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New Zealand to Establish New Research and Innovation Hub

Queenstown in New Zealand is set to build a multi-million-dollar research and innovation hub, with the government lending up to half the funds to get the project off the ground.

The facility, to be called Research & Innovation Queenstown, will be established at Remarkables Park in Frankton near Queenstown Airport. It will house a cluster of research and innovation entities and commercial and hi-tech activities.

The executive director of the park which will help develop the hub, said it would provide a platform to attract new, high-value workforce and visitors, as well as retaining and upskilling Queenstown residents. The hub is intended to help diversify the region’s tourism-reliant economy. Also, the company’s executive chairman said they welcomed the government’s willingness to work with the private sector on the project, which would help Queenstown develop a more resilient economy.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson said that the government would lend up to half of the total cost for the first stage of the project. The money, from the government’s shovel ready infrastructure fund, would go towards the costs of architecture and planning, engineering, and construction.

The Minister said that the project would help leverage Queenstown’s international reputation, and address some of the issues raised last year by the New Zealand Productivity Commission. Research & Innovation Queenstown Ltd, a subsidiary of Remarkables Park, will match the funding to pay for the development, nearby roading and services.

Earthworks for the building have already begun. The building will have about 6000 square metres of research and innovation offices and facilities, and space for other commercial activities. As part of the hub project, a Research & Innovation advisory board will be formed.

As reported by OpenGov Asia, similarly, a Kiwi-developed digital, business and learning tech hub has also been launched in New Zealand to bridge the digital divide and help combat poverty in the country. The tech hub was developed by a team that provides the locals in the area with training, employment, and business leadership. The team said that they had to step up and develop the tech hub to increase digital connectivity to mitigate high poverty in the area.

At the opening, Regional Economic Development Minister Stuart Nash said the hub was vitally important, especially with the digital advances during the COVID-19 lockdowns. He added that it is not about the future, it is about the present, and if we do not get this right in our communities, they will fall behind.

The Te Kona tech hub offers meeting rooms for hire, 10 hot desks, video conferencing facilities, event spaces, and reliable Wi-Fi which is in high demand in the region. It also provides digital literacy training, coding classes, and a mobile hub, which will take a mobile version of these services to more remote parts of the region. The developers will offer their training courses in the hub, as well as offering job-focused education modules.

The developers said that citizens in the area have not had access to strong connectivity for some time, so they needed to develop a space that would allow businesses to flourish and for students’ educational needs. The development of Te Kona has been supported by the government’s Provincial Development Unit, as well as other private institutions and foundations.

Reports say that New Zealand may be at the bottom of the world when it comes to geographic locale, but Kiwis are quickly approaching the top when it comes to lean start-ups and tech. This combined with the fact that New Zealand is a great place to do business as some investors may say makes for an exciting time ahead for the New Zealand tech industry.

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