Controversial parallel import report finally available on Net

The report which prompted the government's controversial move to throw open parallel importing is finally available on the Internet. Although the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research report was completed in February, few interested parties had seen it when the government announced the measure in the Budget and introduced legislation the following morning. Opposition MPs were told the report was not available when they tried to obtain it.

The report which prompted the government's controversial move to throw open parallel importing is finally available on the Internet.

Although the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research report was completed in February, few interested parties had seen it when the government announced the measure in the Budget and introduced legislation the following morning.

Opposition MPs were told the report was not available when they tried to obtain it and the government blocked an Opposition proposal to send the bill to select committee for a week so it could be discussed.

Microsoft counsel Ron Eckstrom has also implied that the government misled his company over the process. Microsoft's main concern is that unlicensed import and distribution of its products will lead to wide-scale counterfeiting.

"We knew that there were discussions going on about parallel importing but we did not know it had even risen to the level of a debate," says Eckstrom.

"We were told that this economic study was the first step and that a recommendation would be made and there would be a select committee where the industry would have the opportunity to make submissions. We were advised that it would be inappropriate for us to make submissions, given the early stage it was at.

"We would have thought that not only Microsoft and the motion picture industry, but New Zealand companies would also have liked to make submissions.

"It's incredible," says Eckstrom of the legislative change.

"It's definitely put New Zealand on the map, but I really don't know what's going to happen. Short of getting it changed, we've just embarked on a strategy to protect ourselves."

The report can be found at: www.moc.govt.nz/cae/parallel/index.html

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