Value enters NZ-made argument

The country's Industrial Supplies Office has cautiously endorsed New Zealand-made computers.

The country’s Industrial Supplies Office has cautiously endorsed New Zealand-made computers.

The office “recognises that locally assembled PCs and locally designed software often provide the best value for money”, according to the spring issue of its ISONews publication.

NZISO, a division of Industry NZ, provides a project tender channel between public-sector organisations and local suppliers.

But the objective source for the organisation’s recognition proves hard to track down.

NZISO spokeswoman Rosie Griffin says the organisation “has had feedback from purchasers” who are very satisfied with the cost of ownership of local hardware and software. Those cited in brief stories alongside NZISO’s statement include Waikato University, the Northland Polytechnic, Northland Health, Lion Liquor Retail and the Tacit Group.

“But a lot of the feedback [for the article] came from suppliers who registered for our services, and from CMANZ [industry body the Computer Manufacturers’ Association],” Griffin says.

CMANZ chairman Peter Shirley, of Arche Technologies, declines to be associated with the “best value for money” statement. “Did I say that?” he asked Computerworld. “I don’t remember saying that.”

He is not specifically quoted in the article as endorsing NZISO’s view; only as “want[ing] Kiwis to be cannier shoppers and adopt a more discerning value-for money approach to buying computer hardware — one that doesn’t overlook the local option”.

Shirley suggests that New Zealand PCs’ “open system architecture” means a lower cost of ownership than imported machines.

“If you want to upgrade a Compaq or a Dell,” he says, “you have to use their components; but locally assembled PCs are designed to accept a range of components from various suppliers; they’re not proprietary.”

Asked if he can discount the possibility of a differently branded component being successfully installed in an imported PC, he concedes, “it’s possible it might work, I guess, but it’s not designed to”.

Easier upgrading with economical components prolongs the life of PCs and so reduces total cost of ownership (TCO), he says.

The supplier of the system and the parts for it are “in New Zealand, not in some sweatshop overseas”, he says, and this ensures better continuity of supply. “You’re closer to the people that work with the machines and know them.”

Asked whether he knows of any formal study demonstrating lower TCO for locally made PCs, he says “I couldn’t imagine it”. There are obviously a large number of different brands of local and overseas PCs, and this would make comparison across the board a difficult exercise, Shirley says.

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