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Launch Of Notebook Valley

Hon Trevor Mallard Speech Notes

Thank you all for being here today.

Today we are launching one of the four projects in a Government-Business joint venture. Those projects cover a range of technologies and Internet delivery systems in a variety of school situations.

While I am here in my official capacity as Minister of Education, I'm also a very pleased MP for Hutt South because this project has the potential to make a huge difference to young people from the Hutt schools that are taking part.

Today students from Wainuiomata are receiving their laptops.

Many of you may know that not only do I live in Wainuiomata, but I also partly grew up there. When I was growing up, Wainuiomata was often referred to as Nappy Valley. We're well and truly past the time where we can dump that name and I for one much prefer the link to Silicon Valley.

Students here today, can be proud of the fact that they are taking part in Notebook Valley. Within that, you are being given opportunities to help you flourish in the modern world.

On the radio yesterday, there was a story about business optimism. It looked at whether our businesses are going to be hiring more staff over the next few months and what kind of people they are looking for.

A chief executive from a company in Porirua that makes radio telecommunications equipment really hit home. He said they were desperate for appropriately skilled staff to work as radio design engineers. This project is not going to solve his problems this year. But what it will do is ensure that senior students who have abilities in the area of mathematics and science will be given support at a crucial stage in your learning life. I hope that as a country we will reap the benefits of that down the track. Some of you might like to consider radio design engineering as one good career option.

As a Government, we are trying to encourage as many young people as possible to help us in our pursuit and application of knowledge-based creativity and innovation. That is the key to success in the global economy of the 21st century.

As a country, we must raise our sights and find new ways of creating Kiwi prosperity. Innovation and creativity are the hallmarks of knowledge-based industries and their workforces whether engaged in industry, artistic or cultural endeavours. Work is going on in this area led by the Government and Auckland University under the knowledge wave banner.

I see all the digital opportunities projects as a way of ensuring that young people from all sorts of backgrounds are given the chance to be part of this exciting future.

On your behalf, I'd like to thank the business partners in this venture.

They are Compaq, which is leading the project and supplying hardware and technology plus know-how. Renaissance is providing specialist education software - RM Smart Tools and infrastructure, training and technical support. Te Kete Ipurangi is providing professional and curriculum support to the project. TelstraSaturn has given broadband internet access to the students and schools through their Internet service provider (ISP). Microsoft NZ is providing software for the Notebooks and servers for the network.

We could not do these projects without their support.

Thank you.

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