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New Zealand to fund AI institute in Top of the South region

New Zealand’s Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau recently announced that the Top of the South region is set to benefit from the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) support.

The initiatives will include the establishment of an Artificial Intelligence Institute and a Food Factory for start-up food producers.

The investments, which total over NZ$ 4.5 million, cover the following:

  1. Nelson Artificial Intelligence Institute Limited (NAII) with NZ$ 3.4 million loan
  2. The Food Factory (Picot Productions Ltd) NZ$ 778,000
  3. Economic development project delivery (Nelson District Council and Marlborough District Council) NZ$ 400,000

Artificial Intelligence in the aquaculture industry

According to a recent press release, the Institute will focus initially on using artificial intelligence in the aquaculture industry in a region where 70% of the country’s aquaculture industry is located and where untapped potential remains.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is on the cusp of a global revolution and PGF has recognised the economic and social opportunities the Artificial Intelligence Institute will bring to the Top of the South region and New Zealand as a whole.

The term ‘artificial intelligence’ is simply the use of mathematical tools that enable discoveries and decisions to be made quickly and easily when there are large datasets that are impossible to manually analyse.

The proposal is a mix of commercial activity, with a strong education focus involving the Nelson-Marlborough Institute of Technology.

Over time, the Institute will expand into different sectors and across the country.

Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash shared that aquaculture could play a much bigger role in the primary sector if it is supported to respond to trends and forces shaping the future.

He added that in the face of change, the Coalition Government is pursuing opportunities to strengthen the market position, to innovate, and to operate more sustainably.

Aquaculture is already a success story and with a strong programme of innovation and co-investment with industry, premium high value products can be built.

Artificial intelligence has the potential to drive real improvements in monitoring, real-time information and data analysis to help to better manage farms.

Other investments

The Top of the South region is known for its high value horticulture products, as well as artisan products such as cider, cheeses, olive oil and baked goods.

The Food Factory will provide start up food companies with a collaborative environment to develop new food products.

The PGF has also provided NZ$ 400,000 funding over two years to help grow the region’s other planned economic development projects.

This funding is consistent with the PGF’s commitment to support regions in the country with their regional economic development capability.

These announced PGF investments will build on the great strides the Top of the South region is already making.

It is maximising on the boundless opportunities in the region to be enjoyed by generations to come.

Funding from the Provincial Growth Fund is approved in principle and announced, after which contracts are negotiated.

Payments are made once agreed milestones are met.  These are set as part of contract negotiations, and differ from project to project.

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