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New Zealand's Nasdaq? 8 August 2000 Edition
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Yesterday I suggested that I'm working on an article that I hope will provide some analysis and insight into the growing number of new economy companies which are publicly listed in New Zealand.

Well it looks as if Iguana have just launched an excellent new market index called 4i and which can be found at the website 4 4i.co.nz.

Those smart guys at 4i have obviously been paying close attention because they have made some smart marketing moves here.

First up -- note the domain name. Starts with a numeral, and a low ordered numeral at that!

Secondly, they've produced some value-exchange brandware in the form of a market index graphic that any other website can add to their own pages very quickly and easily.

They're also being nicely reactive to early feedback -- working hard to get around the way Netscape's rendering engine stutters and stalls on complex table structures. Yes -- if you're a Netscape user running anything less than a very fast Pentium III processor you probably get annoyed at the way sites such as the NZHerald and Stuff.co.nz stall part-way through loading a page -- effectively freezing the entire browser for 10-15 seconds at a time.

Perhaps my only negative (and highly subjective) comment of the 4i service would be that perhaps they've made the appearance of their brandware just a little to cartoonish. At a time when it's still difficult for new economy companies in NZ to win widespread recognition and support from the investor community, I would have probably opted for a slightly more conservative presentation -- to try and maximise the new index's credibility within the "old school" with the fat wallets. Still, I guess they could offer the current design plus a more conservative one for those sites that wanted to retain that air of conservatism.

Overall though I'd have to say that this is an important, and not insignificant step forward for what little new economy action there is in New Zealand. At last we have a gauge by which we can measure the overall performance of those publicly listed companies that are launching forth into this exciting new marketplace.

Where Is The Government?
Over the past week I've had at least five power cuts here. The fourth cut was not a clean one -- the spikes blowing up a TV set that I was unable to switch off in time. Also, due to the duration of the cuts and the fact that I only had 5 litres of fuel for my generator, I had to shut down my computers during the last one -- with the result that two of them would not restart and required repairs. That sometimes happens when you run them for three or four years without a power-down and then let them cool before restarting.

Of course this atrocious service comes just days after TransAlta announced that they would be lifting the daily line-charge. So here I am, paying more for less.

When confronted, TransAlta say that the power cuts and resulting damage are not their problem -- it's United Networks who manage the lines. United Networks say that they are not responsible to me, or any other TransAlta customer, because my contract is with TransAlta.

So... I'm left paying the bill for the damage caused because successive governments could neither create nor fix an efficient electricity infrastructure in this country.

Now we know this is a fiasco created by the previous government -- but why isn't the present one doing something about it?

Why are United Networks about to spend $30m moving into the broadband data market when they appear to be unable to fulfill their existing role as an efficient, reliable, economic provider of electrical power circuits?

Given that the latest TransAlta line price-hike disadvantage the low-income and elderly who can least afford to pay more, surely this "all caring, all loving" government which purports to have a social conscience is delinquent in its duty to protect that part of our community.

As always, your feedback is welcomed.

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