NZ Herald Trained and Skilled Journalists Get Online GST Support Confused

mostdontsupportgstThe NZ Herald is ostensibly staffed by “trained and skilled” journalists.

But in the aftermath of the Christmas silly season, they’ve forgotten their 100 level mathematics.

If 4/10 of those polled support online GST then 6/10 don’t. Furthermore, this was an NZ Herald DigiPoll with just 750 people – so how pointless is a headline like this?

When you see the quotes from Labour MP David Clark and the Retailer’s Association, in contrast to what seems to be a measured approach on the part of Todd McClay, this seems like a hit job on the issue.

They’ve already trolled Kiwis with a regional accounting firm partner arguing that overseas retailers should be forced to collect GST on IRD’s behalf – that went down in flames. But now they’re being silly.

A “trained and skilled” journalist would be able to draw the parallels between protectionism and clamouring to “level the playing field”.

For further entertainment, here’s a photo of Unity Books – closed on Boxing Day, and with a website that needs an upgrade if it ever wants to compete with Amazon.

2013-12-26 12.07.55

I wanted to buy something from them – I really did – but their online shopping experience is best described as difficult and they were closed when I had free time to go into their store. Lovely people and lovely selection of books but this is 2013, when you’re in a hyper-competitive world no one gets much time off.

A lot of retailers simply suck at doing business. They have poor product range, poor pricing relative to online options and poor customer service. They then have the gumption to turn around and lobby for protection against firms that overcome the tyranny of fixed costs all the way down at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.

There are many New Zealand retailers who “get it” and have invested in solid online shopping operations and staying on top of global trends that are now easily monitored on blogs, websites or social media. But most retailers are like Unity Books – they could easily improve their online shopping experience without cannibalising the in-store experience, but they don’t. It’s a shame, they are a great bookstore and even though I spend more on Kindle Books for niche stuff like art books or NZ fiction they are the place to go.

Business is not fair, it never was and never will be. Arguing for protection from competition when for decades you have taken the mickey out of New Zealand consumers with ridiculous markups in excess of what “adding the GST and a reasonable return on capital employed” would justify means that retailers who complain are obviously living a commercial lie – hopefully more of them bring in the liquidators next year. Their capital can be redeployed into more productive sectors of the economy. How many struggling retail stores does it take to add up to the sales of one “1-day”?

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