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Dateline: 20 March 2000 Early Edition
Read The Previous Edition
A permanent link to this page can be found here

First up, my apologies for the seeming no-show of Friday's edition. It was actually ready and uploaded first thing Friday morning but it seems that something went wrong so it never made it to the server. I did up load it on Saturday but for those who missed it, and to read my thoughts on the NZoom.com site, you can click here.

He's Dead -- Jim (Anderton that is)
On Thursday of last week I sent an email to the Minister of Economic Development, Jim Anderton, in which I suggested he might want to consider some of the initiatives I have proposed in this column and elsewhere for kick-starting NZ's KBE.

I requested that he offer a personal acknowledgement of the email (rather than a canned generic response from his secretary) as I felt this was an extremely important issue.

Over the coming weeks (perhaps months) I will keep a count of how long it takes for the Minister to respond to my email. Four days and counting so far.

I note also that the Labour-led coalition has decided that we won't be having a "Knowledge Based Economy" any more -- because that's a National government thing -- instead we will be having a "New Economy". Branding is everything it would seem.

I also note with some sadness that the new government plans to ditch the review into NZ's R&D tax policies which was initiated by National. The stupidity of this is that they seem to claim that to change the current policies could threaten hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenues. How the hell do Australia, the USA, Ireland and a host of other countries manage without double-taxing R&D investment I wonder?

More Buffoonery
As regular readers will recall, Patrick O'Brien, the CEO of Domainz has launched a legal challenge to comments made by Alan Brown -- claiming that those remarks were defamatory.

In its first round of communications with Mr Brown the lawyers working on behalf of Mr O'Brien and paid for by Domainz with the stated endorsement of ISOCNZ's Chair and council, showed themselves to be buffoons by drafting a document that was so full of errors, spelling mistakes and other amateurish gaffes that it was laughable.

Well they've now amended their "Statement Of Claim" and served the new documents on Mr Brown -- who has promptly posted them to the Net, as he did with the first set.

It's nice to see that the lawyers have learned a little (like how to proof read and get the spelling of their client's name right) but they're still a bit short on any serious understanding of the Net.

For example -- did you realise that the newsgroup nz.org.isocnz is actually owned by ISOCNZ? This will come as a bit of a shock to the millions of Net users who have for years laboured under the belief that nobody actually owns a newsgroup -- but who are we to argue with a team of "crack defamation lawyers" that have only recently learned to distinguish between strong dislike, contempt, or aversion and a small building of ancient Greece and Rome used for public performances of music and poetry.

The Statement of Claim also says "The language used by the defendant and the tone of the statement is excessive for the occasion." Excuse me?? Clearly these people know nothing about the culture of the Net and the somewhat higher levels of criticism (aka "flaming") which are considered acceptable when posting to such mediums as usenet.

However, the most worrying thing about the new Statement Of Claim (apart from the $140,000 they want from Mr Brown) is the manner in which it seemingly attempts to enter into evidence the fact that Mr Brown published the documents served upon him by way of posting them to his website. It also lists a number of statements made subsequent to the serving of the papers in which Mr Brown expresses only his opinions.

So... it would seem, according to O'Brien's set of crack defamation lawyers, that publishing copies of papers which were written by the plaintiff's lawyers (and are obviously are intended to be a matter of public record), and even expressing an opinion (as opposed to representing such opinion to be fact) is now something to be punished by law.

This stupidity has to be stopped!

I hereby call on Peter Dengate-Thrush and the ISOCNZ council to withdraw their support and the mandate for Domainz's funding of O'Brien's frivolous law suit (and demand that O'Brien reimburse Domainz for any monies already paid to lawyers on O'Brien's behalf in relation to this case) - or reaffirm their ridiculous endorsement of this action and Domainz funding thereof.

If the Chair and council do reaffirm their endorsement of the action, or if they refuse to restate their position on the matter then I would call on ISOCNZ members to request a special meeting and issue a vote of no-confidence in the seemingly delinquent attitude of its upper hierarchy.

Mr Dengate-Thrush and the ISOCNZ council -- the ball is firmly in your court (no pun intended).

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