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Local Bodies: A Luddite Led National Government

Written By: - Date published: 4:01 pm, March 3rd, 2015 - 25 comments
Categories: Economy, national, same old national - Tags: ,

Reposted from Local Bodies.

Nationals ideas on innovationThe development of new knowledge and technology is growing at a faster rate than ever before and successful businesses generally have to remain at the cutting edge of their industries to survive. We are now operating in a global, interconnected economy where new products are becoming available almost faster than consumers can track.

New Zealand invests around half as much into research and development than most OECD countries. Despite minimal backing Kiwi innovation still bubbles out of our inventive minds and attains global significance. Sumsung’s latest Galaxy S6 smartphone will be using a wireless charger developed by the New Zealand Company Powerbyproxi and the revolutionary rocket technology developed by Rocket Lab is being backed by US aerospace giant, Lockheed Martin. With the increasing availability of 3D printing, product design and the place of manufacture will become more separated. Having the technology to manufacture something is worthless unless it has a useful product to produce, therefore the greater value is now in ideas and intellectual property. There is huge potential in earning income from innovative designs.

One would think when our country is leading the development of such cutting edge technology and new products, that our Government would be enthusiastic in protecting and enhancing them in our national interest, but it doesn’t appear to be so.

If you look at where this Government is devoting the majority of its attention and funding, its conservative thinking appears to dominate. Future thinking is hard for our National Ministers, they appear to find comfort in what has worked in the past and would rather follow than lead. Fossil fuel and coal dominated past economic revolutions and contributed to the wealth of Australia and the US. Gerry Brownlee has promoted coal as sexy and Simon Bridges is devoting much of his energy to opening our conservation estate and territorial waters to mining and oil companies. Our largest investment in infrastructure is $12 billion into building new roads rather than putting the same energy into a second internet cable.

Sadly jumping into industries that have had their heyday is never a good idea. Money has been lost from encouraging Solid Energy’s expansion of coal mining and the exploitation of Southland’s lignite. The company sold off it’s promising biofuel arm and was caught by the crash in coal prices (even China is investing in cleaner alternatives).

The Government is also wanting to expand our agricultural production beyond what is sustainable as its focus is on the raw commodities we are producing now rather than looking at the potential of adding value to what is currently being produced. This is just more evidence of conservative thinking when quantity is promoted above quality and innovation.

John Key and his caucus colleagues are so imbedded in the present and their close relationships with established industries that they are blind to what is possible in new technology and scientific developments. Ideology rather than evidence dominates their decisions which is why they see a conference centre in Auckland has more value (when the evidence shows otherwise) than supporting the local film industry that contributes to $3 billion in export revenue. The Green party identified the potential in designing computer games and game apps when revenue from these industries doubled to $80 million last year.

Around the country communities, regional authorities and businesses have often given up on expecting Government recognition for their future thinking and innovation. We are missing out on so much potential it is almost criminal. Invercargill’s rocket tracking station has been operating under the Government’s radar for some time and yet the satellite images available through its international partnerships could revolutionise farming and more effectively monitor our territorial waters from illegal fishing.

This Government’s luddite thinking will cause our economy to whither with the fossil fueled industries and commodities it is predominantly tied to. When innovative design and intellectual property is attaining value greater than raw commodities I am fearful of what we may give away in this regard with the TPPA. We desperately need a future focused Government rather than the ‘back to the future’ one we currently have.

25 comments on “Local Bodies: A Luddite Led National Government”

  1. No surprise in this article, National are a Conservative bunch, always have been and always will.

    They are always happy being a do nothing type Govt.
    The Status Quo will do.

  2. grumpystilskin 2

    And to think National is commonly thought of as the businessmans party.

    • Sacha 2.1

      They are – shows you how lacking in vision and competence many of our business owners and managers are. When the system is set up so you can make more money by greasing the right wheels than by being creative, laziness is tempting.

  3. There are plenty of areas where National has mismanaged its investments, and it seems to find the idea of governing its remaining assets distasteful, preferring to sell them off.

    Its slash and burn cowboy style of management is costing NZ way too much in biosecurity risk and unexpected cost blowouts in IT projects (Chorus, Novopay, Child welfare scheme)

    I don’t think this government really understands the potential of IT, education, and research to unlock future opportunities. Things that we cannot see now are hard to justify to the bean counters.

    • tricledrown 3.1

      IRD.blow out.
      Stephen Joyce has used R&D funding for political gain.

      [lprent: How? ]

  4. One Anonymous Bloke 4

    Sumsung’s latest Galaxy S6 smartphone will be using a wireless charger

    Samsung’s latest Galaxy S6 smartphones will not come with a wireless charger developed by Kiwi partner Powerbyproxi.

    But the relationship between the companies could bear fruit next year.

    My bold.

  5. Huia 5

    It’s a pity the current government’s main focus is so narrow when there are great opportunities to be taken under their noses. SCION has been making leaps and bounds with biopolymers and other ways to steer our forestry in a more progressive and sustainable direction. Just needs a bit of a shift in the “business as usual” mindset to start making it happen.

    http://www.scionresearch.com

  6. Draco T Bastard 6

    With the increasing availability of 3D printing, product design and the place of manufacture will become more separated. Having the technology to manufacture something is worthless unless it has a useful product to produce, therefore the greater value is now in ideas and intellectual property. There is huge potential in earning income from innovative designs.

    And you’re probably wrong about that as well in the long term. In the short to medium term you’re probably right.

    In the short to medium term 3D printing will bring manufacturing home. There will probably be some export income in the short term for those who adopt it early but in the medium term international trade in manufactured goods will decline to zero as everyone ramps up 3D printing.

    In the long term more and more design will go Open Source bringing about the final eradication of money.

    • Molly 6.1

      I’m optimistic about Open Source solutions coming forward myself.

      One interesting project going on at the moment is the Global Village Construction set, an open source project that provides plans for affordable and (relatively) easy to make machines. Including a 3D printer.

    • I think there is some truth in what you are saying Draco for relatively simple designs, but 3D designs for human organs constructed out of actual tissue and other such complex designs are unlikely to be Open Sourced. Also do you think it would be safe to have random designs being available, that when printed may not work as intended? Especially when the products produced may have dangerous consequences depending on their function.

      • Sacha 6.2.1

        True. Control will increasingly be via intellectual property avenues – another reason not to sign those away to overseas corporates via the TPP.

      • Draco T Bastard 6.2.2

        I think there is some truth in what you are saying Draco for relatively simple designs, but 3D designs for human organs constructed out of actual tissue and other such complex designs are unlikely to be Open Sourced.

        I’m pretty sure that complex solutions will also be provided. The most complex software on your computer is the OS and yet there are many Open Source OSs available.

        Also do you think it would be safe to have random designs being available, that when printed may not work as intended?

        Just because it’s Open Source doesn’t mean that there will be no regulation.

    • Lanthanide 6.3

      “but in the medium term international trade in manufactured goods will decline to zero as everyone ramps up 3D printing.”

      Existing forms of mass-production are superior in almost all ways to 3D printing, and will likely remain so.

      • Draco T Bastard 6.3.1

        Possibly but I doubt it. 3D printing is inherently better in many respects. They use less resources to produce the same item, produce less waste and, as the link I provided the other day showed, produce stronger results. The only problem is that of speed and that will, IMO, be addressed fairly rapidly due to all the advantages with 3D printing.

        • Draco, I can see some huge dilemmas that will need to be addressed around 3D printing and the potential to create all manner of products from weaponry to safety equipment. It will not be easy to regulate and control online products being downloaded and printed from around the world. The risks of people producing untested parts and components (limited quality control) that could then be integrated into existing machinery or systems are massive. There are so many worrying aspects to freely obtainable, 3D home printed products.

          I accept that the positives related to three printing are great but so are the risks. I can also predict that some manufacturers and designers will then do what happens with ink jet printers. Very sophisticated printers will be sold cheaply and then the cost of each product that is printed with it will be the source of future profits (like the ink cartridges).

  7. millsy 7

    IMO I think we can become a world leader in biotechnology.

    Unfortunately I dont trust us not to screw it up and hand everything over to multi-nationals.

  8. Jan Rivers 8

    There is recent evidence in the NZ Herald that there are some chilling effects of the TICSA bill. An article by tech writer Juha Saarinen from Friday’s Herald says that NZ was at the forefront of a very important area of communications technology – essentially the development of virtual routers. Because of the uncertainties of the TICSA Act potential investors have relocated to Australia. This is going to be a multi-billion dollar industry worldwide in the next few years – but not apparently one that NZ can take any part in.

    TICSA mandates that telecommunications service providers and public network operators must register with the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) and its sidekick, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC).

    Furthermore, telcos and network providers must notify the agency which is tasked with upholding the country’s IT security if they make significant changes to their networks.

    Thanks to TICSA, and this really isn’t the fault of GCSB, New Zealand has lost an important foot in the door of a billion dollar IT business, as the law isn’t compatible with the technology.

    Not only has the investor relocated the TICSA bill has effectively put a stop to the joint academic commercial partnership that was taking place at Victoria University.
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/juha-saarinen/news/article.cfm?a_id=98&objectid=11409067

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