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Sector Taskforces Lead to Investments in Growth

Sector Taskforces Lead to Investments in Growth

All New Zealand businesses and all New Zealanders stand to benefit from the work of the four GIF Sector Taskforces, Economic Development Minister, Jim Anderton, said today.

Speaking at the New Zealand Biotechnology Conference in Wellington, Jim Anderton thanked the taskforces for their work, commending them for their ambition and vision and announced a range of initiatives from technology education to enterprise training and research into a Next Generation Internet network.

"The taskforces showed they and their sectors have the will to take New Zealand back into the top half of the league of wealthy nations and keep it there. They showed vision, passion and ambition for their industries ? for design, biotech, information technology and film ? and for this country. This government cannot thank them enough for that," Jim Anderton said.

The Progressive leader said the taskforces had identified common themes where public and private sector action would benefit the whole economy.

These include the need for stronger networks, the development of a global perspective, upskilling of managers and the workforce; better information about what's actually happening in the economy and a continued drive towards more simple and transparent tax and compliance systems.

The initiatives announced today are funded from a four year contingency fund of $110 million set aside in Budget 2003.

They include:

* An extra $8 million over the next four years to increase support for implementing the secondary school technology curriculum;

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* $11.55 million over four years to develop enterprise training for emerging industries;

* $10 million over four years to assist the GIF sectors to develop commercial and entrepreneurial skills;

* $200,000 to develop a business case for the development of NGI in new Zealand;

* $2.6 million to develop better statistics about research and development and innovation and to develop a complete set of productivity statistics.

He added that officials from the Treasury and the Inland Revenue Department were working on the taskforces' various recommendations on taxation.

The GIF Sector taskforces were appointed by the Government in May last year to map out a strategic direction and to set growth targets for their industries.

The sectors ? biotechnology, ICT and the creative sector (design and film production) - were chosen because internationally they are growing significantly faster than the overall rate of economic growth and because innovative processes and technologies developed in these sectors are drivers of productivity improvements elsewhere in the economy.

There will be a number of further annoucements outlining the coalition government's responses to the GIF Sector Taskforces over the coming weeks.

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