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SIAC Asks For Response To Its Report

MEDIA RELEASE:15 August 2001

The Council set up by the Prime Minister to advise on how to turn New Zealand into a more innovative society has given the country an proposed Innovation Framework supported by an Innovation Report card - and now wants New Zealanders to respond to the proposed Innovation Framework.

The Science and Innovation Advisory Council (SIAC), made up of some of the country’s top business people, has produced a report which Helen Clark released at the recent Knowledge Wave Conference. It now wants to know whether New Zealanders think it is on the right track.

“The vision we have for New Zealand spans a wide horizon of business, community and government. Everyone in the country will need to be involved for New Zealand to transform ourselves into a successful, positive, innovative society”, says the Chair of SIAC, Rick Christie.

“SIAC doesn’t claim to have all of the answers, but we are confident that the challenges and next moves which we’ve highlighted in our proposed Framework are key to the country’s future success. But we need to know what New Zealanders think before we finalise them and incorporate them into an Action Plan.”

Rick Christie says most New Zealanders seem to be saying that it’s time for the country to do something about creating a more successful and innovative society. SIAC hopes that inviting responses to its report will help reinforce the process. SIAC wants to deliver an Action Plan to the Government by November.

“We are ready as a country for the next stage of the journey, and we need to take action together. It’s an exciting time for New Zealand, because the decisions we make now will determine the kind of country we live in. This is big picture stuff, but at the same time gets to the heart of who and what we are and where we are going.”

We know what we need to do, he says, we now need to act, to improve our standards of living and to better manage our competitiveness. “What do we as a country need to do to put this into place? Let’s be concrete and practical.”

SIAC identifies seven key challenges for New Zealand. These are:

- Reward “can-do’, risk-taking and success

- Educate for a knowledge economy

- Become a magnet nation for talent

- Generate wealth from ideas and knowledge

- Excel globally

- Network, collaborate and cluster

- Take an investment-driven approach to Government.

Each of these has its own associated goals and ways of achieving them. Among SIAC’s “Next Moves’ are:

- Creating a coherent NZ Inc strategy, to focus investment into sectors such as biotechnology and food processing, to increase our competitive advantages;

- Shifting research and trade promotion away from primary production towards new economic activities where more support is needed;

- Ensuring at Government level that our regulatory regimes do not punish calculated risk-taking, but support entrepreneurialism;

- Reducing compliance costs for small and medium-sized business;

- Supporting the teaching of technology, entrepreneurialism and wealth creation in schools;

- Changing immigration to focus on recruitment of more talent from overseas to support growth in key industries, and to attract New Zealanders back home.

People can read SIAC’s report on its website: www.siac.govt.nz, and can send feedback to SIAC on talk2us@siac.govt.nz. Or write to P O Box 2401 Wellington.

Ends


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