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!
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.
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.
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