Communications Minister Simon Bridges and Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith have welcomed the launch of an Artificial Intelligence (AI) Forum to help understand the opportunities and challenges relating to AI in New Zealand.
Supported by NZTech, the Forum brings together users of technology, tech firms, academia and government to help connect, promote and advance the AI ecosystem and drive positive social and economic outcomes for New Zealand.
Mr Bridges says the Forum is a good example of government and industry working together to share knowledge and build capability around AI.
“AI presents exciting opportunities for New Zealand and the world. I appreciate that some people may have some concerns about AI, which is why it’s critical that we collaborate with industry and across the sector to address the opportunities and challenges that AI brings.
“The Government has a key role to play in ensuring that New Zealand can take advantage of what AI has to offer, including giving Kiwi businesses the confidence to engage with AI technologies, while balancing the risks. The Forum will be critical for helping us better understand AI and for informing the development of government policy,” Mr Bridges says.
“The future of AI carries limitless possibilities and many unknowns. It has the potential to significantly change how we live our lives, run our businesses, and how the economy works. However, New Zealand’s small size allows us to be nimble and begin to harness the opportunity now,” Mr Goldsmith says.
“The Government is supporting the forum to undertake research on AI in New Zealand, which will form the base of future work. This collaboration between government and the private sector will drive our understanding of AI and the opportunities for New Zealand,” says Mr Goldsmith.
“We want to encourage innovation in New Zealand. That’s why as part of Budget 2017 we’ve allocated $372.8 million to the second round of our Innovative New Zealand programme which invests in the skills and innovation that will keep our economy growing in the years ahead,” Mr Bridges says.
The AI Forum is one of several initiatives included in the Government’s Building a Digital Nation action plan that was released at the end of March, which sets out how the Government is partnering with New Zealand’s digital sector, other sectors of the economy and the wider digital community, to enable New Zealand to become a leading digital nation.
The Engineering e2e programme achieving its goal of 500+ engineering graduates per year by 2017 a year early will be welcome news for industry, says Minister of Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Paul Goldsmith.
“It’s very pleasing to see all the hard work by Engineering e2e, Futureintech, tertiary institutions, engineering professional organisations and others has really paid off,” Mr Goldsmith says.
The Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) has confirmed 511 graduates from priority engineering courses in 2016, a full year ahead of schedule, for a total of 2,151 graduates in 2016. Set up by the Government in 2014, the Engineering – Education to Employment (e2e) initiative promotes engineering as a career to students.
“Engineering e2e’s successful public awareness campaign has already lifted the profile of engineering from 10th to 3rd place in potential student’s career considerations.
“More than 500 additional graduates each year is a step in the right direction though we still have quite a bit of work to do to address the balance of graduates across Diploma of Engineering (Level 6), Bachelor of Engineering Technology (Level 7) and Bachelor of Engineering (Hons) (Level 8) qualifications.
“Our big challenge, supported by employer feedback, is growing enrolments at institutes of technology, which specialise in level 6 and 7 qualifications,” Mr Goldsmith says.
“So I am pleased to see Engineering e2e is working closely with the ITP sector, and with engineering professional bodies to really focus on employer engagement to grow the pipeline of work-ready engineers.”
Engineering e2e has recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA) and IPWEA is collaborating with e2e on its sponsored degrees pilot programme which is being funded by the TEC.
Sponsored degrees would enable both on-the-job training and the completion of a Level 7 qualification in engineering, like the Bachelor of Engineering (Technology), and are particularly relevant for rapidly changing, high-tech industries.
“Engineers help build the infrastructure that makes up our modern world. New Zealand needs more engineers to meet the growing demand for construction and infrastructure, and this Government is focussed on meeting those challenges into the future,” says Mr Goldsmith.
New Zealand’s international education industry grew six per cent to 131,609 student enrolments in 2016, Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Paul Goldsmith announced today.
The International Education Dashboard for 2016 shows an overall increase of 7,245 international student enrolments from a broader range of countries, and that a majority of regions in New Zealand experienced growth.
“As a small nation that relies on trade, international education offers significant value to New Zealand’s society and economy. It provides jobs and incomes for thousands of New Zealand households,” Mr Goldsmith says.
The economic value of the sector in 2016 is now estimated to be $4.5 billion, an increase of $200 million on 2015 student numbers. This is made up of $4.2 billion onshore education delivery and $242 million in offshore education delivery in such areas as publishing, consultancy services and digital products.
The new figure consolidates international education’s place as New Zealand’s fourth largest export sector, supporting more than 33,000 jobs across New Zealand.
“As Minister I’m committed to supporting sustainable growth in the sector, and ensuring that international students have a high quality experience while studying in New Zealand, and return home promoting New Zealand,” Mr Goldsmith says.
Auckland continues to be the main destination for international students with 63 per cent of enrolments. Regional market share also remained stable.
Other highlights included:27,640 international students studied at New Zealand universities in 2016 – up 6 per cent, with an increase in post-graduate enrolments at all levels. There were 2,912 primary student enrolments, up 16 per cent (393 students). The Indian market saw a 3 per cent decline (down 996 students to 28,154 total) in student enrolments as it undergoes a rebalancing from volume to value.
A full snapshot report for 2016 which will be published later this year.
The International Education Dashboard for 2016 can be found here.
The latest Student Visa Dashboard can be found here.
Social Development Minister Anne Tolley and Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Paul Goldsmith today welcomed the official launch of the Auckland Airport Jobs and Skills Hub - Ara.
“Ara is an industry-led skills and employment initiative that connects employers based at the Airport with local jobseekers in South Auckland,” says Mrs Tolley.
“This skills hub is part of the Government’s approach to partner with businesses to deliver wider economic and social benefits.
“So far nearly half the jobs created through Ara have gone to beneficiaries. It’s great to see the skills hub model improving outcomes for jobseekers and giving them transferable skills which will help them lead successful independent lives.
“A crucial element of Ara is a skills exchange hub which provides on-site numeracy, literacy and practical skills training such as driver licensing.”
“A key focus of the Government’s comprehensive Business Growth Agenda is to improve the skills of all New Zealanders so we have a workforce fit for the 21st century. We are focused on collaborating with industry to grow the skilled workforce in industries critical to New Zealand,” says Mr Goldsmith.
“Since its inception 18 months ago, Ara has connected more than 190 people into jobs at the Airport, and facilitated training and upskilling for over 1,500 people.”
Ara is an initiative within the Sector Workforce Engagement Programme, an initiative led by MBIE and MSD. The Programme works with industry to trial new approaches aimed at improving employers’ access to reliable, appropriately skilled staff at the right time and place, giving priority to domestic jobseekers.
“Ara’s success as a job and skills hub has already been replicated at two newer hubs based at Wynyard in Auckland CBD and the Tamaki regeneration programme. Together they have already placed 40 people into employment and referred 36 people for further skills training,” says Mr Goldsmith.
“While Auckland Airport will take ownership of the Ara hub, government agencies will continue to work with Ara to ensure its ongoing success.”
Today’s announcement that more American students will have the opportunity to experience New Zealand’s world-class education system, has been welcomed by Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Paul Goldsmith.
Education New Zealand has committed to providing US $50,000 over the next two years, to support Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Programme recipients to study and/or intern for academic credit in New Zealand. This funding will be matched by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs in the U.S. Department of State (ECA).
“The Gilman is a prestigious, competitive, and selective scholarship, aimed at students who might otherwise not have the opportunity to study abroad. It is promoted across the US, and more than 10,000 students apply for the 2,800 scholarships each year,” says Mr Goldsmith.
“This announcement will provide more U.S. students with the opportunity to experience New Zealand’s high quality education system, when they wouldn’t otherwise be able to.”
The announcement was made today by Sir Richard Taylor, speaking at the largest international education conference in the world, the NAFSA Annual Conference and Expo, an important event for education institutions, agents and governments from over 110 countries.
“This arrangement will support our shared goal of growing the educational relationship between our two countries, and will also be invaluable in raising the profile of New Zealand as a world-class international education destination,” says Mr Goldsmith.
New Zealand is currently the 22nd most popular destination for US students, who made up just 2 per cent of international students coming to New Zealand in 2016. Since its inception in 2001 more than 78,000 US students have applied for one of 22,000 Gilman Scholarships to study abroad.
More information can be found here.
Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Paul Goldsmith has today announced two appointments to the Board of the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC).
Nigel Gould will become Board Chair from 1 August 2017. Mr Gould has been on the TEC Board since 2013 and is Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee. He is also Chair of the Civil Aviation Authority of NZ, the Young Enterprise Trust and Destination Marlborough.
Dr Alastair MacCormick has been appointed as a board member. Dr MacCormick has wide experience of the tertiary sector through both his executive and governance roles, including as Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Auckland.
“I am delighted with these appointments. Mr Gould is well placed to lead TEC as it continues to support a robust tertiary sector and takes on its new careers functions, while Dr MacCormick has a wide experience of the tertiary sector and will bring a new perspective to the TEC Board,” Mr Goldsmith says.
“I would particularly like to thank the outgoing Chair, John Spencer and board member, Dale Karauria, for their service and convey my appreciation for the time and energy they have given. They have each made a valuable contribution to the TEC Board.”
The TEC is responsible for funding tertiary education in New Zealand, assisting people to reach their full potential and contributing to the social and economic well-being of the country. From 1 July 2017, it will also take on careers services following the disestablishment of Careers New Zealand.
Nigel Gould, Wellington
Nigel Gould is a chartered accountant, with a career in management positions, including as managing director of a publicly listed company, and establishment of businesses in a broad range of sectors. He is also Chair of the Civil Aviation Authority of NZ, the Young Enterprise Trust and Destination Marlborough. Mr Gould served on the Massey University Council for 10 years, including six years as Chancellor. In 1980, he was elected to the Wellington Harbour Board and became Chair. He continued this involvement with port governance as Chair of Centreport until 2008. He is a past President of the Wellington Regional and New Zealand Chambers of Commerce. Nigel Gould has been a member of the Board since 2013.
Alastair MacCormick, Auckland
Alastair MacCormick was Dean of the University of Auckland Business School for fourteen years, subsequently becoming Deputy Vice-Chancellor. Since leaving the University, Dr MacCormick has been a professional director for a diverse range of public and private companies, including new venture companies with a technology focus. He is also Chair of many educational and charitable institutions and trusts, and is a former Chair of the New Zealand Education and Scholarship Trust and the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust.
Regulatory Reform Minister Paul Goldsmith has welcomed the Statutes Repeal Bill passing its third reading in Parliament tonight.
The Statutes Repeal Bill will repeal or partially repeal 137 pieces of legislation, and will reduce the total number of laws on the Statute Books by 128.
“With this Bill we are reducing the number of public Acts on the New Zealand law books by more than 10 per cent,” says Mr Goldsmith.
“Removing redundant law is just one small part of this Government’s wider work programme to improve the quality of the law that governs New Zealanders’ lives. The Government signalled this work in its response to the Productivity Commission report on Regulatory Institutions and Practices.
“I would like to thank members of the public who made submissions on the Exposure Draft of the Bill or on the Bill when it was before the Select Committee. This input was invaluable in identifying additional Acts for repeal and in ensuring that no repeals in the Bill had unintended consequences.
“More Acts of Parliament are likely to be redundant and others will outlive their original purpose and become redundant over time. These will be included in future Statutes Repeal Bills,” says Mr Goldsmith.
It is the Government’s intention to include a repeal of blasphemy in a Crimes Amendment Bill later this year, giving the public and political parties the opportunity to have their say, and for the relevant agencies to properly assess the impacts of the repeal.
The Statutes Repeal Bill can be found at HERE.
A new partnership agreement providing the University of Auckland access to a share of more than $215 million in funding will support further commercialisation of innovative Kiwi research, says Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith.
The University of Auckland and the IP Group, alongside eight Australian universities, signed the commercialisation agreement today in Canberra. The partnership will provide the universities with access to over NZ$215 million of venture funding and in return, the IP Group will have right of first refusal for all arising commercialisation opportunities.
“This partnership will give New Zealand scientists and researchers access to vital capital that will help develop young, technology-intensive ventures arising from university-led research to take their products and ideas to the world,” says Mr Goldsmith.
“The capital available through this partnership is a significant boost for the early-stage investment ecosystem in New Zealand, and the University of Auckland will be able to leverage IP Group’s global network to access resources, knowledge, and technology - which is just as valuable for young start-up companies.
“I look forward to seeing the exciting work this collaboration delivers. This type of partnership should be seen as a shining example for other Kiwi research organisations that are looking to finance their commercialisation opportunities.”
“The Government has consistently invested in high-quality, high-impact research, and that has continued in Budget 2017 with investments in both the Endeavour Fund, and the Performance-Based Research Fund.
“This collaboration will drive further research commercialisation, allowing the investments made by the Government to deliver additional benefits for Kiwi businesses and the New Zealand economy,” says Mr Goldsmith.
More information can be found HERE.
Budget 2017 will invest an additional $81.9 million of new operating funding over four years to support high-impact, mission-led programmes of science through the Endeavour Fund, Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith says.
“The Endeavour Fund supports excellent, higher-risk research with the potential for long-term, transformative impact in areas of future value, growth or critical need for New Zealand,” Mr Goldsmith says.
This brings the Government’s total investment through the Endeavour Fund, New Zealand’s largest contestable science fund, to $829.2 million over the next four years.
“This additional funding will allow more quality proposals that have a high potential impact on our economy, environment and society to go ahead. Investing in the work of our scientists is also vital for developing a truly resilient and diversified economy,” Mr Goldsmith says.
The Endeavour Fund complements the Government’s other investments in mission-led science. Increased funding demonstrates the Government’s commitment to creating a highly dynamic science and innovation system that enriches New Zealand and lifts our productivity and living standards.
“Budget 2017 demonstrates the Government’s ongoing commitment to delivering on the vision set out in the National Statement of Science Investment, to create a highly dynamic science system that enriches New Zealand, making a more visible, measurable contribution to our productivity through excellent science,” Mr Goldsmith says.
Budget 2017 adds $255.6 million over four years of funding for science and innovation, growing total Government investment in science and innovation by 26 per cent from $1.32 billion in 2015 to $1.66 billion by 2021. This builds on the $410.5 million investment through Budget 2016.
Budget 2017 invests $132.1 million of new operating funding to develop the skills and knowledge needed for a stronger and more internationally connected New Zealand economy, Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Paul Goldsmith says.
“To help Kiwis succeed we need a world-class tertiary education system that delivers modern skills, rewards research excellence, and helps drive innovation,” Mr Goldsmith says.
The investments funded as part of Budget 2017, over four years, are:$52.5 million for the Performance-Based Research Fund to incentivise and reward high-quality research in tertiary education. $69.3 million for increased tuition subsidy rates at qualification level three and above, helping providers to deliver skills and knowledge for a stronger economy. $6.8 million of funding to support sustainable growth in the international education sector to strengthen the net benefit to New Zealand and its value to our regions. $3.5 million of reprioritised funding to meet increased demand for workplace-based literacy and numeracy programmes in 2018.
“The tertiary education system drives innovation through research, knowledge transfer fostering entrepreneurship, and also makes a large contribution to our economy through international education – our fourth largest export industry at $4.28 billion in export earnings in 2016,” Mr Goldsmith says.
“We have seen more than 200,000 jobs created in the past three years, and meeting the skill needs of both companies and learners is essential. The workforce of the future will need to be more flexible and adaptable to the changing world around us, and the Government is up to meeting that challenge.”