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Launch of University of Auckland North Shore

Hon Paul Swain
19 April 2001 Speech Notes
11:00 am Launch of University of Auckland North Shore campus, 132 Hurstmere Road, Takapuna.


Good morning and thank you for the invitation, I'm pleased to be here to open the new campus.

I am very impressed with this new facility and especially in the new double major degree being taught here – the Bachelor of Business and Information Management.

This new qualification is about students who want more than a straight business or IT degree. It has been developed in response to the growing demand for graduates with both business and information management skills.

In a nutshell it's about developing skills in information technology and e-commerce for those who are keen to run their own business.

Having returned from a trip overseas which focussed on information technology, venture capital, e-commerce and telecommunications – can I just say that your degree course is right on the button. The skills needed to either run a business or establish a new business in a modern context is precisely what New Zealand needs at the moment and there is no time to lose.

As a country we started the year well, the outlook is positive, and business confidence is strong. The economy is looking healthy with a broad range of positive indicators, especially in the areas of employment and trade. This has been driven by a number of factors, including an export friendly dollar and good commodity prices.

Given that movements in world economies can have big effects on New Zealand's economy - this is a good time to promote the modernisation and transformation of our economy from one where information and knowledge both add and generate value for traditional and new products and services.

The government is doing its bit. We have made some significant announcements in the last year and half. We are focussing on direct foreign investment, and have established Industry New Zealand. We are soon to establish a Crown Seed Capital Fund, and we are looking at ways of making the tertiary education and training sector more responsive to the needs of our nation as a knowledge economy.

We are looking at ways of targetting IT workers in immigration and we have established a very target focussed e-government unit in the State Services Commission.

There are exciting developments in e-commerce nationally. Last year, a successful e-commerce summit was held in partnership between the private and public sectors. This lifted the profile and importance of e-commerce in New Zealand.

An e-commerce action team has been established, made up of government, business and community representatives. Its job is to help advance the government’s e-commerce strategy, and encourage and promote the adoption of e-commerce within the private sector.

These moves are all designed to help with the transition from and old to a new economy. However we cannot do this unless we have skilled people – that is where you come in.

From my trip overseas it seems that we have a number of positive things to offer the international business community. We are a predominantly English speaking nation with a stable government and good working environment, we are in the right time zone and our education and skills are well regarded.

Those are all strong selling points – but we need to do more.

We need to encourage and promote entrepreneurship and we have to celebrate our business successes. We have to focus on applying new technologies to business principles, encourage a start up culture and forge a much closer relationship between the tertiary and private sectors where ideas can be commercialised easier than they are now.

I'm confident that if we work together we can achieve these things in the best interest of all New Zealanders.

This course will give our students the opportunity not only to compete effectively in the global market but also hopefully encourage more of them not only to run a business but also to run their own business.

Again may I congratulate you on your new campus – I now declare it officially open.

ENDS

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