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Deputy PM outlines basis of Knowledge Economy

Deputy Prime Minister outlines basis of Knowledge Economy


Immediate release
5th March 2000

Deputy Prime Minister Jim Anderton outlined the government's approach to the knowledge economy in a speech to the IPENZ Conference 2000 at the weekend.

Addressing the theme 'Towards a Knowledge Economy' on Saturday, Jim Anderton said the government was committed to transforming the industrial base of New Zealand.

"We are committed to entering partnerships with local government and the private sector to invest in new job-rich, high-skill, high-value industries on the technology frontier," Deputy Prime Minister Jim Anderton said.

"There have been many requests to spell out exactly which industries will be supported, and what level of support there will be. That is to mistake the partnership approach we are taking.

"The answers to those questions will not be determined by me in my office in Wellington. The answers will come from partnership between communities, businesses, the scientific innovative sector and Industry New Zealand.

"Nevertheless there are a number of key areas we are focussing on

"First, higher incomes are crucially dependent on innovation.

"Innovation is not just entrepreneurs thinking of new ways to make widgets. It is a systematic approach to technical progress, involving professionally conducted research and development in all sectors – services and infrastructure as well as manufacturing and agriculture.

The tax treatment of R&D will be studied as part of the Government’s review of the entire tax system.

More immediately, Industry New Zealand will be able to enter R&D joint ventures, with an emphasis on new technology industries providing sustainable, skilled, well-paid jobs and high added-value exports.

Second, the development of the skills of the population is very important.

Innovation and investment cannot occur without a well-educated population, equipped with a high level of industry-specific training.

If we want to retain our most skilled young New Zealanders, we have to bring down the cost of education.

Third, there needs to be a high and relatively steady rate of new investment.

Industry New Zealand will provide capital for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises -- not only to establish new businesses but also to sustainably expand existing ones. Potential contributions could include direct development grants, loans and start-up equity capital.

Fourth, the public sector must supply investment to improve the productive capacity of the whole population.

This means the Government has to meet its obligation to invest in education, health care, infrastructure development, basic science and R&D.

The era of partnership will replace the ‘hands-off’ approach of the past. The new approach combines our educational, scientific and business skills in a strategic economic development programme. It won’t remove the operation of markets, but complement and improve their effectiveness.

The development of new skills and techniques, investment in technology and the involvement of the Government to provide investment, education, training and infrastructure are all crucial to success.

ENDS

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