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anzSKA LogoMore than 150 scientists and representatives from both sides of the Tasman met in Auckland last week to progress the joint bid to host a NZ$3.1 billion international radio astronomy project.

The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project will create the world’s largest radio telescope.  Last year, New Zealand formally joined with Australia in a united bid to host the SKA.  We are competing with a bid led by South Africa, with a final decision to be made by an independent panel of scientists in 2012.

Economic Development Minister Gerry Brownlee said scientists from both countries are already collaborating on pre-SKA scientific work and over the week the Australasia SKA Industry Consortium (ASKAIC) met in this country for the first time.

“The SKA project is one of the largest scientific projects ever undertaken. It could underpin major innovative opportunities for New Zealand businesses and help drive our economic development,” Mr Brownlee says.

“New Zealand and Australia are working closely together to showcase the superb quality of the joint site offer from our two countries.”

As a part of the meeting, an industry day was held, which included one-to-one business meetings between Australian and New Zealand firms.  More than 450 businesses in the two countries have already been identified as having products and services relevant to the SKA project.

“This industry day provides a valuable opportunity to showcase the capability of New Zealand firms to visiting ASKAIC members.”

Mr Brownlee also hosted an industry dinner in Auckland with senior executives of some of Australia and New Zealand’s leading companies, as well as key scientists and representatives of the New Zealand SKA Industry Consortium.

Story from the office of Hon Gerry Brownlee – New Zealand Minister for Economic Development