Home / News and Events / Media Releases and News / New science organisation launched at Parliament

New science organisation launched at Parliament - 19/02/2008

“Making the link between science and the ability of New Zealanders to have choices for themselves, their families and communities, is a key task for Science New Zealand,” says its foundation Chair, Dr Alex Malahoff, chief executive of GNS Science, a Crown Research Institute.

ScienceNZ banner

Science New Zealand has been formed by the nine Crown Research Institutes. The organisation and its first initiative, a website (www.sciencenewzealand.org) were launched by Hon Pete Hodgson, Minister of Research, Science & Technology, at Parliament on Tuesday evening, 19 February. More than 200 science, business, education and government leaders attended.

The Crown Research Institutes are Crown-owned companies, comprising 4,400 staff dedicated to science that benefits New Zealand. The nine operate in areas of critical importance to New Zealand’s economic, environmental and social wealth, collectively generating $625 million in revenue.

It is their contribution to the wealth and well-being of New Zealanders and the opening of future possibilities that Science New Zealand wants to make better known.

“Our science opens up choices for individuals, communities and businesses, as well as government. It also enables New Zealand to have significant influence globally, on areas from trade to climate change,” said Dr Malahoff.

“New Zealand’s economy is science-based - be it in our primary sectors; tourism, which is so dependent upon our environment; or the new high-tech industries. But the myths of the No.8 wire and the DIY approach crowd out awareness of the science.

“We need to spread the word and spark excitement across the spectrum of New Zealand, to inspire study, careers, investment – to make science and technology a highly visible part of our national culture, a key part of how we do things here.

“That has happened in similar countries such as Finland and Ireland, and they have now overtaken us on many measures of social and economic well-being.

“Crown Research Institutes are at the heart of that drive for New Zealand.

“With science and technology developed and applied to its needs, New Zealand can achieve what it wants: protecting the environment and our lifestyle; retaining and attracting highly skilled people; quality jobs and high wages; the best health care; being influential on global issues.

“The large issues of our age are science-based challenges: climate change, sustainability, water and energy, food, housing and health.

“The science developed for New Zealand’s needs in these areas enables our country to take leadership in both the politics and the technologies at the global level.

“Science New Zealand will celebrate and promote science that makes a difference for New Zealand, from the local to the global level. It is about advancing ideas and delivering results for New Zealand.

“The Crown Research Institutes have tremendous stories built on long-standing relationships with sectors across our country, plus our global connections. They show science making a difference to communities, businesses, sectors, local and central government decisions and actions.

“We are also opening up future possibilities, posing challenges as well as responding to current needs.

“The launch of the website, www.sciencenewzealand.org, is just the first step in a vigorous public programme,” said Dr Malahoff.