Politik discusses Knowledge Wave Mark Two which seeks to boost the tech sector and quotes Helen Clark from the original Knowledge Wave conference:
Our export profile resembles that of developing countries, not that of a developed one.
Our export profile is unique among developed countries for the volume and value of primary produce and the large part that plays in our economy.
But the quote, and some policies from this government, send the message that there’s something wrong with that.
They ignore the fact that primary production does so well in New Zealand not just because of our natural advantages – the climate and soils – but because of the investment in, and application of, research and technology.
There is some comfort in David Parker’s statement:
“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,” he said.
This focus is already being undermined by government policy which incentivises forestry over food production.
Economic growth, a broader based export economy and technological innovation are all worthy goals but none should be achieved by dragging down or devaluing primary production.
Our export profile does resemble that of a third world country, but primary production in New Zealand is very much a first-world business and already part of the tech boom.
When climate change could threaten food security, our ability to produce highly nutritious food in a very efficient manner is of even more importance.