Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce opened new offices in Burnside last night for Christchurch staff of New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and the Ministry of Science and Innovation.
Not far from them is the Ministry of Primary Industries so it is a "bit of a New Zealand Inc precinct", NZTE chief executive Peter Crisp quipped at the official opening.
The NZTE and MSI staff have worked cheek by jowl with employees of a few local IT companies and staff of Industrial Research (IRL) in a building owned by Tait Electronics after the February 22 2011 quake knocked out the government organisations' premises.
Where the Tait building previously accommodated 16 IRL staff, about 160 were crammed into it, using all available space, after the quake destruction.
The companies are now moving out into new digs.
Joyce said his main purpose was to visit local companies and talk about how tertiary institutions, like the universities, and Crown research institutes could work more closely with businesses to take up opportunities presented by the rebuild of Christchurch.
There had been good movements already towards that. Businesses were interested in working across sectors in a "Christchurch Inc approach" and he was here to encourage those linkages, he said.
Joyce said he had been down a month ago for a breakfast session with businesses and had steeled himself for strong views on the progress of the rebuild. But what he found was totally different.
The room was filled with "motivation" but he acknowledged there were businesspeople for whom the rebuild was not happening fast enough.
The rebuild was such a large exercise and there was no template for it but it offered businesses fantastic opportunities. It was his job to encourage the growth of businesses, Joyce said.
As part of his trip, Joyce visited Tait, one of the city's largest private firms which designs and makes radio communications systems for local and international customers.
He also visited building company Spanbild, entrepreneurial firm Yike Bikes and merino marketing firm New Zealand Merino.
Yesterday he also launched two new Government online products for businesses including an iPad app, available through the business.govt.nz portal, which enables small businesses to use tools and tips for growth, and an interactive business calendar, B-Cal, which highlights many Government-related events and important dates for business.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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