of the equation for being admired in New Zealand which is that he is a sportsman being, with his wife, a big capacity motorbike traveler across the world’s most demanding terrains.

It is unlikely that Mr Morgan will have any problems in acquiring the 500 members required in New Zealand for his new party to obtain official recognition.

Mr Morgan is likely to enjoy from the wider voter spectrum approval for lighting the blue touchpaper under the seats of “career” politicians, an unknown species in New Zealand until the 1980s.

Until that time Members of Parliament were drawn from those who had served as farmers, businessmen or commercial lawyers (National Party) or trade unionists, educationalists or advocacy lawyers (Labour Party.)

From the 1980s onward the trend became defined for candidates to start aiming for election at an early age and to bring with them, if successful, no previously acquired practical or applied experience beyond that of campaigning and boondoggling to become an MP.

It remains uncertain if Mr Morgan will offer himself as a candidate for his new party. A problem for him will remain that in spite of proportional representation being well installed in New Zealand, it has not propagated the same diversity of splinter parties which it has done, for example in Latin nations where it has long been standard.

The two monolithic parties continue to dominate. Though with a degree of permutation and combination with smaller parties, notably Greens and Maori, and the Winston Peters New Zealand First.

However, Mr Morgan’s move will act to crystallise disquiet about the general numbers, terms and conditions, especially those relating to emoluments of New Zealand’s sitting MPs. There are 120 of them, and they are rather better paid than their 650 counterparts in Westminster.

He will tap too into electorate disquiet about the ease with which their pay increases enjoy easy legislative passage at a time when everyone else is being urged to tighten their belts. Similarly with the seemingly infinite career duration of certain members along with the perennial matter of MPs long-tail entitlements.

From theA MSCNewsWre reporters' desk

Published in THE BOTTOM LINE

Oceania Free Trade will give Lowlands a conflict-free market zone which Canada deal will not

The EU’s stop-go trade deal with Canada points up the obvious advantages that the Lowlands, notably Belgium, will derive from a similar such arrangement with New Zealand
The Walloons, the Belgium-region which vetoed the Canadian deal, has been scorned for its obstructionism. Yet in fact a single market with Canada poses immense problems to Belgium which was once the European powerhouse of the Industrial Revolution.

Here are some of them:-

  •  Canada’s heavy engineering sector, notably in the form of Bombardier, will compete directly with EU’s heavy industries notably in planes and trains.
  •  Canada’s food manufacturing in the form of Weston among others will compete directly with EU producers everywhere.
  • · Canada’s milk production is the most heavily licensed, regulated and restricted in the entire world
  •  United States manufacturers and production engineers will now source in Canada their exports, notably vehicles, to the EU and thus claim single market privileges and preferences
  •  Canada’s banks are superbly regulated and equally finely managed and have safely absorbed every global crisis. They will now compete on equal terms with the EU’s own banks.

Now in beneficial contrast let us look at what the pending New Zealand – EU holds in store for the Walloons and everyone else in the EU zone:-

  •  New Zealand’s heavy engineering is confined to production processing and thus there is no conflict in the key transport sector
  •  New Zealand’s big-league food manufacturing such as Heinz Watties is already foreign owned and will thus present no fresh competition
  •  New Zealand milk production scene is already open to EU manufacturers who are encouraged to have plants here. EU’s Danone and Parmalat are two examples
  •  New Zealand offers no back door opportunities to other nation-state manufacturers
  •  New Zealand’s banks are owned in Australia. The only competition in fact comes from the Lowlands-owned Rabobank.

If the Walloons are still wallowing in any misconception about the straight-out benefits of the New Zealand arrangement then they can comfort themselves in some historical background. This might include for example the fact that both countries are roughly the same age, having been founded in the middle of the 1800s.

Both countries can thank Britain’s Lord Palmerston for their existence. It was Lord Palmerston who organised the carving out of Belgium from the Netherlands. Similarly Lord Palmerston’s hand was evident in the creation of New Zealand where he is celebrated with a number of place-names.

From the MSCNewsWire reporters' desk -  Sunday 31 October 2016

Published in THE BOTTOM LINE

Applied management training

The Ministry of Works was a prime mover in further education and this especially applied to ensuring that its engineers were given practical management training. Throughout the 1960s, for example, its chief training officer G.P. Rabey with the Institute of Management conducted applied training sessions throughout the country.

In your anonymous communique “Do you Want Another Ministry of Works?” Your correspondent defines the problem which was becoming discernible in the 1960s of the government being the major operator, in this case of public works, while at the same time being civil engineering sector regulator. As was pointed out, this dual role had the immediate impact of an extreme safety regime everywhere, all the time.

The wisdom of the state relinquishing operational participation in civil engineering works, as your correspondent indicated, became abundantly obvious with the Pike River mining disaster in which there was a deliberate attempt to smear the state which was vulnerable as both operator and regulator.

The Ministry of Works had come to the end of its useful life by the 1980s. The private sector by then had developed to the point at which it could take over, and which it proceeded to do.

The notion that the Ministry of Works was behind the times, feather-bedded, or otherwise unequal to the technical demands placed upon it is quite untrue, and quite unfair to the dedicated people who successfully staffed it all levels and right to the very end.

As your correspondent states, it should instead be held up as a shining example of quite recent New Zealand civil engineering excellence.

Your correspondent likened its structure to that of the military. My recollection is that its administrative structure also resembled the Imperial one with its district officers, commissioners, and Residents.

All this did nothing to dispel the fusty image that now attaches to the old Ministry.

Yet it was exactly this clear-cut structure that pinned down responsibility and successfully sidestepped the type of multi-layer administrative duck shoving that has come to characterise big projects in the current era. Whoever was operationally responsible for projects at the MoW, it was always the engineer.


With good wishes

A.J. Springhall

Published in THE BOTTOM LINE

An ex-employee reader responds to the question “Do you want another Ministry of Works?”

For a while in the 1960s I worked as a labourer at the Ministry of Works Benmore dam site. It has been fashionable now for an entire generation to deride the MoW, everything it stood for, and everything it did. Yet I believe that the MoW is now worthy of some impartial scrutiny and especially so in the way in which it routinely went about its business in what are now viewed as critical spheres of activity in the productive sector. Among them:-
     *   Quality Control
     *   Staff induction and management
     *   Technical training
     *   Environment
     *   Safety
First though a personal disclosure. When I signed up at Otematata other than a strong back there was little to recommend me in terms of formal qualifications. In the event I was hired and assigned to the single men’s camp, and told to turn up at a designated truck stop early the following morning to be taken to the site.

In fact, the next morning, I was dropped off at the site plant nursery. It was only much later that I realised that during my preliminary interview I had mentioned a very brief holiday job planting trees and a vague interest in silviculture in general. This had been carefully noted.

I was to find in the Otematata site nursery that everyone involved in it was highly qualified, notably the head nurseryman named Sid who had spent his entire career in the vocation. In various other roles in and around Benmore I was to find that the Ministry of Works had in common with the army a dislike of on-the-job training. You had to arrive at the job, whatever it was, already trained for it.

The planting out of the trees, notably willow and poplar poles, around the Benmore Lake area was then described as being for erosion control. But I noted too that care was taken that ornamental species were dotted in and around the more functional tree species.

After a while I was sent to another depot, this time with quite a different purpose, and known as The Reclaim. This was simply a vast open air yard reconditioning plant in which the wooden boxing used to shape and form the poured concrete was scraped bare so that it could be used again. Mechanical equipment was similarly scraped of concrete so that it too could be re-applied.

It was only much later that I came to realise that I had been involved, courtesy of the Ministry of Works, with what would now be readily described as recycling, or, more grandly, the environmental “movement.”

On the dam site itself I observed at every stage the calculating and re-calculating of every operation before it in fact took place. In terms of concrete pouring nothing happened at all without the sanction of what was known as the concrete “technician,” who generally turned out to be Dutch.

The Ministry of Works had a safety record that would stand up to this day. Nothing was taken for granted.

On one smoko break in the middle of a particularly arid part of the site area a group of us were sitting down and using the tyres of a Euclid as back rest.

A Land Rover came to an abrupt halt in front of the group. A foreman leaped out and crisply instructed us to move away. There had been a case somewhere of such a giant earthmover tyre bursting and injuring those close to it.

A criticism of the MoW nowadays is to the effect that the labouring force was stuck there in the labouring category and that there was no upward path in terms of promotion. In fact, I observed that any reasonably diligent youngster could work his way up. Again, and as with the army, you worked your way up through the ranks--- leading hand, charge hand, foreman. Then there was the opportunity of breaking into the commissioned officer class via an engineering degree.

Engineers ran the show. They exercised their authority by moral suasion. At the very top was the Project Engineer. The following tale will demonstrate the absence of any elitism.

On one occasion I was invited to a party at the house of a fellow-labourer who happened to be married and thus lived in the married people’s section of the town which featured uniform state house design white painted bungalows.

On inquiring who my friend’s neighbour was I was mildly surprised to learn that it was the Project Engineer who lived there, next door, in an identical house and with his wife and family.

An Englishman present was incredulous that someone who was personally responsible for the success or otherwise of one of the world’s major construction schemes (Benmore, pictured, was then the planet’s biggest earth-fill dam) could possibly be billeted next door to one of his labourers.

Yet this was the case. The Ministry of Works never fell into the trappings trap.

The days of which I write were sometime before the era in which the productive sector, like all other areas of human activity became engulfed in the newspeak required to blunt the sense of anything upon which might be placed an impolite construction.

The single men’s cabin camp had emblazoned on its main entrance a sign which stated “Women and Bailiffs not Allowed.”

The camp sergeant, as he would not now be described, was a larger-than-life fellow called Taffy. He was rumoured to be rich, owning a large farm in the region, but finding it more congenial to run the camp rather than his farm which was in the hands of a manager.

He was ultra frugal. A curious thing about the camp cabins was that in spite of their proximity to this immense electrical generation capability, each one of them was metered. Taffy, when the time came for a brew up, would always take his Zip to one of the communal areas, such as the laundry, in order to by-pass his own meter.

Anyway, on one occasion, I asked him about the sign at the gate, the one forbidding females.
“Oh,” he responded in a matter of fact manner. “That is what the men here wanted.”

The Waitaki River stepped hydro scheme was the high water mark of the Ministry of Works. This was the culmination of its role as the national concentrated focus of civil engineering resources in order that gigantic works which otherwise would be unachievable were in fact achieved.

Nothing lasts for ever and the nibbling away at its authority was even then visible. Much earlier Bechtel did the Rimutaka Tunnel. Problems with construction tunnelling was an acknowledged deficiency in the Ministry of Works armoury and at Benmore I noticed how readily hard rock miners from the Balkans were welcomed into the polyglot fold.

Downer did Roxburgh. Utah, Manapouri. Then Codelfa, Tongariro. The writing was on the penstocks.

The Ministry of Works was swept away in the 1980s and its expertise sold-off to Malaysia in the form of Opus (Latin for work.)

So why am I writing all this, more than half a century afterward? It is because at an engineering conference in Wellington I, along with the rest of the audience, was rhetorically asked by a high-level speaker defending the government position on several contentious fronts .....

“Do you want another Ministry of Works?”
This is exactly the kind of rebellion-quelling response that high-level officials are trained and qualified to give.

My answer, had I been required to respond individually would have been.
“No I do not. The government can no longer run the risk of being both simultaneously operator and regulator.”

Had I been, in my imagination, pressed further I would have mentioned the perilous wire tripped by the state’s dual involvement as operator-cum-regulator in mining. Pushed, I might have mentioned its similar dodgy dual role in loosey goosy sectors such as entertainment.

As is the New Zealand way when the old Ministry of Works was declared a bad thing, everything about it was bad, and over the years, as the government speaker knew, got worse in memory with each year that passed by.

And yet....and yet.....Along with others who were there, I remember the expert but no-frills management style, the exceptional ability of the engineers and the loyalty and the diligence it all inspired in the workers of which for a while I was one.

From the MSCNewsWire reporters' desk - Friday 21 October 2016

Published in THE BOTTOM LINE

Auckland, 17th October 2016 - Last week New Zealand’s leading Autodesk reseller of BIM and Manufacturing software, CADPRO Systems hosted an event for the construction industry with Sharp Corporation, to present the next generation of technology revolutionising the sector.

BIM technology helps to minimise errors and omissions during building design, find and reduce costly design conflicts before construction begins and improve project consistency with all parties involved.

Held at Sharp’s state-of-the-art showroom, in Auckland, the event was specifically designed to best present BIM technology in action through the use of Sharp’s latest 80” Interactive Touch panel.

Sharp’s Touch panel enables BIM software users to make changes on screen, overlaying notes, diagrams and points of interest which can be effortlessly saved, emailed and printed.

“Design Review and Site meetings are an essential part of the construction industry work process, so having tools such as the Interactive Touch panel that encourage interactive and dynamic meetings is really important,” says Hans Grootegoed, Managing Director, CADPRO Systems.

“Industry leaders surveyed believe that products and services they sell today will not be relevant in three years. To meet this challenge, innovation is the key,” states Jan Nicol-Winitana, Managing Director, Sharp Corporation of New Zealand

“To drive innovation, collaboration and sharing of ideas and information seamlessly is the answer. Sharp and CADPRO’s leading-edge interactive technology provides the perfect collaboration tools for business across construction, architecture and manufacturing,” adds Nicol-Winitana.

By being able to present the new BIM technology via the Interactive Touch panel guest were able to see the numerous benefits of the technology, including virtual reality, and how it could be applied to their business, this included:

• Building industry – the VR technology dovetails with BIM workflow and serves an integral part of virtual design review and construction planning.

• Architects - a highly effective means of visualising, marketing and selling an architectural project - opening up a new world of possibilities for design review, functional testing, client approval and training.

• Manufacturers - enabling full scale design reviews to allow ergonomics testing for maintenance of equipment, as well as collaboration between geographically distributed teams.

• Sales teams - can also utilize the technology to engage with designs and when planning factory layouts, the technology can be used to quickly test workability of various iterations of equipment placement.

Sharp also showcased the use of video conferencing (VC) with the Interactive Touch panel. Demonstrating how its VC solution provides unsurpassed quality and reliable communications with staff and customers anywhere on any device, leading to better meeting outcomes.

Published in THE BOTTOM LINE
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