Down But Not Out

High Mac Prices in New Zealand

Dirk Pilat - 2002.08.21

Hiya!

The sun is shining, the trees are in bloom, the air is getting warm, and lambs are appearing out of nowhere (maybe I have to check those birds and bees theories again) around my little cottage.

Ahh, spring in New Zealand. A time when a young man's thoughts turn to the annual change of underwear and hardware to keep up with the ever increasing demands on processor speed and graphic cards by the ever increasing amount of bloatware.

So I fired up my ancient G3 2x USB 500 MHz iBook (this is Low End Mac, right?) and went on the hunt to get some new toys. To check out the new NZ prices I went to the logical place to go when you live in New Zealand, www.apple.co.nz, but instead of getting the slick corporate site I expected, I got a little less elegant chunk of links by a company called Renaissance Ltd. showing me where to drive to lay my hands on an iMac, a bit of blurb on how brilliant OS X and the Macs are, and this rather disturbing line:

"It is important to note that Renaissance Limited is an entirely separate entity from Apple Computer Inc. Renaissance Limited has sole distribution rights of Apple equipment in New Zealand, but is not the same company as Apple Computer."

So, let me get my head around this: There is only one company allowed to import Apple gear and distribute it to retailers in New Zealand. Mmh. That would explain the unusual high prices you get if you check out the retailers here in NZ: online stores like MagnumMac and totallyMac have pretty similar prices, but compared to US retailers like Other World Computing and Outpost, NZ prices seem to be unusually expensive.

While the basic 700 MHz iMac retails at around 1,299 US dollar, the same computer sells for 1,550 US dollar in NZ, and that's without general sales tax, which will set the buyer back another 12 percent. Ouch. No wonder everybody around me buys their gear in Australia or, like me, orders it directly from the US.

One of my nurses recently really, really wanted to get the new iMac, so I showed her where to test drive one and found the best deal on the Web, but to no avail: She had to go for a Dell that came with a scanner, printer, and monitor for about half the price of the iMac here in NZ because she couldn't afford it. Even used Macs have outrageous prices: On the local equivalent of eBay (trademe.co.nz), somebody recently wanted 200 US dollar reserve for a 7200/75, CPU only.

Well, it's a small country, and obviously Apple is not taking it very seriously. Shame, though, as the creative potential is there, and the few Mac-using Kiwis are proud of their machines and would wish more people would use them.

Oh well.

On a happier note: I just ordered "Puma" (er, Jaguar) and can't wait to see the "150 new features" crash. Or sparkle. Who knows....

Dirk LEM

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