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Fair Go: October 16

Published: 6:44PM Wednesday October 16, 2013 Source: Fair Go

Can't pay? Won't pay
Reporter: Gordon Harcourt

Are company directors gaming the system by shutting down and walking away from debts?

Brian Moxey is recovering from melanoma treatment so $50,000 would be handy right now.

That's roughly what a court order shows he's owed by a company called Westminster Pacific (NZ) Ltd. 

The bloke who ran that company, Kevin Mann, says it has no funds. Brian has received nothing.

So how come Kevin Mann has started up a new company with almost exactly the same name, and he runs a software business in Tauranga?  That business got $120,000 from the government a couple of years ago. We don't know, because Kevin Mann refuses to comment.

It's infuriating when companies fail and the directors seem to just start anew.

 An insolvency expert tells us it's easy to do, and that enforcement here has weakened. 

Prosecution numbers under the Companies Act and Insolvency Act seem to back him up - they've plummeted in recent years.

Commerce Minister Craig Foss says fewer prosecutions means better prevention, but is New Zealand a soft touch for dodgy directors?

Accent on IRD
Reporter: Mark Crysell

New Zealand is an immigrant country. We are made up of many races, faces, accents and voices and they all work together to pay their taxes into the common pool. To help them the IRD have 0800 numbers.

But what if it seems like the IRD voice machine doesn't understand your accent? And what happens when you keep pushing buttons on your phone and the IRD call centre doesn't recognise them?

Kathy Whitehead of Taranaki reckons the IRD can't understand her Taranaki accent and she ends up on hold for almost an hour.

The IRD says its voice machine understands about 96% of people ringing in but that compares well to other similar phone systems. 

They say internet based phones are the culprit if your button tone is not recognised and you'll need to have your phone retuned to make it work.

Also tonight Fair Go is granted rare access to an IRD Call Centre.

Digitising your home videos
Reporter: Amy Kelley

If you've got a bunch of VHS tapes sitting around at home, now's the time to get your home video onto a new format. VHS is a dying medium and the tapes themselves may only last 10 - 20 years, depending on how carefully you store them. Fair Go takes a look at what can go wrong and shows you everything you need to know about having this service done.

TIPS

- There are 'daily deals' offering digitising services for as little as $15 per VHS tape. But you are probably getting what you pay for. The 'small timers' offering this service from home don't necessarily have the same equipment or level of skill as companies specialising in this service.

- Ask some questions and get a feel for what you're getting for your money:
How long have you been doing this?
What equipment will you be using?
What sort of environment will my tapes be stored in?
What discs will you be using, and how many discs will you use per VHS tape? (longer tapes of 2hours+ are best split over multiple discs; you may not get the same quality of footage by compressing it onto one)
Do you watch the recording afterwards to check its okay?

- Don't expect miracles. The footage you get on DVD is only going to be as good as what was on the original VHS tape.

- The biggest killer for VHS tapes in New Zealand is mould. Look through the clear windows to see if there's any white fuzzy stuff on the tape. If it's really bad, a digitising service probably won't touch it because the mould gets into their equipment and affects other tapes. If there's only a small amount of mould, some services can put it through a tape cleaning machine.

- If you still have a VHS player, watch your tapes before taking them in to make sure nothing else has been taped over your home video partway through. You don't want to end up paying a lot of money to digitise something you don't want.. (like a rugby game from 1974!)

- Once it's done, save the file onto your computer as well. This means you have an 'insurance copy' and is a good move because DVDs will one day be obsolete too. There are plenty of How-To guides on the Internet - you may need to download some new software. Xx

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