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I'm Baaaack.... 4 December 2000 Edition
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Yes, I have returned from Singapore after a very eye-opening trip. Needless to say it has changed my perspectives on many things related to the way we conduct business and the way that at least one part of the world perceives New Zealand and its ability to compete in the knowledge economy.

The first edition of the new Aardvark Weekly will publish on Wednesday and I'll be elaborating on this. If you're planning to set up a new-economy venture, or are looking at obtaining investment from the Asian sector for such a venture then you won't want to miss it!

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IRD = I Raid Databases?
Now we all know that the folks down there at the IRD are nice people and very clever to boot (okay -- now leave me alone! :-)

But... I sure hope they don't think that raiding the Domainz database is going to uncover a wealth of local scoundrels who are evading their obligations to pay tax by running global businesses outside the net of the tax system.

For a start -- anyone planning to trade internationally (thus staying below the IRD's radar screen) would almost certainly be using a dot-com domain name rather than a dot-NZ.

Those who have chosen to go with a dot-NZ domain will probably be transacting some of their business locally -- thus making it very difficult to avoid the existing activities which bring you (sooner or later) into contact with the local tax system.

Let's hope (for the sake of those of us who are actually paying our taxes) that the IRD is working to establish a reciprocal exchange of such information with the USA (for .com names), Tonga (for .to names), and all other registries around the world because -- those who are seriously trying to stay out of the way of the local taxman will almost certainly be bypassing the local registry. Such a reciprocal data-exchange would make a lot of sense because there's every chance that those wishing to dodge their tax obligations in other countries might choose NZ as an alternative place to register a domain name.

Once again this raises the thorny issue of creating an Internet jurisdiction which transcends all geographical boundaries for the purposes of regulating online activities and trading.

Regular Aardvark readers will know of my long-held view that the creation of such a cyber-jurisdiction is the best way to address the pan-border nature of the Net. The EU has recently shown their stupidity by going exactly the other way and mandating that online traders in any member country comply with the laws of all member countries -- can you imagine the nightmare that this represents to small traders who must now research the rules and regulations of all those nations and make sure they're not breaching any. Utter folly!

Let's face it, in the world of bricks and mortar -- if you trade in the UK you follow UK laws; if you trade in Australia you follow Australian laws; so why not agree that if you trade in cyberspace then you follow the laws of that jurisdiction as laid down by (a yet to be defined) international treaty.

While some politicians and legislators may argue that it has the potential to disenfranchise them, they ought also to remember that the creation of such a treaty will give them plenty of chance to enjoy their international travel perks -- so why not just shut-up and get on with the job?

Aardvark Weekly, The First Edition
As mentioned at the top of this page, I have just spent almost a week in Singapore where I met with a number of key people in the new economy area in both formal and informal settings.

The first edition of the new Weekly will include my observations on the rather surprising (to me) way that the some members of the Asian sector of the finance industry and new economy views little old NZ and its attempts to break into the new economy.

Rest assured that my inquiries into the activities of those heading some of our own public new economy companies continues and will also be included in the weekly at the earliest possible opportunity.

If you want to receive the "all new" Aardvark Weekly in PDF format by email then please use the contact form to leave your email address.

All who have subscribed should receive a confirmation email by Tuesday evening and, once they have confirmed, they should get the first edition by email on Wednesday.

As always, email addresses submitted for the purposes of receiving the Weekly will not be given away, sold, bent, spindled, mutilated or otherwise abused and you will not receive anything other than the weekly as a result of signing up.

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Copyright © 2000, Bruce Simpson, free republication rights available on request

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