Unleashing New Horizons

National's plan to unleash Space and Advanced Aviation in New Zealand

In 2019, New Zealand’s commercial aerospace industry employed 12,000 people and contributed $1.7 billion to the economy. Globally, aerospace is worth US$450 billion and forecast to reach US$1 trillion by 2030.

New Zealand is one of only 11 countries with active launch-to-orbit capability, with Rocket Lab launching more than 30 times from the Mahia Peninsula.

This country has the opportunity to play a significant role in a booming, global, high-tech industry. However, excessive bureaucracy and increasing competition from other countries, including Australia threatens the viability of the sector. New Zealand faces the real risk of losing its hard-won competitive advantage in aerospace.

National is ambitious for New Zealand aerospace, including space and advanced aviation, in this decade and beyond. These high-skill, high-productivity industries are already delivering benefits through investment, employment, research, international connections, and prestige.

Aerospace has the potential to unlock benefits for educational achievement by driving greater interest in science and technology among school students, helping to reverse the slide in education outcomes.

New Zealand has the opportunity to leverage aerospace to help grow the economy. New Zealand’s geography offers advantages few other countries possess. Relatively clear skies and the huge Pacific Ocean to our east and south are ideal for launching to space, and advanced aviation.

However, New Zealand must compete for talent and technology investment. Aerospace will only grow in this country if New Zealand can attract talent and capital. Quality regulation and domestic capability are crucial. National’s goal is for aerospace to contribute $10 billion to the New Zealand economy by 2030 – six-times more than currently.

To achieve this ambitious goal, National will:

  1. Establish a Minister for Space to promote the aerospace industry and deliver a high-performing regulatory regime.
  2. Establish the Prime Minister's Space Prize to inspire young people to pursue aerospace careers.
  3. Focus on STEM education and rewrite the school curriculum to include specific requirements for teaching science.
  4. Welcome high-performing talent from around the world to contribute to the aerospace sector with fast-track visas and specialist skills visas with a pathway to residency
  5. Establish two dedicated testing zones for space and advanced aviation
  6. Improve government data procurement and sharing to optimise the use of satellite data across government agencies and reduce duplication.

Read more about our plan here.