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Mahia Rocket Lab launch site officially opened

Hon Steven Joyce

Minister for Economic Development

27 September 2016
Media Statement

Mahia Rocket Lab launch site officially opened

Economic Development Minster Steven Joyce today opened New Zealand’s first orbital launch site, Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1, on the Mahia Peninsula on the North Island’s east coast.

“I congratulate Chief Executive and founder Peter Beck and his team who have worked hard to achieve this,” Mr Joyce says. “It is their innovation and perseverance that has made this day possible.

“I’m looking forward to the first launches from Mahia expected later this year, with more to come next year when Rocket Lab launches with commercial payloads.”

“Rocketlab is just one of the most visible of hundreds of new generation kiwi hi-tech companies that are rapidly growing high-value exports and leading New Zealand into a hi-tech future.”

Mr Joyce acknowledged the landowners from whom Rocket Lab had leased the land for the launch facility, and the people of Mahia and Wairoa.

“The farmland is leased from Onenui Station of the Tawapata South Māori Incorporation who have thought outside the square to explore new opportunities for shareholders. And local people have been very supportive of this new development in their backyard,” Mr Joyce says.

“Rocket Lab will be a catalyst for other space-related activity in New Zealand. Space activity is pervasive in our lives, to such an extent we are no longer aware that our internet, our decision-making around energy and resource management, our marine surveillance to name only a tiny fraction, all rely on what we are doing in space.

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“Attracting international players will be easier now that we are establishing a world-leading regulatory regime to be managed by a new NZ Space Agency, located within the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

“The new Agency has been very busy not only supporting Rocket Lab to navigate the regulatory environment, but also putting in place the foundations for an internationally credible, competitive and well-connected New Zealand-based space industry.

Mr Joyce says the NZ Space Agency will be capitalising on Rocket Lab launches to help build New Zealand’s capacity and expertise in all manner of space-related activities and will support the strategic opportunities that are likely to flow.

The Outer Space and High Altitude Activities Bill was introduced to The House on 19 September and it is intended it will become law by mid-2017. It will enable the development of a space industry in New Zealand, and ensure its safe, secure and responsible operation. It also provides for the management of certain high altitude activities that take place from New Zealand and enables New Zealand to manage risks and implement certain international obligations relating to space activities and space technology.

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