​Creating New Zealand’s ‘Technology Valley’ in the Hutt

“We have a great opportunity in the Hutt to create ‘Technology Valley’."

A Hutt Valley-based National List MP has thrown his support behind the Government’s strategy for developing New Zealand into a hub for high-value and knowledge-intensive businesses that are conducting more research and development (R&D) to lift innovation.

According to Chris Bishop, the Government’s Business Growth Agenda is all about helping businesses “succeed, grow, and create jobs” for New Zealanders.

“The updated “Innovation” chapter released recently by Minister Steven Joyce will be warmly welcomed by Hutt businesses and the wider community,” Bishop says.

“We have a great opportunity in the Hutt to create ‘Technology Valley’ - where science, technology and high value manufacturing drive economic growth, new jobs and higher wages for Hutt residents.”

Bishop says that over 3,900 people across more than 825 Lower Hutt businesses are employed full-time in the high-tech sector, and the sector generates $473 million in GDP already.

In addition, Lower Hutt has the fourth largest number of people in New Zealand employed in medium high-tech manufacturing.

Bishop says the Government has set seven priorities in the Business Growth Agenda “Building Innovation” update, focused on encouraging business innovation; attracting multi-national R&D investment in New Zealand; strengthening New Zealand’s innovation infrastructure and making the most of the digital economy.

Furthermore, Bishop says the Government is proactively reviewing market regulations; increasing the impact and relevance of publicly funded scientific research; and growing the availability of innovation skills in New Zealand.

“Increasing business innovation through R&D is right up the Hutt Valley’s alley,” he adds.

“Callaghan Innovation in Gracefield is a perfect example of how the Hutt has access to technical knowledge, product development and commercialisation expertise.

“The Government’s ambitious new broadband targets will help connect innovators in the Hutt Valley with the rest of the world.”

Going forward, the Government has announced new targets for peak broadband speeds of at least 50Mbps by 2025 for 99 percent of New Zealanders, and the remaining 1 percent able to access 10Mbps - up from dial-up or non-existent speeds.

“This will benefit the ICT sector, including in the Hutt, which produces twice as many innovations that are new to the world than the New Zealand average,” Bishop adds.

“The Hutt Valley is well placed to be the centre of R&D investment in New Zealand. R&D-intensive start-ups supported by funding accelerator and incubator programmes, especially technology incubators, present a huge opportunity for the Hutt.”

Bishop says R&D performed by New Zealand businesses has been growing steadily and grew by 6.4 per cent a year from 2010 to 2014.

However, this growth is occurring from a low base and we have not yet closed the gap with other advanced economies.

“There is much work to do, and we are getting on with doing it,” he adds.

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