In reviews – 12th September ’23

by | Sep 12, 2023

Looking back over the past week and to the weeks ahead – to rate the noteworthy, the cringeworthy, the good, the bad, the ugly, and the truly amazing.

Google needs to play fair

Last week I said we would look at overseas companies doing all they can to avoid paying what they should to operate in New Zealand and I’m going to kick off with Internet behemoth, Google. I tried to find out how much the search engine monopoly contributes to the New Zealand economy in tax revenue and it isn’t easy. In 2021 “Google NZ paid NZ$3.6m in income tax in its last earnings year, off a profit of $10.6m and revenues of $36.2m,” but this doesn’t take into account the huge amounts of money Google NZ then ships offshore to its parent company in the US. In 2023, that figure was $870 million, untaxed and that’s where the problem lies because Google is dead against a digital services tax (DST) and has the might of the US government behind it so it can carry avoiding paying its fair share.

Threats of tariffs on exports if a DST is implemented is the standard US approach to other countries that have implemented their own schemes and that’s just thuggery. Here’s an idea. Any company that makes money – pay your share of tax, don’t weasel out of it and use threats to get your own way. Google is a search engine after all and one that gives nobody a free ride but expects to be given one itself? I just hope that somewhere in NZ there are tech geniuses cooking up a search engine that can compete with Google. You can sure bet they would be paying tax here.

0 – no matter what your company does you pay tax to contribute to the economy. Global entities should be the same. Poor form.

This is supposed to be a society!

As story caught my eye recently about a traveller who was stuck in an airport waiting hours for his next flight and tried to find a peaceful corridor to nod off and catch some rest. All went well until someone turned up, plonked themselves across from him and started watching a film on their phone with the volume turned up. This story then went viral, as is the case with social etiquette dilemmas and to my surprise the vast majority were in agreement – that this sort of behaviour is rude and thoughtless.

Of course it is! Why do some people think everyone around them on a bus, in the supermarket, at the dentist, or anywhere in public, want to hear what they are doing on their phones? For the life of me I cannot fathom the complete indifference of that level of narcissism. How hard is it to use headphones, or god forbid, put the phone to your actual ear? Cell phones have lots of advantages but in the wrong hands they are weapons of mass distraction.

0 stars – it’s a phone – not a megaphone

Kiwi sports roundup 

All Blacks – France. Well, I picked the score at 25-15 the night before so I was mighty close. Hard loss to take but could be what the All Blacks need, or I’m just ridiculously optimistic. Playing in over 30 degree heat is a grind but at the end of 80 minutes the French outplayed and outscored New Zealand and well done to them. Still, seven weeks to go and anything could happen. I’m picking South Africa to take the trophy but I have never picked a winner. Make your own minds up.

Black Caps in England. After a rollicking Ashes draw, or loss depending on your definition of both terms, England are finding New Zealand plucky and worthy opponents in the shorter forms of the  game. Fantastic centuries by Devon Conway and Daryl Mitchell in the first ODI led to the win but the Black Caps collapsed in the second match. With two games to go, it’ll be a ripper series.

Spanish football dragged into the 21st century after women’s team coach sacked and handsy president forced to resign, finally. I can’t think of any World Cup win in any sport where the achievements of the players on the field was overshadowed by the clowns behind the scenes. Good riddance.

5 stars – amongst all the doom and gloom, sport is a nice distraction and a great conversation starter.


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