What really happened with the NewZealand.com case

Following the saga over the NZ$1 million (ВЈ350,000) that it was recently revealed the New Zealand government had paid for NewZealand.com, further parliamentary questions have uncovered more revelations behind the expensive cock-up.

Following the saga over the NZ$1 million (ВЈ350,000) that it was recently revealed the New Zealand government had paid for NewZealand.com, further parliamentary questions have uncovered more revelations behind the expensive cock-up. MP Rodney Hide, a specialist in finance in auditing, has been unearthing quite what happened and how come so much public money was unnecessarily wasted.

In answers given today to Parliamentary questions asked just over a week ago, it appears the government reached agreement with Virtual Countries to pay it NZ$1 million for NewZealand.com, just 19 days after its attempt to steal the domain at domain arbitrator WIPO had failed and the government was accused of reverse domain name hijacking.

An extraordinarily small time-frame for such agreement to be reached you would think, especially considering the sums involved. Unless of course you believe that the government already knew its legal case was doomed to failure.

That, after all, is exactly what the three WIPO judges believed. In their official report, they stated: “Having read the Response of the New Zealand Government to the WIPO Secretariat’s questionnaire referred to above, the Panel is unanimous in its view that when the Complaint was launched, those responsible for the Complaint, the New Zealand Government, were well aware that a claim to trademark and service mark rights in respect of NEW ZEALAND was baseless.”

So, the government KNEW it was going to fail before it even took out the action. How much did this action cost? Well, thanks to immaculate bookkeeping (and Mr Hide’s questions), we can tell you that it cost exactly NZ$57,770.21 (ВЈ18,500). Of this, the vast majority – NZ$47,100 (ВЈ16,500) – was taken up by legal advice. Legal advice that presumably said the government had no chance of winning. (We could have told them that for, say, ВЈ1,000.) So, another NZ$58,000 wasted unnecessarily.

It gets better though. Read more…

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