File : AD2/8/2
PORIRUA CITY COUNCIL
6 August 2001
FROM: ROGER BLAKELEY, CHIEF EXECUTIVE
SUBJECT: REPORT ON CATCHING THE KNOWLEDGE WAVE CONFERENCE, AUCKLAND, 1-3 AUGUST 2001
I have previously advised you that I was one of 450 people invited by Prime Minister, Helen Clark, and Auckland University Vice Chancellor, John Hood, to participate in the "Catching the Knowledge Wave" Conference in Auckland, 1-3 August 2001.
The purpose of the conference was to examine New Zealand’s future in a world where learning, innovation and knowledge will be key factors for determining the social and economic success of our nation.
The attendees were highest level representatives of government, opposition, business, universities, public servants, local government, Maori organisations and community organisations.
There was a very impressive array of international and New Zealand speakers. The Prime Minister spoke at the start and end of the conference. Perhaps the most powerful presentation of all, was that by a group of secondary school students at the end after having listened in to the conference.
Attached is an article prepared for the Evening Post.
Councillors may be interested in specific detail in relation to the following:
New Zealand Competitiveness, The Next Agenda, Professor Michael Porter, Harvard Business School:
Porter stressed the importance of cluster development to drive economic growth. He showed Wellington is one of the more active areas with clusters including film and TV, software, creative content, seismic engineering and natural hazards. He wasn’t quite up to date as, of course, we now have an optics cluster! Three diagrams from this paper are attached, showing the contribution of clusters in New Zealand, and a diagram "productivity and the micro-economic business environment", which includes "related and supporting industries (clusters)". He also used a diagram of the California wine cluster.(Note to CEs: not able to be sent by email because of size limitations-but these can be viewed on the Conference website: http://www.knowledgewave.org.nz)/
Report back from workshops:
The conference was divided into five workshops which spent three sessions developing ideas. Much of this was in "creative thinking" mode. There was not a lot of opportunity at the conference to debate or test the ideas beyond their originating groups. The conference did not have any mandate for action. These ideas can be regarded as "thinking in progress". Some of the ideas were as follows:
Innovation and creativity:
"proud to be Kiwi" campaign;
Provide extra resources for education in priority areas, e.g. information and communication technology;
Fund teacher training competitively with other courses;
Teach learning and thinking skills;
Ensure cross-fertilisation between industry and research providers to ensure R & D is relevant;
Encourage growth of New Zealand venture capital industry;
Make broad band Internet universally accessable and either cheap or even free.
People and capability:
Re-examine the opportunities available and incentives provided to the teaching profession in terms of base pay, performance pay, training, career path;
Reform school curriculum and structure, including focussing on core literacy and numeracy skills;
Establish and support a higher education/business council;
Form networks of Kiwis living overseas;
Liberalise immigration rules so as to attract immigrants with skills in industry, academia and the arts;
Create communities of learning around early childhood, primary and secondary providers;
Establish specialist centres of excellence in our leading research institutions.
Sustainable Economic Development Strategy:
Active foreign direct investment attraction;
Pursue free trade agreements;
Build a young entrepreneur system;
Create three to four regional entities that assume the functions of local and regional government and some national government – give regional entities GST and the power of general competence!;
Create seven central government agencies, properly resourced and focussed on the issues of tomorrow, e.g. Ministry of Growth;
Create one city for metropolitan Auckland;
Brand New Zealand as " the world’s richest lifestyle - a place to create real wealth while having a great life";
Create a new confidence and sense of optimism through strength in our national identity;
Create specialist industry clusters capable of international leadership through consultative and collaborative local processes.
Establish the world’s most business friendly regulatory regime;
State Owned Enterprises to invest 10% of assets in relevant venture capital industry funds;
Create a venture capital industry body;
Build a more effective Stock Exchange in New Zealand, and rapidly grow the capital market;
Create 100 new, high-growth business ventures per annum;
Establish an annual business creation competition with $100M in prizes;
Establish two to three New Zealand social venture capital funds within eighteen months, supporting social entrepreneurs in at least fifteen to twenty social enterprises;
Establish a global expatriate network that is focussed on creating wealth for New Zealand;
Upgrade the status of science and technology in New Zealand.
Social dynamism and knowledge opportunities:
Build the infrastructure to support participation by all New Zealanders in a knowledge society, including broadband connectivity to every home, school, business and public entity;
Government needs to seed initiatives in co-operation with local government, community trusts and the business sector – especially with the telecommunications industry;
Achieve a minimum level of literacy, numeracy and e-literacy for every New Zealander within five years for every child and/or adult who is currently non-literate;
Set up a nation-wide wired network centred on a foundation to provide support to local social entrepreneurs;
Develop a community action network ("CAN");
Adopt the goal of becoming a highly networked society, developing new partnerships to build strong communities, and to drive social cohesion and dynamism;
Create a national education strategy which contributes to a dynamic and decent society;
Government to establish a national economic and social council representing all interests: government (national and local); business; community and voluntary (gender and age free); Māori; trade unions; Pacific Islanders; rural.
Prime Minister’s summing-up:
In her summing up at the end, the Prime Minister included the following points:
Endorsement and validation of what has happened at the conference;
Challenges to take it outside to the broader community to achieve active implementation;
New Zealand needs focus, attitude and confidence;
New Zealand’s economy is not a "basket case", it is a growing economy;
Emphasis on talented people;
Support for establishing an expatriate network;
Importance of immigration, including a talent hunt;
Importance of creativity and lateral thinking;
Economic transformation must be underpinned by social inclusion;
The digital age is an "age of opportunity";
Governments in the 21st Century have to be smart and active;
Identify sectors where the nation has comparative advantages to attract direct foreign investment;
Sustainable economic development is essential;
Triple bottom line accountability, that is, economic growth, social responsibility and environmental sustainability is the path of the future;
globalisation has to be embraced by us as a trading nation and turned to our advantage.
Colin James, in his summing up, adopted the role of the "sceptical" media commentator. However, he did say he felt a "stirring". "Something is going on here". He suggested that we could be on the cusp of a change that is as significant as the social welfare reforms in the 1940s and the economic reforms in the 1980s. There is a need for radical changes to people’s attitudes and behaviours.
Much of what was said at the conference is highly relevant to Porirua City, and endorses the approach taken in our Strategic Plan 2000/2010 and draft Economic Development Strategy for Porirua City 2000/2010. Concepts such as sustainable development, clusters, triple bottom line accountability, partnerships, networks, social entrepreneurs – that we have talked about – are now becoming the accepted wisdom.