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Knowledge Wave -Media Statement from the Co-Chairs

August 3, 2001

Media Statement from the Co-Chairs

Rt Hon Helen Clark
Prime Minister

Dr John Hood
Vice-Chancellor
The University of Auckland

The Catching the Knowledge Wave conference has made an important contribution to New Zealand’s ability to achieve a more prosperous and socially cohesive future, the conference co-chairs, Prime Minister Helen Clark and the Vice-Chancellor of The University of Auckland, Dr John Hood, said today.

“A representative cross-section of New Zealanders has debated our future seriously, actively, and publicly – both in the conference itself and through the wider community.

“Our hope is that a new national confidence is emerging about our ability to move forward. The importance of such national self-confidence and common purpose has been stressed by speaker after speaker as basic to finding and uniting around unique solutions that are appropriate to who we are.

“We have achieved a clear mandate from the conference to take this project to the next stage,” Helen Clark and John Hood said.

The Organising Committee will meet within the month and will be making recommendations on how to build the momentum from the conference right across the community.

“We need all New Zealanders to understand that they will only be better off on all dimensions, that we will only ‘create Kiwi prosperity’ – the by-line of the conference - if we do achieve a step-change in our economic growth performance,” said Dr Hood.

“One of the aims of this conference was to raise national consciousness about some of the priorities we need in order to secure economic growth and the reasons for them: to focus on the task required if we are to meet the commonly shared view that New Zealand can and should restore itself to the top half of the OECD,” said Helen Clark and John Hood.

“We need the determination to move forward, seeking fresh solutions that are appropriate for the future rather than continually reworking solutions that were applied in the past.

“The goal is a more prosperous and socially cohesive society. We have considerable strengths. A broad consensus has emerged among participants that we have the flair, creativity and entrepreneurial spirit that will ensure we raise the living standards of all New Zealanders.

“We now need a shared commitment to build on our many strengths and capabilities.”

The five theme groups have produced a host of recommendations in the areas of people and capability, innovation and creativity, entrepreneurship, sustainable economic strategies, and social cohesion and the knowledge divide.

These have been distilled into a broad set of priorities announced today and which will form the basis of action going forward. The conference has stimulated new thinking on achieving growth through new approaches to education, innovation, research and development, promoting excellence, networks, mentoring, and building scale and clusters in key industries.

A strong focus on entrepreneurship, the attraction and retention of talent, the transformation of public and private institutions, and incentives to promote innovation and creativity have also emerged.

“Celebrating our identity as New Zealanders has been identified as a key determining factor in how well we respond to the global challenge of the knowledge wave.”

ENDS

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