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Updated: 2 hours 18 min ago

Switch Mobility opens pre-order books for world’s first electric scrambler

Sat, 07/30/2022 - 20:57
Switch Mobility opens pre-order books for world’s first electric scrambler

New Zealand-based electric mobility startup Switch Mobility has confirmed that pre-order books for the world’s first electric scrambler have finally been opened, allowing interested people to book the electric two-wheeler in advance.

The Switch eScrambler concept was initially introduced in February of 2020, and it quickly garnered praise for its classic silhouette, high-tech specs, and innovative design. However, the onset of the deadly Covid-19 pandemic pushed the world into lockdown, putting the eScrambler project at risk.

However, the startup didn’t stop working on the project during those two years of pandemic-induced lockdown period. Matthew Waddick, founder and lead engineer of Switch, joined forces with former Danish Flat Track champion Michel Riis to adapt the concept into a production model. Riis is a seasoned industrial designer who previously worked with Yamaha Japan Advanced Labs. The team worked on the design of the concept and developed it further using 3D software. Simultaneously, they kept accumulating tooling and molds required for the eventual production of the zero-emissions scrambler.

In spite of the homologation process, the Switch eScrambler boasts capacity to produce a 50 kW (roughly 70 horsepower) IPM electric motor and a 13kWh LG 21700 li-ion battery, which is powerful enough to allow the electric scrambler to deliver a range of up to 150 kilometers (approximately 93 miles) on a single full charge. It takes just 4 hours to regain 90 per cent of its juice. The faux gas tank of the electric two-wheeler still hides electronics like controllers away from sight.

The manufacturer used aluminum alloy frame to make the frame of the 375-pound e-bike. To ensure bump-free rides, it has been equipped with a USD fork at the front and a monoshock at the rear. A 27-degree rake is also there to keep it agile in almost all conditions and diverse terrain. Other notable features include LED headlamp and ABS-assisted J.Juan disc brakes.

Describing the eScrambler bike on its official website, the startup states that the environment-friendly electric two-wheeler took styling cues from flat trackers and good-looking classic bikes of the 1970s. The company also states that the eScrambler, which will challenge vintage ICE-powered bikes in performance.

Priced at US$11,999, the eScrambler can be reserved with a deposit of just $500. Assembling of the electric two-wheeler will take place in New Zealand, with official launch scheduled for sometime before the end of 2022. Deliveries to U.S., New Zealand, and Australian customers will likely commence sometime in the first quarter (Q1) of 2023.

Business: Auto SectorRegion: New ZealandCompany: Switch MobilityGeneral: TNMFeatured

Fresh casino initiative aims to pave way for five legal casinos in Thailand

Sun, 07/03/2022 - 23:47
Fresh casino initiative aims to pave way for five legal casinos in Thailand

An influential panel of Thai leaders is mulling a casino initiative that would allow five gambling-friendly properties to be establishes in various parts of Thailand – a Southeast Asian country located at the centre of the Indochinese Peninsula.

According to emerging reports, a panel of House members is planning to propose the establishment of five legal casinos in the country. The panel believes that the initiative would help authorities in fighting back illegal gambling properties.

Pichet Chuamuangphan, second vice-chairman of the House committee studying casino gambling legalization, told media that the committee has already submitted their findings as well as suggestions to the government.

Thai leaders have been working on plans to bring legal casinos to the country for a long time, but nothing concrete has been seen yet. Now, the plans seem to be moving forward. However, the high tax rate proposed in the latest plan may not appeal to some potential operators.

As per the latest plan, operators would have to give up 30 per cent of their revenue in taxes. In other words, they would have to willingly part with a round a third of their total revenues. Some analysts are of the view that the high rate of tax could discourage some operators from participating in the race for a casino license. However, many other entities could be attracted if the government gives approval for online gambling.

Late last year, Sangsit Piriyarangsan – the chairman of the Senate standing committee on poverty & inequality reduction – said that it is the best chance for the country in fifty years to grand legal status to casinos. He has long advocated the legalization of casinos in the country, despite strong opoosition from certain sections of the society.

Some people continue to oppose legalization of casinos on religious grounds as gambling is in conflict with Buddhist values. Only slightly more than 21 per cent of voters supported setting up gambling-friendly properties as a means to generate more revenue for the country and to discourage citizens from resorting to foreign casinos for gambling.

Nevertheless, Sangsit said, “I don’t think the survey by NIDA Poll represents the opinion of the majority of people. MPs have a better idea of popular opinion as they are elected by the people.”

Like many other proponents of the casino legalization, Sangsit suggested strict regulations like age restrictions and annual income requirements to prevent the youth and low-income earners from gambling at casinos.

Business: Company NewsRegion: ThailandGeneral: Casinos

Blackstone gets Western Australia’s approval to acquire Crown Resorts

Sun, 06/12/2022 - 14:11
Blackstone gets Western Australia’s approval to acquire Crown Resorts

Multinational private equity & investment giant Blackstone Group has confirmed that it has secured its final regional approval to acquire Crown Resorts – a leading owner & operator of integrated casino resorts in Australia.

The third and last regional approval Crown Resorts’ acquisition by Blackstone Group came from Western Australia, and the plan is now heading to a federal court.

The Gaming and Wagering Commission (GWA) of Western Australia approved the acquisition deal immediately after the state’s Racing & Gaming Minister Tony Buti gave green signal to the plan.

Blackstone needs to get its acquisition plan approved from authorities in Victoria, New South Wales as well because the casino operator is active in all these states. Like Western Australia, Victoria and New South Wales have also approved the plan. It is quite interesting to note here that approval from all these states have come within this week. A final hearing in a federal court, the last step in the lengthy process, is scheduled for 15th of June.

Clearance from regional authorities is a sign that the American private equity firm could take over ownership of Crown Perth sooner than later. However, Western Australia’s Minister Buti has published a list of expectations that the state has from the American firm’s management.

One of the expectations is that Blackstone Group will manage the operations of the casino operator in accordance with the “highest standards” of governance and operations in the country. The minister also expects the equity firm to invest a significant amount of money in the property to improve it and create new job opportunities.

Speaking on the topic, Buti said in a statement, “The State Government has already made significant improvements to the regulatory regime and remains committed … to ensure whoever owns or runs Perth’s casino is held to account. The conditions on Blackstone, combined with upcoming reforms, will ensure appropriate standards are upheld at Perth’s Casino.”

It may be noted here that Crown Resorts came under fire around a couple of years ago after an inquiry revealed that the management of the casino company facilitated money laundering. Last year, the Perth Casino Royal Commission declared that Crown Resorts wasn’t suitable to operate the casino. However, it decided not to recommend the revocation of the operator’s gaming license. Instead, it recommended an array of drastic changes for the operator to implement.

Region: AustraliaCompany: Crown ResortsBlackstone GroupGeneral: Casinos