Companies Office Internet trial nears end

The Website trial being conducted by the Companies Office is nearing its conclusion, with more than 300 'frequent users' now registered and further enhancements already planned.

The Website trial being conducted by the Companies Office is nearing its conclusion, with more than 300 "frequent users" now registered and further enhancements already planned.

The Companies Office Internet pilot (http://www.companies.govt.nz/) was launched in late March, but the trial was not opened to the public until the following month, at the New Zealand Law Conference. The site allows casual users to perform basic searches for details about registered companies, societies and trusts--including contact address and company officers--for free. Full details are available upon registration as a frequent user. All users can search on the basis of a company name, keyword or Companies Office number.

When the pilot ends and the service is officially launched, full searches will cost registered users $5 a company searched--a fraction of the fees typically charged by the third-party firms which have traditionally performed searches.

"The charging is just one of the things we're examining--we need to evaluate whether the level of charging is sufficient to achieve cost recovery," says Companies Office Internet sales manager Andrew Wagg.

Another change when the scheme goes out of pilot will be the introduction of broader browser compatibility.

"People without Netscape felt a bit victimised and I can see their point of view," says Wagg. "But the reality is that we've been building a pilot. There will soon be support for Internet Explorer and other browsers--and there are a few other significant good bits to be added over time."

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