ICT Minister speech notes: Hi Tech Awards

Friday May 6, 2011

The following speech notes were provided by officials to ICT Minister Steven Joyce for a speech he gave at the Hi Tech Awards in Wellington on Friday May 6, 2011. Please note that Joyce may or may not have used these notes in his actual speech and he cannot be quoted as having said any of these points unless there is an independent note or recording that he did so.

Hi Tech Awards Speech You’ve been asked to speak for 3-4 minutes at this event. They want a light-hearted, fun speech like you’ve done in the past two years. Rather than provide you with a text that you won’t use, attach is a menu of information that you might want to draw from. (“Funny bits” at the end) Intro and acknowledgements

  • Third awards evening as the Minister - continue to be impressed at the high quality of entries in the awards.
  • Acknowledge:
  • NZ Hi-tech Trust – organising and promoting event
  • Hi-tech Trust Chair Wayne Norrie, and his fellow trustees
  • Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown
  • Outstanding line-up of judges:
  • Gary Hamel (recently ranked by the Wall Street Journal as the world’s most influential business thinker and called “the world’s leading expert on business strategy” by Fortune magazine)
  • Michael Dell (founder of Dell Inc.)
  • Howard Charney (Senior Vice President of Cisco)
  • Andy Lark (Vice President at Dell Computers and a member of NZTE’s North American Beachhead Advisory Group)
  • Patrick Kenealy (Managing Director of IDG ventures in the US).
  • I would also like to congratulate all the finalists in this year’s awards, including three finalists from Christchurch who, along with seven other firms, overcame the effects of the recent earthquake to submit their entries.
  • Understand that there were a record number of entries for this year’s awards.
  • It is important to celebrate success and these awards showcase outstanding work within a broad range of high tech industries, including the software, electronics, telecommunications and bio-tech industries.

NZ High Tech Sector

  • An estimated $2 billion in exports
  • Directly employs around 40,000 staff.

Christchurch Earthquake

  • The information technology industries have responded quickly and effectively to help with the initial disruption in Christchurch.
  • The telecommunications industry has come through very well indeed.
  • Damage to land lines was always going to be a huge problem but the mobile systems stood up well despite the disruptions to the power supplies. I want to take this opportunity to thank the companies involved for that.
  • Local and international IT companies have stepped up in response to the disaster. There have been generous donations of notebook and laptop computers and communications and other equipment.
  • An opportunity for Christchurch to modernise its infrastructure and embrace the concept of being a smart city.


  • I have emphasised many times that my overriding priorities for this year are the national ultra-fast broadband network and the Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI).
  • I am delighted that the government’s target for 75% of New Zealanders to have access to UFB fibre by 2019 is proceeding as planned.
  • On 20 April, after two months of negotiations, the government announced the successful completion of contract negotiations with Telecom and Vodafone for the RBI.
  • UFB negotiations progressing well – hope to make announcements before too long.
  • Anecdote from Chairman Choi about UFB in Korea.

Helping firms to access offshore markets

  • The government is committed to ensuring that New Zealand firms are able to compete on the world stage.
  • Free trade agreement with China and, along with Australia, with the ASEAN regional block of 10 countries.
  • A Closer Economic Partnership Agreement with Hong Kong came into force on 1 January of this year.
  • Currently in negotiations over extending the current Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership (which is currently with Chile, Brunei and Singapore) to include the United States, Australia, Peru, Vietnam and Malaysia.
  • Agreements open up doors to new markets that have been difficult to enter and create new, exciting opportunities for our high-tech firms.

2010 China ICT Mission

  • Lead a mission of ICT companies to Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen last October.
  • The purpose of the mission was to support New Zealand companies to develop working relationships with key Chinese government agencies and big Chinese companies operating in the ICT sector there.
  • Our meetings included the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, China Mobile, China Unicom, China Telecom and Huawei.
  • The mission allowed New Zealand firms to explore the potential of China, and promoted heightened awareness of New Zealand products and capability.
  • Mission participants included Hi-Tech award finalists Orion Health, Datacom and Pingar, and Brett O’Riley from NZICT.
  • Since the mission, participants have set up legal entities in China, recruited staff there, made decisions to relocate key staff to the market, and progressed leads that they gained as a result of the mission.
  • I would expect to see more of these tangible outcomes in the months to come, and NZTE is continuing to work with mission companies to help them build a sustained presence in China.

Government’s actions on innovation

  • Given the high tech sector’s focus on innovation, I’d like to talk about the government’s work on innovation.

  • As we all know, innovation is not about bright ideas that go nowhere. It’s about business intelligence that turns into profits. Many New Zealand firms are innovative, but we need more of our firms to become even smarter, and through that, more productive.

  • major new investments to stimulate business innovation, including $190 million over four years for business research and development.

  • allocated $96 million through the Technology Development Grants, and applications for the next tranche of $48 million opened in April. We have also reformed our Crown Research Institutes to ensure they better connect to business.

  • The Government recently announced a review to see how research and development can provide better support to New Zealand’s high-value manufacturing and services sector. The review will help inform the development of any further policy initiatives relating to business R&D, commercialisation, technology and knowledge transfer. It will also cover the role that research organisations play in these areas.

  • We want to do everything we can to encourage researchers to connect with businesses, helping them to develop products, processes and technologies that will succeed on the global market.

Humorous asides

  • My favorite part about the speech my office prepared is the bit at the end entitled “humorous asides”. It’s kind of funny in a laughing at you, not laughing with you kind of way.

  • Boston Post editorial from 1865 said "well informed people know it is impossible to transmit the voice over wires and that were it possible to do so, the thing would be of no practical value". Cue comment about technology moving quickly and beyond our wildest dreams.

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