From the Knowledge Wave to the Digital Age

The Government has today announced a sector-led approach to grow industry innovation and boost productivity, with an early focus on agritech. 

“The flipside of the impact of the technological revolution on the future of work is the huge potential it opens up for businesses and the development of high-skilled, higher paying jobs,” Acting Economic Development Minister David Parker said. 

The new direction is outlined in the document, From the Knowledge Wave to the Digital Age: Growing Innovative Industries in New Zealand, which also charts the challenges and opportunities the New Zealand economy is responding to.  

“Growing innovative industries is a key focus of the Government’s broader economic strategy.” 

David Parker said new Industry Transformation Plans – an idea borrowed from Singapore - will maximise the opportunities offered by the fourth industrial revolution and help move towards a productive, sustainable and inclusive economy. 

“The agritech sector has been chosen as a key focus because it brings together two of New Zealand’s key competitive advantages – our expertise in agriculture and horticulture with our well-educated workforce,” David Parker said. 

“It’s not rocket science, but we are good at that too! Left field surprises like RocketLab will always be part of the New Zealand success story.” 

He said the Government was not starting from scratch. He acknowledged the efforts of past governments from the 2001 Knowledge Wave conference and the Growth and Innovation Framework to reforms in the telecom sector and the roll out of ultrafast broadband. They all helped build the platform for success in the digital age. 

“New Zealand has a strong economic foundation with low unemployment, government surpluses and low inflation but our productivity is lagging,” David Parker said.  

“Sustainably boosting productivity – creating more from our resources while staying within environmental limits – is key to raise the living standards of all New Zealanders.” 

David Parker said New Zealand needs to move from volume to value in sectors like agriculture. 

“Agritech is an excellent example of where New Zealand can make big strides. Strategy work is already well underway,” he said. 

“This is a call to action.” 

David Parker urged the agritech sector, innovators and workers to bring their ideas to help develop, in partnership with government, the draft agritech Industry Transformation Plan. 

“We expect this and Plans for the other focus sectors – forestry, food and beverage and digital technology - to be implemented from 2020.” 

The document is available at: https://www.mbie.govt.nz/business-and-employment/economic-development/industry-policy