Back­ing in­no­va­tion

South Waikato News - - OPINION - By LOUISE UPSTON

MP for Taupo

New Zealan­ders are in­no­va­tive, it’s in our DNA. Our pro­duc­tive sec­tor and our niche com­pa­nies pro­vide the world with high-qual­ity unique prod­ucts. I’ve vis­ited busi­nesses here in South Waikato which are cre­at­ing in­no­va­tive prod­ucts that are im­por­tant and use­ful, both na­tion­ally, and on the in­ter­na­tional stage.

Na­tional knows how im­por­tant it is to stay ahead of the global com­pe­ti­tion so we can build a more com­pet­i­tive and pro­duc­tive econ­omy.

We have an am­bi­tious sci­ence and in­no­va­tion agenda. This in­cludes our half bil­lion dol­lar in­vest­ment in the Pri­mary Growth Part­ner­ship to de­velop cut­ting edge re­search and in­no­va­tion in our ru­ral in­dus­tries.

More than 30 coun­tries are now part of the Global Re­search Al­liance on Agri­cul­tural Green­house Gases that we set up in 2009 to look at ways to grow more food with­out in­creas­ing emis­sions.

Last week we took an­other step, un­veil­ing the Ad­vanced Tech­nol­ogy In­sti­tute.

The in­sti­tute builds on our sci­ence and in­no­va­tion pro­gramme that has seen New Zealand climb from 28th on the Global In­no­va­tion In­dex five years ago to be 13th to­day.

The Ad­vanced Tech­nol­ogy In­sti­tute takes in In­dus­trial Re­search Ltd (IRL). It will be based in Auck­land, Welling­ton and Christchurch – close to our main busi­ness cen­tres and in­no­va­tive firms. And it will be­come a good ca­reer op­tion for our bright­est young sci­en­tists, en­gi­neers, de­sign­ers, and tech­ni­cians.

As part of Bud­get 2012, the Gov­ern­ment has al­lo­cated $166 mil­lion over four years for the in­sti­tute.

The Ad­vanced Tech­nol­ogy In­sti­tute will fo­cus on in­dus­tries with sig­nif­i­cant growth po­ten­tial such as food and bev­er­age man­u­fac­tur­ing, agritech­nolo­gies, dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies, health tech­nolo­gies and ther­a­peu­tics man­u­fac­tur­ing, and high­value wood prod­ucts.

Na­tional wants to see more Kiwi busi­ness suc­cess sto­ries. We be­lieve bridg­ing the gap be­tween busi­ness, sci­ence, engi­neer­ing and de­sign is the way to turn ideas into prod­ucts and prod­ucts into more jobs and higher in­comes for Ki­wis.

I’d like to take this op­por­tu­nity to en­cour­age any of our tal­ented lo­cal Pa­cific youth to put their hand up for this year’s Prime Min­is­ter’s Pa­cific Youth Awards, which recog­nise those who have ex­celled in their field of study. The awards also ac­knowl­edge students who have in­spired oth­ers within their community.

The awards were set up by the Min­istry of Pa­cific Is­land Af­fairs in 2010, and re­ward students for their skills in lead­er­ship, in­no­va­tion and cre­ativ­ity.

The awards also ac­knowl­edge students who have in­spired oth­ers within their community. We have some tal­ented and in­spir­ing youth here in South Waikato and I would like to en­cour­age you to visit paci­fi­cy­outhawards.org.nz for more in­for­ma­tion.

If you would like to share your views with me, re­quest more in­for­ma­tion, or need as­sis­tance with an is­sue, please phone the elec­torate of­fice on 07 886 5554 or email Upston.sth­waikato@par­lia­ment.govt.nz.

Louise Upston

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