House gets to the point
Customers ‘expect more’
In the news
House gets to the point
Matariki FM breakfast show host William ‘The Don’ Framhein had an interesting question for Finance Minister Mark Brown yesterday. The minister had remarked positively about the new directive from the speaker of parliament that members cut straight to the point during question time rather than telling the story behind the question. Speaker Nikki Rattle learnt this technique for effective parliamentary procedure during a recent conference she attended, adding that it allows for more questions to be asked. Framhein than asked if saving time was the objective, why do some MPs spend so much time greeting their constituents, one of which he timed at six minutes. Minister Brown responded that it was important to maintain the custom of wide ranging greetings to their respective electorates, and that some visiting parliamentarians had commented favourably to him about the practice. Framhein responded that he liked the greeting given by Aitutaki MP Teina Bishop which he said amounted to about one minute, but was punchy and to the point.
A smoke signaller makes the following observation: “Get anywhere near the Telecom headquarters and the Zenbu wireless network mysteriously does not work. Talk about David and Goliath.”
A smoke signaller writes: “Another aspect of the motor vehicle annual licence adverts sponsored by BCI is why on earth do they bother to include their website, when if you go to it, there is a photo with the words below ‘We are rebuilding our website! Please visit us again soon’. This has been like that for months. What are they doing with the website?”
Customers ‘expect more’
A smoke signaller who read a business article on the BBC’s website feels there are some good lessons to learn from a tax issue that has been making headlines in the United Kingdom. Some excerpts, “Coffee chain Starbucks has agreed to pay more UK corporation tax, after a public outcry over how little it pays. Kris Engskov, managing director of Starbucks UK, announced that the company would pay “a significant amount of tax during 2013 and 2014, regardless of whether the company is profitable” .HM Revenue and Customs reacted by saying that corporation tax “is not a voluntary tax”. “The public expects businesses to pay their fair share,” the tax authorities added, “and HMRC will challenge, through the courts if necessary, any structures or tax payments that do not comply with the UK tax law.” Starbucks’ announcement comes after much public anger over the revelation of how little corporation tax it pays in the UK, with some people saying they would boycott its outlets. The company has paid just £8.6m (NZ$15.7m) in corporation tax in its 14 years of trading in the UK, and nothing in the last three years, despite UK sales of nearly £400m (NZ$730m) in 2011. Starbucks has reported a taxable profit only once in its 15 years of operating in the UK, often reporting losses. Conservative MP Richard Bacon, who is a member of the Public Accounts Committee, expressed surprise at the move.”They have realised that it is a PR problem and it is a PR response. It is nice for the exchequer to have a bit more money, but it is not a long-term solution to the problem that we face.” Starbucks admitted that the degree of hostility and emotion surrounding the tax issue had “taken us a bit by surprise” and that the move was an attempt to rebuild trust with its customers. “Since we started doing business here, we have always organised our tax affairs according to the letter of the law,” said Mr Engskov. “[But] with the backdrop of these difficult times, in the area of tax, our customers clearly expect us to do more,” he said. Mr Engskov added that the company had found it difficult to make profits in the UK, which has “the most competitive espresso market in the world”, despite “two million customers visiting us each week in hundreds of stores across the UK”.
Putting in ‘perfect’ pipe
“Well, the Cook Islands has done it again,” a smoke signaller writes. “We must be the first country in the world to install state of the art water mains using pipe material that is absolutely indestructible, can never break, split, crack or leak. There should be pictures of our local boys carting those pipes down the road for installation down the middle of the main road showing the world that we have found perfect pipe. No engineer, no expert, whether local or otherwise, would install anything less than “perfect” pipe under a main road that is soon to be the recipient of millions of dollars worth of asphaltic concrete pavement. If the pipe were anything but perfect and fault-free, then it would be inevitable that that expensive pavement would, sooner or later, be dug up to make repairs. Let’s all pat ourselves on the back for, once again, being “first” in all the world.”
In the news
A smoke signaller wrote last week: “Very unusual to note Norman is not on the front page of CI News of this week as he always does after every trip to Atiu, in this instance last week. Word from Atiu has it that he even delivered food plates into the homes in Teenui/Mapumai.” SS: Norman George definitely made the front page on a number of occasions during the week: ‘MP suggests Royal Commission’ (Wednesday), ‘Cooks using energy roadmap’ (Thursday), and two front page articles on Friday, ‘Fisheries minister orders reports’ and ‘Shocking roads’. In an interview on Matariki FM live from Atiu on Valentine’s Day (February 14) he told listeners about their well-received delivery of plates of food to the pensioners in his constituency.
A smoke signaller writes: “Justice Isaac begins a two week sitting in the Land Division of the High Court on April 15. Will His Honour and the multitude of observers likely to fill the courtroom have to suffer the stifling heat as was endured by the Court and all others this week?”