Labour must explain how it will ensure that people are enrolled in tertiary study for genuine reasons next year and not to exploit the increase in student allowances, National Party Tertiary Education Spokesperson Paul Goldsmith says.
“The $50 a week increase in allowances will no doubt be welcomed by students, but it’s likely also to be welcomed by those who realise they’ll pocket more money each week if they enrol in tertiary study than if they stayed on their benefit,” Mr Goldsmith says.
“Student allowances have previously been pegged to the jobseeker benefit so there wouldn’t be any perverse incentives for people to enrol in tertiary study even if they had no intention of studying.
“But now that’s all changed, and the zero-fees policy will make it worse.
“For example, the student allowance entitlement for single people 24 years and over without children is $212.45 per week; which matches the jobseeker support entitlement for single people 25 years and over without children.
“By increasing student allowances by $50 a week, a person in this scenario will soon receive $262.45 – 23.5 per cent more than if they remained on the jobseeker benefit.
“While all Kiwis would like to see unemployed New Zealanders engaging in genuine study, decoupling student allowances from benefit levels opens the system to abuse.
“With all tertiary courses free from next year, what’s to stop any sensible beneficiary taking advantage and enrolling in study in order to pocket an extra $50 a week?
“It’s like having a new super jobseeker benefit with no strings attached.
“Labour needs to explain to New Zealanders how they will ensure public money will not be squandered on courses for people who have no intention of completing their course. While they’re at it, they should front up with the full details of their tertiary policy.”
National Party Tertiary Education Spokesperson Paul Goldsmith is welcoming the Government’s apparent U-turn on their policy to gut the international education industry by massively reducing the number of foreign students coming into New Zealand.
“During the election campaign, Labour’s policy was clear – in order to reduce immigration they would reduce the number of international students by between 15,000 and 22,000 a year which represents about a quarter of incoming students,” Mr Goldsmith says.
“But Education Minister Chris Hipkins has been giving private assurances to the sector that they shouldn’t worry, he has no intention of carrying out that commitment anytime soon.
“And he is also reported today saying he is ‘not rushing to make changes’.
“The international education industry is worth $4.5 billion a year to the New Zealand economy. Labour’s proposed changes would have had a massive impact on the industry.
“This change of heart is welcome news but the Minister needs to state this publicly instead of hinting at it to worried industry players.
“He then needs to explain why his party cynically stoked anti-immigrant sentiment during the campaign with promises it never intended to keep.”
Labour is leaving students and the tertiary education sector in turmoil because of its inability to outline the true impacts of its “free” tertiary education policy, Tertiary Education Spokesperson Paul Goldsmith says.
“The policy is just weeks away from taking effect and so far, all Labour has been able to confirm is that labourers and checkout counter operators will now be paying more for lawyers and accountants to go to university – including, it turns out, those from Australia,” Mr Goldsmith says.
“Have we got so much money in this country that the top priority for education spending is to make it free for Australians to study in New Zealand?
“Students, providers, and the wider sector need to know how this policy will actually work. The lack of detail is creating a mess for students, Studylink, and tertiary institutions as the next academic year rapidly approaches.
“Mr Hipkins has also said the policy could increase student numbers by 15 per cent – meaning around 46,000 extra students a year - yet the tertiary institutions have no time to prepare to cater to them.
“This policy will lead to overcrowded labs, classrooms and lecture theatres and a big squeeze on student accommodation – especially now Australians have learned they can also study for free.
“Other questions that need to be answered include what controls will be in place on high-cost courses? Because, as we know, the study won’t be “free” – it will be paid for by the taxpayer. Will the courses be free even if a student fails to finish the course?
“Over the last nine years, the tertiary education sector in New Zealand has gone from strength to strength, creating thousands of jobs and providing world-class education to New Zealanders and international students.
“It is starting to look like rushed, rash policy changes are Hipkins’ modus operandi. He needs to start working with the sector and postpone the introduction of this policy by a year so that they can make sense of it and prepare before it is brought in.
“Labour’s tertiary policy is expensive and unfair, and its implementation is already looking like a real mess.”
“The report highlights the increasingly important contribution that innovative hi-tech companies make to New Zealand, with the collective export revenues of the 200 largest tech companies now earning more than $7.3 billion in export revenues,” Mr Bridges says.
“The Government has backed the ICT sector to succeed and we are now seeing the results in the fantastic growth of the sector.”
The record-breaking figure has been revealed in the annual Technology Investment Network’s TIN100 Report, released today.
The TIN Report is an analysis of the performance of the top 200 New Zealand-founded hi-tech exporters by revenue in the areas of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Hi-Tech Manufacturing and Biotechnology.
Top performers include Datacom Group, Fisher & Paykel Appliances and Healthcare, Xero, and Gallagher Group. Highlights in this year’s report include:The TIN200 tech companies produce the equivalent of 10% of all New Zealand exports; They have created 4,352 new jobs globally to employ over 43,000 staff in total; TIN200 growth has been concentrated outside of Auckland - Hamilton, Wellington and the South Island regions are leading TIN200 growth; Fintech, digital media and agritech are the fastest growing market sectors.
“It is particularly pleasing to see in this year’s report a 7.9 per cent increase in research and development investment, to $882m in total. Additional investment in R&D is a real investment in the future of any company, and helps boost the overall R&D investment levels of New Zealand companies,” Mr Goldsmith says.
“In addition, five Callaghan Innovation customer companies are included in the top 200 list, and generated nearly $94 million of revenue this year. All of those companies are investing in their own future, enabled by the support of Callaghan Innovation.”
“New Zealand’s technology companies are building a strong business-led R&D ecosystem, that is strengthening and diversifying New Zealand’s economy,” Mr Goldsmith says.
This year’s report also profiles several Māori-owned or Māori investment-backed technology companies that are making a significant contribution to New Zealand’s technology sector.
“Estimated to be worth $50 billion, the Māori economy is a significant and important contributor to New Zealand’s economy, and is playing an ever-increasing role in our economy,” Mr Bridges says.
“Our tech companies are leading the way and showing how far New Zealand can go when we invest in world-leading innovation.”
Victoria University of Wellington and the University of Auckland will be the first to take advantage of the Government’s $35 million investment in ‘Entrepreneurial Universities’, part of the Innovative New Zealand initiative in Budget 2016, Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Paul Goldsmith announced today.
“The Entrepreneurial Universities fund aims to attract world-leading entrepreneurial academics to New Zealand, setting up their laboratories and teams in our universities,” Mr Goldsmith says.
Approximately $4 million will be awarded annually over 4 years in the first funding round to one Victoria University of Wellington programme and two University of Auckland programmes.
“Victoria University of Wellington will establish a new institute in 2018 - the Computational Media Innovation Centre (CMIC) led by Professor Ken Anjyo - with the aim of building a globally competitive research and entrepreneurship programme in Wellington,” Mr Goldsmith says.
The CMIC will incubate potential start-ups and industry pipelines to strengthen New Zealand’s computing and media ecosystem, placing it at the forefront of an emerging global digital media market that includes Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR/AR).
“The University of Auckland also has a programme ready to start in early 2018, which will be led by one of the world’s emerging leaders in creating enabling human-computer interfaces, Dr Suranga Nanayakkara,” Mr Goldsmith says.
Dr Nanayakkara will join the University of Auckland’s Auckland Bioengineering Institute to continue his innovative research in human-computer interaction.
“Dr Nanayakkara’s work includes the development of wearable and sensory devices that can enable the vision- or hearing-impaired to perceive and make sense of their environment. His work in developing and commercialising assistive and rehabilitative technologies will further strengthen and grow New Zealand’s innovation ecosystem,” Mr Goldsmith says.
The University of Auckland is finalising details of its second programme and this is expected to be completed shortly.
“New Zealand is already an attractive place to undertake research and our universities all have an international reputation for excellence, but it’s an extremely competitive environment and this fund allows our universities to compete on a global scale,” Mr Goldsmith says
“The benefits of the knowledge and networks world-leading academics will bring here are substantial, from undergraduates learning from the best, to New Zealand firms gaining partnership opportunities with leaders in their fields.”
Two other applications for funding from the first round are still under development, while a second funding round will be launched in November.
Over the next three years, the initiative is expected to bring 15-20 world-leading researchers and their teams to New Zealand. The Entrepreneurial Universities initiative is part of the Government’s initial Innovative New Zealand package in Budget 2016, worth a total of $761.4 million.
Callaghan Innovation has approved the 2017/18 round of Student Experience Grants, with 139 businesses to offer 358 students paid work over the summer break, Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith announced today.
“This year saw a record number of businesses applying, with 179 businesses applying for 418 internships. This is a great sign that the scheme is valued by businesses and popular with students,” Mr Goldsmith says.
“Since Callaghan Innovation was created in 2013, 274 different companies have been approved for an Experience Grant. As a result, over 800 students have undertaken an R&D Experience placement.”
The R&D Experience Grant is administered by Callaghan Innovation and supports undergraduate students studying science, technology, business, engineering or design to gain valuable work experience during the summer student break. The grant provides funding of $18 an hour for up to 400 hours of work.
The grants develop the technical skills of students in a professional, commercial R&D environment, while also providing businesses with expertise to further their work, which is the central aim of the programme.
Successful companies for 2017/18 include Tiro Medical, where students will be involved in the design and prototyping of 3D imaging health software, and InventoryTech Limited, where students will develop improved sensors to detect real-time consumption of first-aid kit items.
“The grant programme develops students into more work-ready, technically skilled graduates who can be easily absorbed into the fast-paced R&D and technology focused industries that are critical to New Zealand’s long-term economic success,” Mr Goldsmith says.
“Companies benefit as they can take on more students as the cost and risk of bringing them into the business is reduced. And the students benefit from easier access to the technical experience they need for future employment opportunities, while at the same time giving them a visible career path in R&D that they can continue to work towards.”
The programme is available to businesses of any size that have a focus on research and development. The second and final tranche of approved businesses will be announced later this month. More information is available HERE.
Funding has been awarded for 68 new science research projects that will benefit New Zealand environmentally, economically, and socially, Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith announced today.
The funding, totalling $248 million over the next five years, has been invested through the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s (MBIE) 2017 Endeavour Fund, which received an $81.9 million funding boost over four years in Budget 2017.
“The Endeavour Fund is an important tool in the Government’s ten-year vision for a highly dynamic New Zealand science system,” Mr Goldsmith says.
“The Fund looks for transformative initiatives that propose excellent research and have strong potential to improve a range of outcomes for New Zealand, such as marine ecosystems and hybrid energy.
“This year the quality of applications was exceptional, and a diverse range of applications were received which will address some really important issues facing New Zealand.”
As part of the 2017 Endeavour Fund round, up to $15 million per year in total will be invested in 41 projects under the ‘Smart Ideas’ initiative over the next three years. Smart Ideas are innovative research projects that have a high potential to benefit New Zealand.
Up to $43 million per year in total will be invested in 27 Research Programmes over the next five years. Research Programmes support ambitious, well-defined research ideas, which have high potential to positively transform areas of future value, growth or critical need to New Zealand.
Some examples of the successful 2017 Endeavour Fund proposals include:Developing hybrid-electric aircraft (Victoria University of Wellington); Recovering the trajectories of the marine ecosystem from the Kaikōura earthquakes (University of Canterbury); Improving NZ Pinot noir production (New Zealand Winegrowers); Exploring new technologies to improve weather forecasting (MetOcean Solutions Limited); Developing new charging technology for electric vehicles while parked or moving (University of Auckland).
“I want to congratulate all of the successful applicants and I look forward to seeing the new ideas and discoveries made possible by this investment,” Mr Goldsmith says.
The successful proposals were selected by the Science Board on 30 August, an independent statutory Board, following a review by independent experts. The new research contracts will begin on 1 October 2017.
More information on the successful proposals can be found HERE.
A number of new appointments have been made to three of the Government’s seven Crown Research Institutes, providing new talent and experience for the institutes, Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith announced today.
“Crown Research Institutes generate real benefits for New Zealand by facilitating excellent research that spawns new ideas and innovations for both the public sector and private industries, promotes evidence that contributes to high-quality decision making, and seeks out answers to many of our national challenges,” Mr Goldsmith says.
The five appointments are to the Boards of The Institute of Environmental Science Research (ESR), The Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences (GNS Science), and the New Zealand Forest Research Institute (Scion).
“These reappointments are a testimony to the strong leadership, commitment, and contribution these members have made to New Zealand’s science system. I welcome the valuable knowledge and experience these appointees will bring to their respective boards,” Mr Goldsmith says.
Professor Cris Print from Auckland University and Dr Andy Shenk, Chief Executive of Auckland Uniservices, the commercial arm of Auckland University have been appointed to the ESR Board. Professor Print is a specialist in human genomics and bioinformatics and Dr Shenk has extensive experience in the commercialisation of science and research.
Northland based professional director Paul White has been appointed to the GNS Board. Mr White currently sits on the Top Energy Board and a number of iwi based trusts.
General Manager of Arbogen Australasia, Greg Mann has been appointed to the Scion Board alongside previous Plant & Food Board Member Stana Pezic, who has extensive Chief Financial Officer experience.
All of the appointments are a for a term of one year.
Two new appointments have been made to the Board of Callaghan Innovation that will provide a new set of skills and business experience, Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith announced today.
“The appointment of Mr Stefan Korn and Mr George Gong brings a strong combination of strategic thinking skills and perspective from an investor community,” Mr Goldsmith says.
Stefan Korn is an experienced entrepreneur, business strategist and investor with over 10 years of experience in managing high growth ventures, early stage investment and software development. He was a member of the Callaghan Innovation Stakeholder Advisory Group, is a founding investor in Lightning Lab, and has a PhD in Neural Networks/Artificial Intelligence and an MBA in International Business.
George Gong is an entrepreneur and Angel Investor with rich international business experiences in the Information Technology industry for over twenty years. In 2016 he started Zino Ventures, the first Chinese angel fund in New Zealand.
“Mr Korn has extensive business connections and a strong understanding of Callaghan Innovation’s role in the innovation system. He currently runs CreativeHQ, a leading business incubator that works with over 190 start-up ventures so brings excellent understanding of innovation,” Mr Goldsmith says.
“Mr Gong maintains deep roots in China, where he began his career, and notably co-founded Beyondsoft. With his extensive experience with start-ups, investment, business mentoring, he will be an asset to Callaghan.”
Both of the appointments are for a term of one year.
Work has begun on the improvements to New Zealand’s geological hazards monitoring as announced in Budget 2017, Civil Defence Minister Nathan Guy and Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith have announced today.
The start of work was marked on a visit to a geotechnical drilling site at St Gerard’s Monastery in Wellington this morning.
“The investment of $19.5 million over four years will enhance New Zealand’s earthquake, tsunami, landslip and volcano monitoring capability,” Mr Goldsmith says.
“Cabinet has approved plans to implement an upgraded 24/7 monitoring system that will significantly improve our ability to detect and communicate geological hazards – particularly tsunami – quickly and accurately.
“As part of a package of measures, GeoNet will increase the number of specialists monitoring information as it comes in and will coordinate with Civil Defence as necessary. There will also be improvements to GeoNet’s network of monitoring instruments, operations centre, hazard modelling, and monitoring tools.
“These enhancements build on the existing GeoNet infrastructure, developed between the Earthquake Commission and GNS Science over the past 16 years, which has become a trusted source of advice for Civil Defence and New Zealanders through the app and website,” Mr Goldsmith says.
“These changes will mean New Zealanders are better equipped with both long-term and real-time information about natural hazards,” says Mr Guy.
“We can better protect lives and property, increase preparedness and build our infrastructure, businesses and communities in ways that are more resilient to disruption.
“It’s an important shift away from simply managing the after effects of disasters. There is so much we can do when we are equipped with both long-term and real-time information about natural hazards.
“However, people who live in coastal areas and experience an earthquake that is long or strong, should move immediately to higher ground or as far inland as possible. There may not be time to warn people before the first tsunami waves arrive, in the case of local-source tsunami, even with these improvements.”
“Following the Kaikoura earthquake, the Government made $3 million available in December 2016 for GeoNet to make interim improvements to capability, equipment, procedures and systems, and lay the groundwork for longer term upgrades. This work is well underway and I expect to see a full shift to the new system by the end of next year,” Mr Goldsmith says.
More information can be found HERE.