The technology industry is New Zealand’s fastest growing sector. Exports have doubled over the past six years and at more than $6 billion (for 2014) it’s the country's third largest export earner behind dairy and tourism. Technology touches on every other major market segment and is the highest per-capita earning industry for the country. On the domestic front, ICT contributes nearly $20 billion to New Zealand's economy and employs more than 62,000 people. The technology sector accounts for 73,000 jobs and contribute 5% of GDP. According to the TIN 100 report ICT revenues grew 16.5% over a 12-month period and the Government’s sector report on ICT confirmed wages & salaries are twice the New Zealand average and are growing faster than the average growth rate for the country.
Innovation is the Priority
Research & Development spending is up 18.9% over the past two years and New Zealand’s high-tech manufacturing companies are spending on average 8% of revenues on R&D.
Over the last decade, New Zealand has established many of the institutions required to nurture the domestic innovation ecosystem such as business incubators, angel and venture fund groups and commercialisation units within Universities and government agencies. Successful initiatives to develop entrepreneurs and an increasing recognition of the importance of entrepreneurship has led to the focus on supporting business growth and export capabilities, particularly in the technology sector.
Innovation has also been identified by the New Zealand government as one of the six priority sources of economic improvement. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has now been established for more than two years as the key government agency to support the growth of science and innovation for the country.
Government Programmes for Growth
The fastest growing sector in the economy is attracting considerable support from Government. The Government’s Business Growth Agenda programme is encouraging innovation through Callaghan Innovation and increasing access to capital for small, high-growth businesses through the New Zealand Venture Investment Fund.
The government is also investing $100 million over six years in 31 projects at New Zealand Universities, Crown Research Institutes and private research organisations.
Central to creating a digital nation the Government has invested $1.5billion to roll out Ultra Fast Broadband (UFB) across the country. UFB will be rolled out to priority areas are businesses, schools, health providers as well as green field developments by the end of 2015.
New Zealand Technology Businesses
According to the Technology Investment Network report (TIN 100), an annual census that tracks the vitality of the ICT, hi-tech manufacturing and biotech businesses in New Zealand, revenue grew 3.7% to $7.256 billion.
TIN 100 companies are experiencing export growth of 3% with total exports for this group at $5.3 billion.
TIN 100 companies experienced 6.7% job growth and account for more than 31,000 jobs. ICT-based companies grew fastest with 16.7% growth.
Australia and North America are the strongest export markets.