IT chiefs to the fore on council

IT chiefs are playing a major role in the new Science and Innovation Advisory Council.

IT chiefs are playing a major role in the new Science and Innovation Advisory Council.

The new body, announced by Prime Minister Helen Clark, aims to serve as an intermediary between the sci-tech community and the government.

Its chairman is Rick Christie, chief executive of the investment company Rangatira and deputy chair of the Foundation of Research , Science and Technology.

The eight other members, out of 300 applicants, are as follows:

  • John Blackham, managing director of XSol, who helped develop the New Zealand software industry and introduced the Innovation market in 1998 to stimulate the development of venture capital for high-tech start-ups.
  • Sir Angus Tait, managing director and chairman of Christchurch-based Tait Electronics, and a member of the Communications Advisory Council.
  • Kate Frykberg, managing director of The Web, winner of several businesswomen's awards, who has 17 years in IT and the Internet industry.
  • Donna Hiser, chief executive of Innovus and vice-president of the Information technology Association of New Zealand.
  • Stephen Tindall, managing director of The Warehouse, who is also fostering hi-tech development through the Tindall Foundation and through private investments.
  • Dr Michael Matthews, chief executive of the Tatua Dairy Company, specialising in the technology side of the business.
  • Dr Michael Walker, senior lecturer at Auckland University's School of Biological Sciences, who has worked on links between Maori and science organisations.
  • Vicki Buck, former Mayor of Christchurch and development advisor for Christchurch Polytechnic.
Prime Minister Clark says bringing together these people will help the government develop policies to make New Zealand a knowledge economy.

It will also promote, increase the status of science, research and technology, build private sector support for it and help co-ordinate government polices.

"It will be valuable to receive regular advice from a group with such a wealth of experience at applying science and innovation to a range of areas, from trade, television, and high-tech industry, to infrastructure, sport and culture," she said.

Christie says council members have excellent networks around New Zealand, who will draw on those to offer positive but also realistic advice to government.

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