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Creating High Tech Jobs At Home

13 December 2000 Hon Jim Anderton Speech Notes


Address to
5.30 pm Wednesday 13 December
Andersen Consulting & New Technology Business Solutions Limited
Level 11
125 The Terrace
Wellington.

Thank you for inviting me to speak to you today.

As the Minister for Economic, Industry and Regional Development and a proud New Zealander I am vitally interested in our successes and new ideas, so I am pleased to be here.

I always enjoy sharing good news. Particularly when it involves a Kiwi company getting access to world markets.

I understand that Andersen consulting is undergoing some major changes. One of these changes has resulted in the announcement today of the partnership with New Zealand's New Technology Business Solutions (NTBS), a company only started in February of last year.

Internet Banking services all around the world will now have New Technology Banking systems, thanks to Andersen consulting adopting it as one of the standard software solutions for your customers.

I understand that there is already strong overseas interest in this software.

Most New Zealand companies are small. Eighty-five percent have less than five staff. The challenge for New Zealand companies is to operate successfully at an international level. To be world class in all that we do.

Partnerships such as these are certainly a way forward.

The future of New Zealand lies in the hands of New Zealanders. If we need to, we can put together international partnerships, attract foreign investment, and work with technology from overseas, but Kiwis are our major asset and that is where our future lies.

I understand that this strategic alliance will produce a significant number of Hi Tech jobs around the world, but is also going to lead to Kiwis being able to come home to work.

This is important not only to me but to all New Zealanders. I am all in favour of a brain gain. The more Hi Tech jobs we have in New Zealand, the more Kiwis we will keep in New Zealand, and the stronger our economy will be.

I have visited other companies where this is happening.

A few weeks ago I opened the new offices of Allied Telesyn in Christchurch, a high tech international company undertaking research and development and capitalising on the skills and innovation of Kiwi software engineers.

This research facility will work for its international computer software design company and hire up to 280 skilled technical New Zealand staff in the next two years. They are going to develop and market new and innovative products and around them they will create more jobs. The expansion of their plant alone will put $10 million into the local economy.

New Zealanders are coming back to work for them in droves, responding to jobs advertised by Allied Telesyn on the internet.

Last week in Christchurch I opened a business incubator, supported by the Canterbury Development Corporation and local tertiary institutions which will cluster innovative Hi Tech companies together and provide support to make them flourish.

Our economy is changing, rebalancing toward a new economic structure. We are moving from consumption-led growth, to an economy which is production and export based. However this new production focus will not be the same as the past. Increasingly it will be production where we create value from ideas and technology sold to a specific market, at a high price.

Right now New Zealand is the lowest exporter of Hi Tech products in the OECD. We import five times as much high-technology production as we export. We also have a massive overseas debt and long history of balance of payments deficits.

You can be assured that alliances and business partnerships like the one here between Andersen Consulting and New Technology Business Solutions Ltd have a champion in this Government.

The challenge for New Zealand is to be a country that is attractive for skilled, talented individuals to live in. Attractive to invest their energy and resources in. Attractive for Hi Tech industry.

Government has made e-commerce and e-government, priorities. All New Zealanders will be able to gain access to government information and services, and participate in our democracy using the internet, telephones and other technologies.

This Government is also committed to research and development. Already this Labour Alliance Coalition Government has shown our commitment to R&D by increasing government spending on research and development by ten per cent in our first budget. Of the $43 million extra, almost half goes direct to the private sector.

We need far more scientists, engineers and designers. And once we have them we need to keep them. We need far more Hi Tech development linked specifically to commercial opportunities. We need tertiary institutions much better equipped to meet the teaching, learning and research needs of New Zealanders. And although these things take time this Government is committed to them.

There is no shortage of innovation and good ideas in New Zealand. We are now attempting to ensure that the government plays its part. We will assist where we can, as actively as we need to, to create the right environment for innovation. It's not a matter of the government doing it all, or none of it. It's a matter of working together.

I am pleased to see partnerships such as this one between Andersen Consulting, and New Technology Business Solutions. I am really excited that it will create Hi Tech jobs for Kiwis here, as well as attracting people home.
/ends

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