Thursday 30 April 2009

John Allen likely to be named NZ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade head?

John Allen for MFAT?
The Trans Tasman Political Letter is reporting that John Allen, current CEO of NZ Post is the front runner to head MFAT, the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

They also claim the choice of John Allen as the favoured candidate, is underpinned by a determination by the National government in general, and Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully and Trade Minister Tim Groser in particular, to implement a "change of culture" at the ministry.

Standards - metrics - evidence
From my understanding of John Allen, he will certainly be that. Charismatic, driven, and totally focused, he brought NZ Post from a state of atrophy to a vibrant, and profitable player in the banking and new communications space.

Under his stewardship, even in these times, business diversification strategies helped the New Zealand Post Group achieve a net profit of $52.8 million in the half year ended 31 December 2008. These earnings compare with the $52.9 million reported for the corresponding previous half year.

I once saw him give an after dinner speech to a room full of politicians, public servants, and industry types gathered to debate national digital strategies.

He left us all stunned! It wasn't just the loudness of the voice - it was the sheer passion to suceed that broke people out in cold sweats. Good god! He was asking for standards - metrics - evidence!

Trade versus Aid?
On that one encounter alone I have no doubt, if appointed, he will bring a welcome sense of urgency to the role of the Ministry as an advocate for trade and prosperity.

NZ Aid
However, it would also be very good to hear his views on how country specific development aid contributes to the alleviation of poverty in the receiving country. In short, will he reverse the plan to bring NZAid in house, and it let it stand alone with its own independence of purpose.

OLPC - Pacific
And, given his competence in the digital space, it would be absolutely the total ships biscuit if he could introduce some clarity of vision, thought and execution to how New Zealand supports and encourages the use of ICT for development!

For example, by getting behind some of the Pacific initiatives like OLPC - Pacific. Perhaps someone can point his mouse there. Then, tis to be hoped we wait for the roar!

Clay Shirky at the Smithsonian 2.0 session - here comes everyone

Museums and the blogging thing
Came across a three references this morning which I wanted to share. First up, if you are interested in Museum blogs, then have a look at this new aggregation site, Museum Blogs, which puts together a feed to 331 museum related blogs. Second have a look at the Cooler Insights blog from Singapore based Walter Lim, where I got the latter reference.

Smithsonian 2.0
Third, Walter Lim also pointed me to more sessions from the Smithsonian 2.0 seminar.

Clay Shirky: Here comes everybody
The featured one above comes from Clay Shirky, the author of Here Comes Everyone. It's definitely worth your attention. And he hasn't trademarked the title!

CILIP 2.0 - starting the conversation

librarian coelancanth - librarian raptor - librarian sapiens

Conversation, not content is king.

[Cory Doctorow]
It's late evening here in Auckland NZ. Up in London, members of the UK library/librarian professional association CILIP, and their Trustees, will be sitting down to begin their open discussion session on how CILIP can leverage the potential of web 2.0 tools and frameworks. It starts at 2:30pm London time.

The CILIP offices are in central London, just around the corner from the British Library Not far away are the wonderful evocative streets of Bloomsbury. They are even on Google Street view, here. A point that might surprise some of their more traditional members.

The CILIP web 2.0 tools and framework session
'It's to be hoped the room is packed as CILIP pick up the challenge of using web 2.0 tools and services.

Phil Bradley
Regular readers of this blog will remember this challenge was thrown down by Phil Bradley who in response to CEO Bob'McKee's , All of a Twitter post, left CILIP in no doubt that it was high time they did some thinking around web 2,0 as well as offering some professional leadership to their members on the challenges and opportunities it presents to the library world.

This session marks the beginning of this public thinking. To CILIP's credit not only is it open to all - they have also asked Phil and his virtual colleague, Brain Kelly, to lead the session.

Brian Kelly - UKOLN
Phil is sharing the opening session with the equally well qualified Brian Kelly from UKOLN. Brian has been running session on web 2.0 for the UK, JISC.

We need more critical friends
He has also written a blog post on We Need More Critical Friends! , has expanded on this point in several of his recent talks: A Risks and Opportunities Framework For Archives 2.0 and Time To Stop Doing and Start Thinking: A Framework For Exploiting Web 2.0 Services , and in a workshop he facilitated at the Museums and the Web 2009 conference on Openness in the Cloud.

Brian Kelly rehearsal for CILIP 2.0
In an interesting move, has put a rehearsal of his CILIP presentation online. I think this is a lovely gesture So as I await the outcome of the real thing, I offer the embed to the same.

Ther is a Twitter tag for the session #CILIP2.0

1. Transcript of Twitter tag, here

Wednesday 29 April 2009

NZ Government scale back National Library revamp

Media release from Richard Worth - Minister to NZNL
"The Government has decided to scale back the revamp of the National Library's Wellington building but will ensure the nation's treasures are protected by increasing storage, fixing leaks, upgrading equipment and addressing deferred maintenance.

The revamp is to cost $52 million which will include $35 million in capital spending and $17 million in operational spending over the next four years.

It is a significant reduction from the previously proposed redevelopment plan, which was originally costed at $82 million ($69 million capital plus $13 million operating costs) but has since been costed at about $90 million.

The Minister Responsible for the Library, Dr Richard Worth, said that the Government had been forced to reconsider the previous government's decision in light of the international recession.

However, Dr Worth said the option that had been chosen would address the critical problems the Library faced.

"In recognition of the economic climate, the Government has decided that the full redevelopment option, at a total cost of about $90 million over the next four years, cannot be sustained.

"Instead, the Government will support the funding of improved storage for the National Library's heritage collection and replacement of critical plant and infrastructure at a budget of approximately $35 million in capital spending, with operational costs of $17 million, over the next four years."

Dr Worth said doing nothing was not an option as the building was effectively full and failing equipment, substandard storage environments, and water leaks were putting the collections - valued at nearly $1 billion - at serious risk.

"This is a responsible decision which balances the need to protect our nation's treasures and taonga while taking heed of the fact that we are in the midst of a recession."

However, the Library's 95km of collections material would still need to be relocated during the revamp and the Library had assured him that care and protection of the heritage collections would be paramount during the relocation period.

"The Library has already communicated with the research community on access requirements throughout the development period as a reduction in the level of access to its collections during this time is expected. The Library will shortly confirm its general relocation details and access to collections."

Dr Worth noted that Library staff would be focused on an extensive digitisation programme while out of the building which would improve access by all New Zealanders to the Library's collections.

The scaled back project would require the design work to be revisited and a fresh resource consent would be sought from Wellington City Council. .."

end of media statement

Feel the fear - do it - and wait for the lawyer's letter

Eclectic indignant

Sometime in the 1980's Mark Lawson the well known UK writer, journalist and critic used to write a regular parliamentary sketch for either the Times or the Independent. This morning, I'm reminded of one of his classic lines - when he described a long since forgotten backbench MP, as a "truly eclectic indignant' And yep - it totally apples to me sometimes - especially this morning.

Feel the fear ....
The story that has provoked a full scale Captain Grumpy makeover comes from David Cain, and his excellent, who tells the tale of how, last Sunday, "the writer , well-known and well-liked blogger Leo Babauta of ZenHabits received an email from the lawyers of author Susan Jeffers, claiming that he had infringed on her trademark in one of his posts by using the phrase “feel the fear and do it anyway” — the title of Jeffers’ book"

The kernel of the story is that Jeffers has trademarked the phrase - 'feel the fear and do it anyway' and so now, if you want to use it, you have to acknowledge this by inserting a TM symbol.

Rapitute makes a far more elegant case than I as to why this practice, especially when it refers to a book title, can lead to madness. See here, for this.

Nonsense on stilts
I in turn can't quite believe I am reading such nonsense on stilts. Searching for even a fig leaf of logic the best I can say to Ms Jeffers and her possie of legal petulance, is to ask them 'how can an author who makes a living out of advocating personal empowerment think that insisting on this petty acknowledgment does anything to advance these intentions?'

As for the more general point - how can there be any logic in a book title becoming a trademark and so subject to restrictions on how it can be quoted, or cited? It's a book title !

Time to be afraid of your bookshelf ?
Does this mean that everybody who bought this book has to acknowledge the trademark when they write/blog/talk about it?

Will all these people at Library Thing be getting a note from Ms Jeffers loon factory? Does every public library who stocks the book have to change their record? Do they know?

World Cat
Try this new widget from Worldcat and search your local library and find out:

Tweet - blog - facebook
On the bigger picture, as David Cain says - time to expose this - tweet - facebook - blog - whatever it takes - just feel the fear and do it .... !

Louis CK - Everything is amazing, nobody is happy.

credit - got the reference from @mathewsanders

Tuesday 28 April 2009

The new 3G network from Telecom New Zealand launches on May 13th, 2009: the singularity grows nearer

Telecom NZ XT 3G
The news that
Telecom New Zealand had brought forward the launch of their new XT 3G network to May 13th is very welcome, because despite the hype, I believe it will bring some welcome competition to this space, and hopefully also gives us to chance to revisit the 'Internet in your pocket' debate.

The detail
Telecom NZ have spent NZ$574 million on the new network. It replaces their legacy CDMA platform, and brings them into the 3G WCDMA 850MHz (W850) space. In plainer English this will bring Telecom NZ back into the mainstream of competitive 3G which handles voice, data, and a swag of other next generation services.

Devices - Samsung, Sony Ericsson et al
Its also reported that they will launch with a whole bunch of new handsets including the Sony Ericsson, W995 with 8.1 mega pixel camera, a Walkman music player, and the Samsung F480 touch screen.

And yes, in theory the iPhone will run perfectly well on the new platform/frequency. And of course there are a dozen rumours a day floating around the press and PR traps that Telecom NZ will have an iPhone deal on day one, and that the current Vodafone monopoly will be toast.

Data plans - better pricing
There is nothing out on the public domain around data charges or pricing plans. Hardly surprising, if a tad frustrating. There has to be movement on this - or else the talk of more competition will be a farce.

As to speeds, although none have been released, the ever vigilant Juha Saarinen is of the opinion that "
Telecom needs to hit 14.4Mbps minimum for marketing reasons, even if there are precious few (if any?) devices that support it".

The internet in your pocket
All of which is good news, especially if, like me, you now think having the Internet in your pocket is a good thing. Speaking for myself, I love it - I love the talk - the walk - and the sources, especially the ancients : or as Machiavelli put it:

"I enter the courts of the ancients, and am welcomed by them, and there I taste the food that alone is mine, and for which I was born. And there I make bold to speak to them and ask the motives of their actions, and they, in their humanity, reply to me. And for the space of four hours I forget the world, remember no vexation, fear poverty no more, tremble no more at death; I pass indeed into their world .."
The Literary Works of Machiavelli, trans. J.R. Hale. (Oxford: 1961), p. 139 D.
source - wikipedia

Currently I am the beneficiary of a Blackberry, and definitely consider it the phone/mobile device for grown ups.

iPhone / iPod Touch
That said, I've also had the chance to use an iPhone and an IPod Touch. Of the two, the IPod Touch is definitely the best value for money. The 8 gig version for example is currently sitting in some Auckland stores at the wonderfully Scottish price of NZ$350.

For sure the iPod Touch doesn't have access to the 3G network - but provided you can find a wifi spot you are totally away - browser - email - twitter - YouTube - ebook reader, whatever.

Compare that with the IPhone and you have to ask would you pay the thick end of $600 extra for a 3G network and the chance to make a phone call feeling like a plonker, use a weird onscreen keyboard, and take photos with a bad digital camera?

Network nearness
Well the answer is, if you have the dosh - yes, because the 3G part is the path to "network nearness" - i.e. having the network, including the Internet, always on, and so ready to hand, does indeed change the conditions of access, learning, and community.

Quite how this will play out culturally and socially is as yet to be determined, although some people are starting to think about this.

The singularity grows nearer
That said , come May the 13th, here in NZ, the singularity grows ever nearer.

Other sources
Great FAQ on the new network from Geekzone here,

Note to Paul Reynolds - CEO - Telecom NZ : Good luck with XT - but be advised I still consider myself the incumbent.

Monday 27 April 2009

National and Global Dimensions of the Public Domain

Fair Use in the public domain
While attempting to do some cursory research on the current status of parody in the New Zealand IP framework, see previous post, I came across this Australian gold seam of thinking on fair use in the public domain.

For sure some of it is a tad dry, but the papers from this conference are well worth re-broadcast, even if many of us might need the odd wet Sunday to absorb them, especially if we are trying to work through the issues around digital access to heritage material for access and learning.

Unlocking IP
Organised by the UNSW Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre the 3rd ‘Unlocking IP’ Conference at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, was held on the 16-17 April 2009. Earlier UIP Conferences were held in 2004 and 2006.

1. Themes
The Conference explored "the national and global dimensions of the copyright public domain" and drew on the Project’s research to provide a structure for further discussion.

It brought together scholars, as well as showcasing notable Australian achievements in the copyright public domain.

Unlocking IP Project,
This is the third 'Unlocking IP' conference, following the successful 2004 and 2006 Conferences also held at UNSW and jointly hosted by the Centre and AEShareNet (now TVET).

The conferences are part of the Unlocking IP Project, a research project funded by the Australian Research Council. The research investigates how Australia's digital commons, comprising both the public domain and public rights created by open content and open software licensing, can be expanded and protected. The project's Background Paper sets this out in more detail.

The Papers

DAY 1 - Thursday 16 April

DAY 2 – Friday 17 April


My pick
There are some great presentations from Anne Fitzgerald, Faculty of Law, QUT around open access standards. Also be sure to check the paper and slides from Jessica Coates of the Australian Creative Commons Clinic -

Heritage sector - libraries and museums
Actually - as it is totally on message for the heritage world in general, and the library and museum world in particular, and she has given it a Creative Commons licence, why don't I embed the slides. The paper is here.

New Zealand politicians on Twitter - can we have some real ones!

David Farrar - Kiwi Blog
David Farrar from the excellent, Kiwi blog, has posted a list of MP's he believes are twittering. He acknowledges that some of them are parodies.

Parody - Politics and Twitter
Actually, I think a whole bunch of them are: see for example the supposed Twitter line for Labour David Cunliffe. It's a spoof for sure - and in some places an offensive one - but hey, that's for him to sort.

Although it does raise an interesting question as to the IP rules around impersonating a politician on Twitter, even though there might be a defense of parody.

The real deal
It would be totally twitterific if the political parties in NZ actually woke up to the real world and figured out how to make up a real and sensible list. This if course presupposes that our MP's have started to understand that there might be some votes in a decent and imaginative Twitter profile.

Tweet Minister
It would be even better if both MP's, their parties, and even NZ Parliamentary Services , in conjunction with some politically neutral group like Internet NZ could put together a NZ version of the excellent Tweet Minister., who in turn acknowledge the inspiration of Tweet Congress.

I've blogged about Tweetminster before - but here's the embed of their widget again just to remind people.

A New Zealand version?
So three questions. Can NZ political parties start taking their Twittering MP's seriously. Can we have a version of Tweet Minster - and is Internet NZ up for this?

Keira Knightley's Womens Aid - Domestic Violence Ad 2009

This is the advertisement which has pulled from UK TV screens as too violent by Clearcast, the ad approval body.

Womans Aid
It was made for Womans Aid, a UK anti domestic violence charity, by BAFTA-winning director, Joe Wright,[Atonement, Pride & Prejudice] and stars actress Keira Knightley.

As is increasingly common it appeared on You Tube as soon as the the ban took place. It will still screen in UK cinemas.

NZ Herald , UK Independent - links by me

Sunday 26 April 2009

Economics of open access publishing

RePEc (Research Papers in Economics) is a collaborative effort of hundreds of volunteers in 67 countries to enhance the dissemination of research in economics. The describe the heart of the project as "a decentralized database of working papers, journal articles and software components.

They have just posted on their excellent blog - the following on open access publishing.

"Open Access Publishing is the free distribution of research, whether it is as a pre-print (working paper) or a peer-reviewed article. Since the creation of the web, more and more journal are choosing open access as their business model.

One of them was recently Economic Analysis and Policy, published by the Economic Society of Australia (Queensland). To celebrate this, EAP has just published a special issue dedicated to the Economics of Open Access Publishing.

Articles are written by economists discussing their experience with open access as well as by others involved in open access publishing.

They cover the transition the publishing industry is currently undergoing, the surprisingly low cost of publishing an open access journal, the impact of open access and various open source aspects of the open access.

Open access is a topic dear to my heart, as I know it is to others. Here in New Zealand the KRIS project is worth a look. KRIS aims is to make it easy for people to access publicly available research produced in New Zealand institutions where people can search across a range of research repositories.

I would also be keen to hear of any Museums, Galleries and Libraries who are publishing their research under open access rules?

Would be happy to link to others sources to this post if people want me to tell me about them?


Thanks for tweet on RePEc from HM - legend!

Diane Graves, Librarian from Open Access Videos on Vimeo.

Source: Open Access Day
Vimeo Chanel : Open Access Day, October 14, 2008. See also other videos with a Teacher, Funder, Patient Advocate, Physician Scientist.
Web site for Open Access Day , here

Other sources
1. Open DOAR
OpenDOAR is a directory of academic open access repositories
Registry of Open Access Repositories (ROAR) in 1327 repositories

Friday 24 April 2009

ANZAC Day 2009 - some New Zealand web sources

I promised to find and rebroadcast some web sources for ANZAC day here in New Zealand. To date, I have three web sources plus an update to the Auckland Museum.

NZ On Screen
NZ On Screen have excelled themselves by offering not one, but 18 different sources for us to dwell on . Or as the site has it:

"This collection brings together 18 titles covering Kiwis at war. Iconic documentaries and films tell stories of terrible cost, heroism and brotherhood. Each title raises fundamental questions about our identity. Dr Chris Pugsley muses, “It is sobering to think that in the first half of the 20th Century the big OE for most New Zealanders was going to war.”.."
NZ History
Also of note is this collection of sources from NZ History. Again, there is ample evidence of an outstanding effort in bringing to the online screen new sources and insights into the ANZAC story. The front page has a number of starting points - with the tighter focus on the ANZAC story, here.

NZ Live
NZ Live have put together a very timely list of local and regional events for the ANZAC ceremonious etc. See, here

Auckland Museum
I'm told that Auckland Museum will once again be using the whole of the front of the Museum building as a cinematic montage of the names of the 30,000 fallen plays tonight, and tomorrow night.

I am sure there are other sources which I have missed - feel free to add them as a comment. In the meantime I would like to thank these sites for the work they have put in to extend the online commemoration of the ANZAC.


Jim Mora - National Radio
Just caught up with the link to Jim Mora on his Radio NZ Afternoons Show who kindly helped broadcast the above stories as well as added a couple of his own.
MP3, here

Has a poppy map of all locations of ANZAC commemoration ceremonies. Lovely piece of work, here

New Zealand National Library and others.
Also just to hand - news of a lovely piece of collaboration between State Library of Queensland, State Library of New South Wales, Australian War Memorial and National Library of New Zealand)

Using the Flickr Commons, they have have collaborated on a joint upload of photos taken in Gallipoli in 1915, and photos of Anzac Day ceremonies.

See also Courtney Johnstone from NLNZ on
Indicommons blog post about the upload.
See also National Library blog post

Or, go direct to project on Flickr Commons

Just In courtesy of a request to NZ-Libs
1.. Hastings Library - ANZAC page - Hastings Library was built as a War Memorial Library
arkworth War Memorial Library re-dedication for
photos of their ceremony at Warkworth on 21/4.
3. - comment from Pete " has a number of resources too"
4. Palmerston North Library

Pirate Bay? Should they get jail time for copyright infringement

click image for bigger version
thanks for cartoon dylan - Pirate Bay saga as interactive - Guardian UK

Thursday 23 April 2009

OECD Economic Surveys: New Zealand 2009

The OECD has released the OECD Economic Surveys: New Zealand 2009. It makes for sobering reading. See below for some of the main points - also - note that the headings click to an expanded version of the OECD recommendations.

The Policy Brief (pdf format) can be downloaded in English. It contains the OECD assessment and recommendations. The full report costs around 57 euros - see end note - however, the executive summary says, inter alia:

"The global crisis is hitting New Zealand, at a time when a difficult domestic adjustment is underway.

Its economy is among the most indebted in the OECD. Falling asset prices and a slump in credit demand mean that a process of debt reduction has started. Nevertheless, persistent, large current account deficits and a high external debt render the economy especially vulnerable in the face of the ongoing global financial and demand shocks.

The economy was already in recession during 2008 and is likely to remain so throughout 2009, before recovering only hesitantly in 2010, as major deleveraging continues. The banks, though fundamentally sound, are heavily reliant on foreign borrowing, much of it short term, and must adapt by diversifying and lengthening the maturity of their funding.

Households, buffeted by wealth losses and rising unemployment, are beginning to increase saving from historically low rates. Firms, faced with shrinking demand, a much more uncertain business environment and tougher financing, are cutting employment and investment.

These forces, along with the large real depreciation of the exchange rate, should over time encourage a much needed shift of resources away from housing and consumption into tradables production.

Macroeconomic policies are, for now, focused on supporting domestic demand, although fiscal policy needs to continue to ensure that public debt stays on a sustainable path.

In response to the slowdown, the Reserve Bank has lowered the official cash rate by 5¼ percentage points since last July, to 3 per cent. Fiscal policy is injecting stimulus of some 5% of GDP during 2008 10. In this light and with the sharp projected deterioration in public finances, monetary policy should be the primary tool used to provide further stimulus. Indeed, the much improved inflation outlook allows scope for further easing.

Given the risks to the government’s credit rating and to market confidence and the heavy dependence on foreign debt funding, there is little room for more fiscal expansion. It is crucial that the new government’s first budget this May delivers a credible consolidation plan.

Boosting productivity growth is critical for closing the substantial income gap with other OECD countries.

Although the quality of New Zealand’s regulatory regime is generally high, it has fallen relative to other OECD countries. Even if a cyclical improvement is likely following the downturn, a durable pick up in productivity growth with high employment will require structural policy changes.

Government ownership should be reassessed to spur competition, notably in transport and energy, and beneficial infrastructure projects should be undertaken.

Regulatory quality and uncertainty should be tackled, starting with the new Emissions Trading Scheme and the Resource Management Act.

A major goal should be to create a more welcoming environment for business and labour with fewer tax distortions to saving, investment and work incentives. Public sector productivity should also be increased.

Rising health care costs are the biggest threat to long run fiscal sustainability. Health spending has grown rapidly over the last decade without significant increases in health outputs. Population ageing will multiply demands on the system a decade or so hence, in addition to technology-cost pressures.

With the risk of a baseline level of debt much higher than expected before the crisis, controlling future health (and pension) costs is even more important.

Reforms should strive to improve incentives. Central control over devolved purchasing agents should be eased, giving them autonomy and responsibility for efficient allocations.

The health sector should build on existing momentum towards greater District Health Board collaboration in regional planning and seek to achieve greater contestability among public hospitals and with private providers so as to stimulate hospital efficiency. GPs should be given stronger incentives for both prevention and efficient care.

A greater role for private insurance and provision could be envisaged so as to spur competition and burden sharing.


Content summaries - note - click header for more detail:
Chapter 1
Macroeconomic adjustments in the current crisis
Even though New Zealand’s banks are sound, global interdependencies and accumulated domestic imbalances mean that the economy is being affected by the worldwide financial and economic crisis.

New Zealand has one of the OECD’s highest levels of foreign debt, the result of sustained and sometimes large current account deficits that reflect a long period of unbalanced growth and structural deficiencies, notably a small pool of household savings and a low rate of productivity growth.

These imbalances, along with the present reversals in global risk appetite and credit availability, present a risk of sudden and costly macroeconomic adjustments. As a small nation on the world’s periphery, New Zealand is affected by the sharp decline in world trade, which began in late 2008 and is unlikely to be reversed during 2009.

At the start of the crisis, both fiscal and monetary policies had substantial room for counter cyclical action, and much has been done on both fronts.

There remains more room for monetary policy easing than in most OECD countries, while fiscal policy is now constrained by the projected growth in debt and associated credit rating concerns.

Even so, a deep and protracted recession, involving a housing market correction and deleveraging of household and business balance sheets, is unlikely to be avoided.

As principal intermediaries between foreign savers and domestic borrowers, banks depend to a large extent on overseas funding, most of which is short term.

A number of smaller finance companies, less regulated than banks, have gone bust. To maintain confidence in the banking and financial sector, new guarantee schemes for retail deposits and wholesale bank funding have been introduced, along with temporary liquidity facilities, and non bank deposit taking institutions have been brought under the central bank’s regulatory umbrella.

The main challenges for policy makers are to manage the downside economic risks posed by the current crisis, while preserving the longer run credibility of the macroeconomic policy framework.

Chapter 2
Structural policies to overcome geographic barriers and create prosperity
New Zealand’s living standards remain well below the OECD average. This is entirely attributable to persistently low labour productivity, which in turn is related to economic geography as well as structural policy factors.

The small size and remoteness of the economy diminish its access to world markets, the scale and efficiency of domestic businesses, the level of competition and proximity to the world’s technology frontier.

This points to the need for a “New Zealand policy advantage”, that is, a set of structural policies attractive and welcoming enough to overcome the geographic handicap and attract the drivers of prosperity – investment, skills and ideas – to New Zealand.

The reforms of the 1980s and 1990s laid much of the groundwork for creating this advantage and for a pickup in productivity growth. But in recent years, New Zealand has lost ground relative to its OECD peers.

The reform focus has shifted away from growth and the government has introduced a large quantity of often poor quality regulation.

Policies should be refocused around the productivity goal in a number of areas, beginning with those covered in this chapter, namely international trade, the business climate for domestic and foreign investment, public sector efficiency, infrastructure, innovation and natural resources management.

This chapter also evaluates the recently legislated emissions trading scheme through a productivity lens.

Chapter 3
Health care reform: challenges for the next phase
New Zealand spends less per capita on its health care system than many OECD countries, yet as elsewhere, trends in demography, technology and costs will exert mounting and unaffordable pressures on spending over the long run.

Policy makers can manage the fiscal challenge by controlling health care costs and putting limits on public coverage. The fiscal framework, which imposes hard budget constraints on health and other spending, provides a good foundation for cost control.

However, government intervention to blunt price signals in health care systems and enormous supplier influence over patient demand mean that health care markets do not behave like other markets and there can be no guarantee that best value for money is being extracted from health budgets.

While health care reforms in the past have attempted to improve incentives for efficient health market behaviour, over the past decade or so, large boosts to hospital wages and primary care subsidies have most likely failed to elicit commensurate gains in either the quantity or quality of output.

Another concern is the sustainability of the health care service delivery model in the face of rising demands and looming health care workforce shortages.

As a high immigration country, with large and poor minorities, New Zealand is striving to promote equality of health outcomes, improved access to care and more efficient management of chronic conditions, the big clinical challenge of an ageing society.

Efforts are also underway to rationalise the hospital sector to assure its clinical viability. To achieve these important goals, there is still a need to improve efficiency incentives and information, clarify institutional roles, and enhance the attraction of New Zealand as a place in which to live and practise medicine...."

quotations sourced from


The complete edition of the Economic survey of New Zealand is available from:

The Policy Brief (pdf format) can be downloaded in English. It contains the OECD assessment and recommendations.

ANZAC Day 2009 - Satarday, 25th April - Auckland Museum timetable

Auckland Museum ANZAC Day Timetable.
I am sure ex Auckland people will forgive the local flavour to this post. Here in NZ it is ANZAC day on Saturday. It commemorates many acts of service and heroism by NZ and Australian people.

As Wikipedia cites, "Anzac Day marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War. The acronym ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, whose soldiers were known as Anzacs.

Anzac Day remains one of the most important national occasions of both Australia and New Zealand. This is a rare instance of two sovereign countries not only sharing the same national day, but making reference to both countries in its name.

Like others around the world, the various and ceremonies and commemoration points have now gained a whole new audience of young people who want to make their own connection, as well as pay their respects to these poignant voices from the past "

Auckland Museum, whose long title is The Auckland War Memorial Museum, has a full day of events and activities. The day begins with a dawn service of remembrance outside on the Cenotaph, at 6am, and then the Museum opens just after

ANZAC Day Programme

Saturday 25 April

6am Dawn Service, Cenotaph
6.45am Museum opens to the public

Sign the digital Book of Remembrance, Grand Foyer and The Armoury, 2nd floor.

Research family in the military using the Cenotaph database and the Armoury Information Centre.

Medals and badges; have them photographed for Cenotaph, identified and talk about their significance

Slide shows from the collections: Information centres.

8.00am Andrews Sisters, Atrium
9.00am Guided tours Scars on the Heart galleries. Meet Armoury Information Centre
9.00am-5 pm Displays and Demonstrations International Plastic Modellers Society. Armoury Information Centre
11am Public Commemorative Service
10.45am Grand Foyer closes
11am Civic Service, Cenotaph
12pm Foyer reopens
12.30pm Nurse Lottie, Scars on the Heart I
1pm ‘Lest We Forget’ Poetry Competition finalists, World War II Hall of Memories
2pm Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra Wind Ensemble, World War II Hall of Memories
2.30pm Nurse Lottie, Scars on the Heart I
3.15pm Bugler William Gunson plays wartime favourites and commemorative pieces, Grand Foyer.

Auditorium Programme

1.00 pm Illustrated talk: Compulsory Military Training in New Zealand 1949 on Brodie Adamson, researcher, History Department, University of Auckland.
1.40 pm “Illustrated talk: Finding your relatives - early NZ military records. Historian and writer John Binsley. Auditorium.
2.10 pm Illustrated talk: WW1, British, Australian, NZers, Fijians, Samoans, Nuieans - Pacific men going to war. Christine Liava’a convener of NZ Soc. Genealogists Pacific Island interest group.
2.40 pm Illustrated talk: Textiles at war in the Museum collections. Rose Young, Curator Social History.
3.10 pm Illustrated talk: WW2. Oral history and the Pacific theatre. Megan Hutching, oral historian.

Further online sources
I will add some more sources later. Feel free to offer some in the comment section.

Wednesday 22 April 2009

Design by the Book - New York Public Library - via Art Babble

From Art Babble

"... What happens when five artists come one of the world's largest libraries in search of inspiration for their next project? Hosted by Grace Bonney of the Design*Sponge blog, "Design by the Book" follows a glassblower, letterpress printer, ceramicist, pattern designer, and graphic designer as they uncover hidden treasures in The New York Public Library and then return to their studios ready to design... by the book. The artists are: Lorena Barrezueta, Rebecca Kutys, Mike Perry, John Pomp and Julia Rothman. Special guest Isaac Mizrahi will joins us in Episode 2 to share his sources of inspiration..."

This is 1/4
The video is Episode 1 of 4 - if you can't see the other three, then go here.

Google News Timeline - not ready for prime time

Google Labs via RRW
One of my morning sources is the email alert from RRW. It includes two items from the relatively obscure Google Labs - i.e. that corner of the Goolezone where new applications are announced and given a shove into the world.

Note, I'm not saying released "in beta", because, Google, like the best of the innovation web, isn't too fond of the beta word any more - we are after all in the zone of the 'perpetual beta'. Which by the by, has always been my definition for life!

But I digress.

Google News Time Line
As the image shows, Google News Timeline is a way of looking at news within a time line sequence. The additional promise is that you can customise the search with a set of sub queries which match your current preferences, or research/story needs. Also, in theory, you can bring in magazines, blogs, tv, video.

There is also an attempt to go wider with a feature which links to some Wikepedia events.

The verdict - search - customisation - 4/10
The verdict? Nah - it's not ready for me. Sure, the idea is a compelling one - especially if you can get the contextual sources running in sync.

It would also be good if you run it as a broad banner at the foot of the browser, say as a Firefox plugin.

In practice, when I went I tried to personalise it with the customised search feature - ['add more queries'] - though there was a little moment of pride that it found this blog, it failed to let me add any mainstream New Zealand newspapers - or any of the outside the USA big brand magazines, or supplements in the likes of The Times Literary Supplement, et al, or even the New York Review of Books. Actually it didn't even find the New York Times!

The verdict - usability
The screen interface is way too busy. I was google-eyed trying to figure out the options. Which was interesting in its own way. We are so used to hearing people want search screens to be "more like Google" . Well looks like the boys from the search- hood have their own issues with managing complexity. Welcome to my/our world Master Google.

Try it for yourself, here.

Tuesday 21 April 2009

Art Babble - totally inspirational

A few months ago, and I must get people to write an affidavit to confirm this, I babbled away to a some colleagues/partners/clients in the local arts, gallery and library world about developing what I called - GLAM TV - i.e. an online video/audio station/tool which would be a place where we could see and hear what was happening inside the Australasian world of galleries libraries, and museums.

In addition to giving local institutions a common living room to share and showcase performance/workshop/installation/seminars, a core part of the thinking was the notion that the video, or the audio record would be starting points to an online matrix of parallel or contextual sources.

Art Babble
Art Babble have cracked the code. Developed by the Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA), it has a growing set of blue chip partners in the likes of LACMA, MOMA, SFMOMA, and also cites the New York Public Library as a foundation partner.

Extending the mix?
Launched a couple of weeks ago, I have no idea, yet, whether the plan is to extend the partner mix to include other institutions world wide, or stay relatively exclusive.

But that's okay - not only can I wait for that answer, maybe it's enough that they have provided the conceptual leadership to a regional set of parallel voices. Who knows - this is after all the age of the collaboration and code share?

In the meantime, I just want to say I love this site - I especially love the way they have provided a shareable platform - have totally embraced the notion of contextual sources, and also seem to have in mind developing a real community of practice which embraces the institution, the artist and the audience.

Thanks Art Babble - you are a total inspiration. People reading this need to go there now - it is beautiful.

Keynote - Maxwell L. Anderson, Indianapolis, Museum of Art, at Museums and the Web 2009

Museums on the Web 2009
The video is the full opening keynote, Moving from Virtual to Visceral, from Director and CEO of the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Maxwell L. Anderson, at the Museums and the Web 2009 (MW2009) in Indianapolis.

Museums on the Web , organised by Archives & Museum Informatics is a partnership of David Bearman and Jennifer Trant, is one of the seminal international contact points for museum, library, archives and gallery people to come together and share strategy, theory, practice, and of course war stories.

Eventually we should see a whole bunch of online papers and collateral from this years 2009 conference which has just finished. However, this keynote is a welcome beginning. Thanks !!

Best of the Museums on the Web - Brooklyn Museum overall winner
Museums on the Web also has a really great competition. The Brooklyn Museum is this years overall winner - no real surprises there: however, the whole list is well worth peoples attention.

Best Overall

Brooklyn Museum Collection

On-line Community or Service
Brooklyn Museum Collection, Posse, and Tag! You are It!

honourable mention
Flickr Commons


Educational Site
Tate Kids
honourable mention
Firefly Watch, Museum of Science, Boston

Click! A Crowd-Curated Exhibition

Innovative or Experimental Site
My Yard Our Message
honourable mention
Astronomy Photographer of the Year (plus complimentary digital astronomy services)

Professional's Site

Podcast (Audio / Video)
RWM (Radio web MACBA)

Research Site
Museum of Jewish Heritage Online Collection

Museum 2.0

People's choice
Chosen by the registrants on

Video Active

Monday 20 April 2009

Good luck Helen Clark

Beckett On Film: Waiting for Godot Act II 2001 :2

If I explained, it would kind of miss the point. But suffice to say I had one of those days, and one of those meetings, after which I would have welcomed a chat with Estragon and Vladimir.
The Brooklyn Museum
This week had me popping back to the Brooklyn Museum online to catch up on their latest ideas for the museum as a social network.

trouble at mill
Originally I was drawn back by this rather draconian story out of the New York Times, saying it is planning to " implement a one-week unpaid furlough this summer for its entire staff and to reduce the pay of employees who earn more than $60,000 a year. The museum is also offering voluntary buyout packages — a week’s salary for every year worked, up to 26 years — to each of its 281 full-time staff members"

One of the problems they face, as do others in the USA, comes from a sharp fall in their endowment from US$65 million, down from US $93.1 million a year ago. The NYT Times also reports it has been struggling with a 32 percent reduction in operating support from the city last year, with additional trims expected.

1stfans - socially networked museum membership
One of their income/innovation points might also interest others. It costs US$20. It's billed, as an interactive socially networked relationship with the Museum both inside the building and online, via face time with museum staff and other museum members, as well as strong, exclusive online relationship through social networking sites , e.g. Facebook, Flickr, and Twitter.

The Twitter Art Feed
Although I totally get the face to face thing, as well as the additional benefits around exhibitions etc, I'm also intrigued by their idea for The Twitter Art feed - i.e. the notion of an exclusive Twitter channel, [and/or parallel Facebook group], where you get to see and interact with artists who are playing with the medium and looking for a conversation with like minds.

I'm still sketchy on the detail - as I think are the people at Brooklyn - and indeed some of the artists - but it looks like a brilliant play space. This video might engage, and extend your understanding, as well as provoke some questions as to what might happen eventually.

Pony up
And then I guess its up to us to sign up and see what happens?


An Xiao

Robin Morrison - photographer

From the Road - Robin Morrison
Just caught up with the latest on NZ OnScreen, which, by the by, is turning into one of my 'must check whats going on' places.

From the Road, Robin Morrison,
This time my joy meter jumped courtesy of this documentary on the work of the late Robin Morrison, photographer, and general totally nice guy, who tragically died of cancer in 1993 .

The documentary was directed and produced by Tony Hiles. NZ Screen, has this to say on the site:

Robin Morrison's photographic work was popular and accessible - he affectionately presented New Zealanders to themselves.

The 1981 publication of The South Island of New Zealand from the Road cemented his reputation for this kind of work, when it featured ordinary New Zealanders in the environments they'd created.

This documentary, however, explores Morrison's earlier work - the gritty Bastion Point and Springbok tour series, and the projects that documented communities on the brink of change.

Other online sources?
NZ OnScreen are starting to make some major contributions to the NZ online cultural space. As part of this, I'd love to see them have the budget to resource a set of parallel links to the local web sphere [and beyond] which extends and enhances either the subject of the piece they are showcasing, or the people who made it.

In this case, I'd love to see more links and resources on Robin Morrison and his wonderful photography. In the absence of this extra dimension, I'm offering my own small contribution - again, it would be good to have other people's pick, especially from the collection sector in the likes of libraries , museums, galleries etc.

Robin Morrison site
This is a personal site which showcases RM's work plus links for use etc. Has some lovely examples of his work, an an extract from the documentary, Sense of Place

Auckland Museum - Robing Morrison Archive
The entire collection of Robin Morrison's collection was bequeathed to the Auckland Museum. Many of these works have been digitised. You can see this digital collection in- house, but I'm not sure how much is available online. However, try here, for a canned search from the catalogue

Auckland Museum have also contributed 500 Robin Morrison images to Mataphi.

I am hoping others will drop me a line offering links to fill this up? And if there isn't that much of his work online - both in terms of image and commentary, then it feels time to change that?

Friday 17 April 2009

Auckland Writers Festival and Museums Aotearoa

I am so enjoying watching the Auckland Writers Festival ease into full gear for the upcoming 2009 Festival on. Love the promo - and the embed.

AWRF - Auckland Festival on Twitter
THe Festoval peolple have asked that I remond people that hey are on Twitter here
I have also put an RSS feed on the right hand column here.

Museums Aotearoa Conference 09 - Tairawhiti Museum
I am out of town today attending the Museums Aotearoa Conference at the Tairawhiti Museum in Gisborne. So this might be it for today, although I am sure some of the conversations at the conference might help me burst into life again.


I am doing a short presentation on digital frameworks - I will definitly be mentioning Museum 3.0