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Cost of NZTE's iPad spend-up revealed

A keen reader spotted this snarky comment after a August story on Andrew Ferrier’s appointment as New Zealand Trade & Enterprise chairman:

“Have you heard the one about how all client staff at NZTE getting iPads to match their iPhones? Perhaps the govt could spend the annual NZTE budget on buying every NZ business one instead.”

The reader, who says she deals a lot with NZE, fired off a request for about NZTE’s iPad purchasing under the Official Information Act.

A reply came back yesterday.

It said NZTE has bought 308 iPads.

During the 2011-12 financial year, the agency purchased 280 under the new All-of-Government contract for Apple purchases at a cost of $257,320 (or $919 per iPad - the tablets were all the same model, the 32GB Wi-Fi + Cellular iPad with Retina Display that retails for $1079).

24 were bought earlier at retail price, and used for a proof-of-concept trial.

$19,839 was spent (including travel) on IT training tour for staff in South and South East Asia, which included iPad training.

It all seems … pretty good to me.

NZTE would probably have spent the same or more on new laptops [UPDATE: an insider tells NBR ONLINE some staff got new laptops at the same time, and needed some convincing of the tablets' merits.]

I agree with the agency that iPads are a great tool for presentations, collecting customer information and communicating globally via Skype.

Someone’s probably going to leave a comment about Android tablet alternatives.

NZTE says it carried out a robust business case process (not detailed) before settling on Apple’s iPad, coupled with Airwatch for device management and security.

I’d add, too, that it’s a good look for an NZTE rep to carry a tablet to a meeting rather than lugging in a laptop.

All looks good to me. Carry on.

More by Chris Keall

Comments and questions

3g 16gb are $929 so the all of govt contract gets them a $10 discount?

Or did they get higher capacity ones so staff could store personal music/videos?

If it is the best tool for the job, it is the best tool. Not a iPad user yet so cant comment on that aspect.

NZTE bought the 32GB Wi-Fi + Cellular iPad with retina display that retails for $1079.

The two Trade and Enterprise people I work with both have iPad 2s. They were miffed that I had already got a newer version than theirs.

Although with that in mind, mine has been outdated now as well, so you really can't keep up.

Is there any way to know how much the data bills for 280 iPads are (in addition to all of the mobile phone contracts)?

32gb versions seem excessive.

You don't need to show all three Lord of the Rings films to say we have nice landscape.

Could have saved $30k. In the scheme of things, small change.

Maybe it's so the NZTE staff can understand what an "app" is that's the future, apparently.

Next year all NZTE staff members will recieve iPad Minis to go with their iPads and iPhones.

iPads are a must for the NZTE reps because they love playing Angry Birds. It helps keep their minds sharp for trade negotiations.

When I last met with my NZTE manager they joked that their new iPad is used by their kids at home. Only I think they were telling the truth.

Why do you need to travel for training courses on an iPad? If you need training maybe they should be sacked.

What a beat-up these comments are - let NZTE get on with their job.

Agree, the focus should be on whether or not they are doing their job. My view is not.

Agree, the focus should be on whether or not they are doing their job.

Reckon half of them even know what their job is?

I'd have to say I like how this story unfolded off the back of a comment on another NBR story, generating a story, and then getting comments. It plays nicely to the new online NBR approach of better reader engagement. (Sent from my ipad :) )

It's hardly an NBR approach - it's called social media and everyone is donig it. Bet this comment doesn't get through.

Great idea for NZTE - much cheaper than laptops to buy and to support.

Which is good in theory if they are phasing out laptops. But these are in addition to laptops - I see in the article edit that new laptops are still being issued in addition to iPads and iPhones.

How many businesses are in very tight trading and financial condition who cannot afford such luxuries but have to pay taxes to fund NZTE largesse?

Wake up. Many of us have better hardware at home for the kids to play than what business are providing and the Y Generation demands equal access at work. I use my personal stuff for work because the ones at work are too slow and not enough memory.

What exactly do NZTE people actually do?

93% of NZTE staff have come from the private sector and this investment in mobile technology allows the customer-facing staff to be as connected, informed and as professional as they were when they were in the private sector. It is a really good example of the customer-centric approach NZTE has taken over the last two years to help New Zealand companies in their internationalisation.

Without being prescriptive in their assistance, NZTE has asked customers to identify what challenges they face in reaching their international aspirations and how NZTE can assist with those. Help is then customised to project the company forward on their journey, faster or at a greater scale than they may have achieved in isolation.

The iPads are a very small but practical way to ensure the customer-facing staff are able to engage with customers with ready access to real-time information. Smarter, agile, innovative... New Zealand companies succeeding internationally know the importance of these characteristics. Having their government strategic partner in tune with that has been positively endorsed.

I assume this was written by an NZTE spokesperson. Why has it been posted as Anonymous? Or has this not been written by NZTE? It might just be me, but it seems very strange to write all this but not acknowledge who wrote it.

NZTE are very selective in the assistance they provide from the $180 million of taxpayer funds they spend annually. Few small exporters get a look in, and since most of their clients are large enough to look after themselves, most of their programmes deliver a poor return for New Zealand.

The State Services Commission's review in 2010 was pretty scathing of this government agency. In the intervening two years they have hardly made a ripple among the bulk of exporters they are supposed to be championing.

The iPads will do nothing to change their irrelevance to NZ business. They will get high praise from those who have been beneficiaries of their largess but little from the wider export community.

As with any organisation, there are good people and there is dross. My experience is that the majority are dross. The good ones often get very frustrated that there are roadblocks in place to really help and so they leave.

Also, as the previous comment says, they are focusing on more established businesses - they are risk adverse. The companies that need help are often locked out and the ones they work with do not really need them.

i also understand that they are struggling to hit their client number targets because a lot of the companies in their "target" market do not want a bar of them.

I wonder if the NBR can do a follow up on this? It would be great to know if NZTE are phasing out desktop PC's. That would be a really fascinating story.

My company looked at getting iPads but think the new Windows tablets will work better with the Microsoft suite (we use Microsoft CRM a lot, and this looks to be well integrated with the new Surface tablets).

And isn't shocking that they use horseless carriages and the wireless, too! What a waste of taxpayer money. (Yes, sarcasm is the lowest form of wit).