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Major boost for Auckland and NZ innovation

21 October 2008

Major boost for Auckland and New Zealand innovation

Major contributions toward New Zealand's first national innovation centre were announced today at the University of Auckland's Tamaki campus by the Prime Minister, the Rt Hon Helen Clark, the Hon. John Banks, Mayor of Auckland city, and the university's Vice Chancellor Stuart N McCutcheon.

The government has pledged $25 million over 10 years, and the council has earmarked land valued at more than $20 million for first stage development of the New Zealand Innovation Centre, adjacent to Tamaki's research-led campus.

The aim of the centre is to create a cluster of firms and support organisations fostering the growth of globally competitive businesses through high-tech research and development. Up to 100 businesses could be on-site by 2015.

The innovation centre will eventually become part of a broader science and technology park, including a university-based research hub.

Mr Banks says today's announcements were important first steps in establishing a high quality innovation and science facility. "All truly competitive international cities need innovation, research and development and Auckland City Council is proud to partner such a venture.

"We look forward to seeing early progress in a project which has the ability to unlock the economic potential of New Zealand's best and brightest minds and the Tamaki region in general."

The council's proposed contribution of land was evidence of its wish to see the city take its place among those producing globally significant innovation.

"Countries around the world have recognised the importance science and technology parks have in developing new products and creating highly skilled jobs," Mr Banks says. "As Auckland and New Zealand look to add new export opportunities to the successes already enjoyed with more familiar market offerings, leading edge innovation becomes paramount."

Mr Banks says said that the city's partnership with the University of Auckland is special to the council. "We're proud of its many achievements and its position among the top research universities in the world. Its economic impact on the city is considerable and growing."

ENDS

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