Unhelpful help desk

February 18, 2009

The internet wasn’t connected when I checked the computer this morning so I rang the Orcon help desk.

A very cheerful recorded voice answered telling me something to the effect that they were all out partying and to ring back later. It was a joke but I wasn’t greatly amused because this was 6am and the help desk wasn’t going to open until 8.

Two hours later I called back, got a real person and explained the problem, pointing out there were red lights on the wee box which I thought were normally green.

He said not to worry about that, and to turn everything off and back on again. I’d already tried that so he told me to delete the connection icon and talked me through setting it up again but there was still no service.

He then asked me to hang on while he consulted a colleague, left me listening to the sort of music I wouldn’t normally choose to listen to and eventually came back to tell me the colleague was busy and would call me back.

Another two hours later no-one had called back so I rang the help desk again. The woman who answered asked me to turn everything off again but the internet still wouldn’t connect when I turned it all back on. She then left me listening to more music I wouldn’t normally listen to while she consulted a colleague before coming back to say there must be a problem with our connection so she’d talk to their technician and ring me back.

This time it took only a few minutes to get the call back to tell me there was a problem with the network in our area and technicians were working on it.

Would it be too much to ask that when there’s a problem with the network, someone lets the people on the help desk know so that they can tell customers about it when they call so the customers don’t waste their time wasting the time of the help desk staff?


Let’s not go back there

February 18, 2009

Phew, thank goodness the government appears to be back tracking  from suggestions yesterday that it would bail out Fisher and Paykel.

In a country where more than 90% of businesses employer fewer than 20 people, a company with 1600 staff is unusual and the impact of those job losses should the company collapse would be significant for the individuals, the wider commnity and the economy.

But the company is not about to collapse and even if it was I’m very wary of any suggestion that the government should invest to save it.

Easing the way should a foreign company wish to take a stake in the business would be okay but there’s nothing iconic about whiteware and even if there was that’s not a reason to invest taxpayers’ money in a company which makes it.

If there are any iconic industries here then they are those based on what we do best because of our climate and topography – growing grass and turning it into protein.

Fran O’Sullivan   writes about a couple of those, PGG Wrightson and Fonterra.

Speculation can easily turn into self-fulfilling prophesy so it’s important to make it clear that neither company is facing a situation which might make them need or ask for taxpayer assistance. However, if they were I’d be just as opposed to any suggestion of any government  investment in them as I am to the idea of a state bail out of F&P.

New Zealand dragged itself away from governement interference in, protection of  and subsidies to businesses in the 1980s with considerable pain for those caught in the fallout and we should resist any attempt to go back there.

There may be a difference between government investment in a company and a subsidy to producers, but I wouldn’t want to be in Tim Groser’s shoes if he was asked to explain that while putting New Zealand’s case for freeing up trade to our competitors.

If we make a sacred cow of a company which manufactures whiteware we’ll be in a much weaker position to argue against countries which build alters of subsidies for their primary producers.

For the record: I own a few Fisher & Paykel shares and our farm supplies Fonterra.


One down another to go

February 18, 2009

The Electoral Finance Act has gone so the government can turn it’s attention to addressing another threat to freedom of expression – the Guilt by Association law Section 92A.

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See more at:  goNZofreakpower, MacDoctor, Hand Mirror,  Not PC, WhaleOilKiwiblog,  Juha Saarinen and Russell Brown.


SFF & PGW no longer good friends?

February 18, 2009

Silver Fern Farms is not impressed by the offer of $10 million from PGG Wrightson in compensation for failing to complete a partnership deal last year.

PGG Wrightson (PGGW) yesterday issued a statement offering mediation and $10 million in compensation to Silver Fern Farms.

Silver Fern chief executive Keith Cooper was caught unaware by PGGW’s press release, a tactic he said was antagonistic.

“It is particularly antagonistic to start playing negotiations via the media with something that appears to be heading towards the courts.”

When two parties start communicating via media release it’s a sure sign their relationship is deteriorating.

PGW’s half year report is due out next week and it’s unlikely to be very pretty.

The company’s offer to take a 50% stake in SFF upset a lot of its clients. It didn’t go down well with a lot of its staff either, some of whom have left the company and set up in opposition to it.

On top of that drought and other problems in Uruguay combined with the fall in the international price for milk will be hurting its dairying venutres there.


Too little and too much

February 18, 2009

Phone calls to friends in Australia last night reinforced the tragic irony of  toom little water in one area and too much in another.

A family in Victoria is waiting anxiously as fire, albeit slow burning, approaches one of their properties.

While other friends who farm in northern New South Wales are dealing with floods after several years battling the dry.

The ABC reports that these are drought breaking rains.

Further to the north and west in Bourke, authorities are tallying up the damage bill after three quarters of the towns annual rainfall came down in 15 hours on the weekend. This in a town that just recently saw an exodus of a fifth of its population because of the drought.

Our  friends haven’t lost stock and are grateful the flooding round them is not nearly as bad as that in Quensland.

Thousands of kilometres away in Queensland, the towns of Normanton and Karumba have been cut off for six weeks and may have to tough it out for another month. Emergency services are ensuring people get the basics like food and medicine, but industries are struggling.
. . . In Karumba, businesses can’t get the goods they need to keep the local economy going and they’re warning job losses are on the way.

The local council estimates that stock losses may run to 100,000 and some graziers may have lost up to two years’ profits.

. . . Further up the river, people shifted 20,000 head out of the floodwaters and up onto higher ground. But then, a lot of that higher ground has gone underwater.


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