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More active government to build on high tech succe

Prime Minister Helen Clark today in London launched a ground-breaking, New Zealand-designed computer system for the blind which, she said, shows that New Zealand companies can and do compete successfully in designing and developing high tech systems.

Speaking at a function at New Zealand House in Haymarket, Helen Clark said that products like BrailleNote, a programme developed by Christchurch company PulseData which enables blind people to work on the Microsoft system, hold the key to New Zealand's future prosperity.

"A key component of our new government's economic development policy is to encourage and facilitate the growth of New Zealand-based high tech companies. PulseData is an example of the expertise and innovation that New Zealand can and must foster.

"For the New Zealand economy to move on from the boom-bust commodity price cycle, we must both add value to our established commodity products and develop innovative new goods and services for sale.

"New Zealand companies can and do compete and win in the high technology marketplace. Our software and electronic engineers are highly skilled and highly successful. Christchurch's Tait Electronics, for example, exports even more overseas in dollar terms that our celebrated wine industry – itself a top performer.

"The government's task is to foster an environment in which more leading edge companies can emerge, so that they become the rule rather than the exception. New Zealand needs to retain more of its talented computer, engineering and science graduates, rather than see so many leaving to find opportunities elsewhere.

"In recent times, government indifference to economic development resulted in too slow a transformation to a higher value economy.

"The new government's moves to make higher education and training more affordable, to build up business grant programmes and research and development, and to facilitate New Zealand exports are aimed at achieving a significant transformation of the New Zealand economy.

"The result we are looking for is the emergence of many more companies like PulseData developing innovative, high tech products, and creating more prosperity for New Zealand," Helen Clark said.

ends

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