Smudge Apps: The Chch tech firm making a difference with NZ Police

The New Zealand Police has banished thousands of hours of paperwork thanks to a Christchurch tech company, Smudge Apps.

The company worked alongside the police to develop a mobile app designed to help frontline police combat family violence. The app, OnDuty Family Harm, provides officers comprehensive information at the touch of a fingertip.

“Previously, police officers attending a family violence incident had to complete a 13-page paper form,” says Smudge Apps managing director, Reuben Bijl.

“With over 121,000 episodes of family harm occurring in New Zealand every year, the app has effectively banished more than 1.5 million pages of paperwork overnight.”

With detailed features for addressing family harm as part of New Zealand Police’s safer whānau work programme, the app includes risk assessment tools and a safety plan for police attending a family harm incident.

Family harm accounts for 40% of frontline police time and uses more than a million pieces of paper every year. Bijl says it was a great opportunity to include technology in tackling this issue.

He believes that the apps Smudge has built so far has helped the police save more than 500,000 every year – valuable time that frontline cops could be spending on more important things.

Founders Reuben Bijl and Toby Vincent taught themselves how to build mobile apps as a summer holiday project – something that has definitely paid off.

“One of my earliest memories was blowing up a computer as a five-year-old by playing with the voltage selector switch,” comments Bijl.

Ten years later, Smudge is on a winning streak – the company has partnered with companies including Vodafone, and its apps have been downloaded more than 8 million times.

Smudge’s partnership with Vodafone opened the doors to its work with the New Zealand Police. Vodafone was contracted to supply police with iPhones in 2014. The OnDuty app also gave frontline police the ability to query people, vehicles, and locations.

Bijl says Smudge is proud of its work with the police. The company’s app scooped the NZRise Excellence in Software Award at the NZ Excellence in IT Awards.

Today Christchurch’s world class tech sector is the second largest in New Zealand, contributing around $2.4 billion of GDP and exporting $1.1 billion annually.

Diverse and creative with a rich tech talent pool, Christchurch’s tech sector also encourages strong business and student relationships, to ensure the right skills in the city’s future workforce pipeline.

Bijl says clients are diverse, yet with one thing in common – they all want to help make their employees’ lives easier by giving them access to tools or processes to enable productivity.

“Ultimately, that’s what technology should do for people,” Bijl concludes.

Seequent named finalist in NZ’s Westpac Champion Business Awards

Cluster Member and Canterbury Tech Summit sponsor Seequent have been named a finalist in the prestigious Westpac Champion Business Awards 2018, in the category of ‘Lyttleton Port Company Champion Medium/ Large Exporter’.

Shaun Maloney, CEO, says the nomination is a fantastic acknowledgement for the team who have delivered some stunning achievements for the company over the past “really big” year.

“We’ve continued to grow strongly – launching major new products for the civil engineering and environmental industries, as well as continuing to deliver new innovation for the mining and minerals and geothermal energy industries. We’ve also completed a major rebranding exercise to better reflect our capability in a wider range of industries, which has been driven by multi-million dollar R&D efforts each year for the past 6 years.”

Seequent is known worldwide for its Leapfrog® 3D geological modelling software, initially developed for the mining and minerals industry, to provide insight and confidence for important investment and environmental decisions.  Today, civil engineering, environmental and geothermal energy industries also rely on Seequent’s software to better understand subsurface geology and manage geological risk on a diverse range of projects.

Maloney says the company’s technology is involved in some of the world’s most important and challenging projects, including the first final repository for nuclear waste in Finland, multi-country vehicle and rail tunnel projects in Europe, and water quality projects globally.

“We were also recently amazed to hear our Leapfrog Works software had been used by a local team to create a 3D model of the Tham Luang cave system, where 12 boys and their coach were recently trapped, to help communicate the high-level geological complexity of the caves area to rescue teams.”

Winners will be announced at a black-tie gala dinner to be held at Horncastle Arena in Christchurch on 19 September, 2018.


Global learning initiative Boma launches in New Zealand

Photo credit: Boma

A new global learning initiative with links to New Zealand sets out to walk the walk while talking the talk to help solve future problems on a huge scale.

Boma launched in Christchurch on Thursday. Christchurch-based Kaila Colbin is one of four partners who started the organisation.

Colbin said Boma will deliver a range of learning events discussing technological, geopolitical, economic and social change, as well as climate change.

When these “vectors of change” combine, humanity is faced with “a future that is highly uncertain and ambiguous”, she said.

Boma’s events will range from free community events, to corporate training, to Jeffersonian-style “impact dinners” where groups gather to debate particularly “thorny” topics.

“We need to have more robust ways of dealing with this uncertain and ambiguous future, so we can be more intentional and intelligent about the future we are creating,” Colbin said.

“Boma is specifically focused on these vectors of change affecting our future, and all the work we do on our events is designed towards outcomes rather than ideas.”

Colbin is co-founder of the Ministry of Awesome, director of ChristchurchNZ, curator of SingularityU New Zealand and has held the Christchurch licence for TEDx events since before the earthquakes.

Last year, she ran a TEDx event at Scott Base, Antarctica.

Joining her as Boma co-founders are TEDx founder Lara Stein, TEDxBerlin founder Stephan Balzer, and TEDxParis founder Michel Lévy-Provençal.

“It’s pretty cool that this global organisation has started from Germany, France, the United States and Ōtautahi Christchurch,” she said.

“The organisation is self-funded right now by the founders, and the offerings we will have range from free events for the community to paid events that people attend.”

Christchurch’s first Boma event would be a “fishbowl” discussion on August 23. It would be free and open to the public to attend and participate.

Colbin said there would be an impact dinner at about the same time, but the date had yet to be confirmed.

“Our industry summits and conferences, executive education, and customised programmes are designed explicitly to generate tangible impact and outcomes, creating a better, more sustainable, and more human-centred future,” Colbin said.

Boma was launched globally in Paris on July 4. It launched in Auckland and Wellington earlier this week.

More details of Boma events are available on its website.

The original article was published by Jack Fletcher on

Venture Downunder & DealCamp Opportunities

Venture Downunder is an exclusive boutique conference in New Zealand for local and international VCs to get together, learn, and me

et some of Australia and New Zealand’s best startups.

As part of the conference, there will be the DealCamp, featuring 12 of the best growth companies in ANZ who will present to the room of investors, with 1-1 meetings, followed by dinner at a lodge overlooking the stunning Lake Ohau.

We’re looking for brilliant founders building global companies, who are raising a Series A and Series B rounds. It’s a pitch dinner on steroids!

If you think this could be you – you can apply until 28th August. Apply here 

Why are we doing this?

  • Foster greater relationships across the local and international VC community to see more collaboration and deals in ANZ startups.
  • Help more growth companies build relationships with venture partners who can fund them now or in the future.
  • Put the ANZ on the map as a global tech hub with a wealth of untapped deal flow for international VC’s.
  • If you have any questions feel free to reach out to Peter McDonald

Relevant companies

  • The companies should either be raising series A/B around that time or soon after.
  • SaaS/ Enterprise B2B/sector agnostic
  • Consumer tech
  • At this point hardware is OK provided there is a platform play as well.
  • No bio-tech or other non-tech related businesses – e.g no F&B manufactures etc.
  • All verticals OK – health, med, agri, edu, fin, creative etc. companies should be solving problems in a  clever, defensible and scalable way.

Verizon Connect celebrates its Christchurch roots

This article is reposted from Christchurch Tech Stories – celebrating our local tech scene. For more case studies visit:

From homegrown tech talent to multinational enterprise, Verizon Connect (formerly Telogis) still calls Christchurch home.

With offices in 15 countries across the world including London, Sydney and Chicago, the Canterbury success story first started with a dream to optimise the way people, vehicles and other things move through the world.

Verizon Group vice present of mobile research and development Gary Jensen.jpg

Founded in 2000 by Christchurch local Ralph Mason and American Newth Morris, the company, then known as Telogis, developed a fleet tracking software to track the location of vehicles.

Rebranding as Verizon in 2014, the company created the Verizon Connect portfolio of solutions and services, yet group vice president of mobile research and development, Gary Jensen, says Christchurch remains the beating heart of the company’s research and development activities.

Much of the group’s original technology was developed in Christchurch and Jansen says this has been instrumental in transforming the enterprise into a technology leader and pioneer in the telematics industry.

“We have the capability and go-to attitude to think laterally and build the most innovative solutions in ways that other countries and locations might not be able to,” he says.

“The quality of software engineering students and the close relationships we have with Canterbury University and other groups has helped to make Christchurch a thriving place for our technology company,” Jensen says.

Verizon Connect regularly hires university graduates for its Christchurch office and hosts interns, with many staying on as permanent employees after graduation.

“The Christchurch tech sector has come through massive leaps especially in the last 5 to 10 years,” Jensen says. Today Christchurch’s world class tech sector is the second largest in New Zealand, contributing around $2.4 billion of GDP and exporting $1.1 billion annually.

Diverse and creative with a rich tech talent pool, Christchurch’s tech sector also encourages strong business and student relationships, to ensure the right skills in the city’s future workforce pipeline.

“Community groups like CanterburyTech have also helped increase the profile and strength of the Christchurch tech sector significantly, bringing to light some of the strong engineering work the city has always been good at, but no one was aware of.”

Jensen says Christchurch’s closely connected tech community and supportive business environment also makes it an ideal environment for start-ups with big ideas.

And the secret to capitalising on those ideas is to; “focus on the big picture beyond the local market, while still keeping roots in the Christchurch and Kiwi way of doing things.”

Effect of online shopping on personal & freight transport in urban areas

You are requested to take part in an online survey related to the study on ‘Effect of online shopping on personal and freight transport in urban areas’.

The study is being conducted by Ashu Kedia, a PhD student in Transportation Engineering, under the guidance of Professor Alan Nicholson (Emeritus Professor in Transportation) and Dr. Diana Kusumastuti (Lecturer in Transportation), at the University of Canterbury.
The aim of the study is to explore the effects of online shopping on urban transport system, wherein changes in travel behaviour of consumers and goods’ transport, as a result of online shopping will be examined. Also, the feasibility of establishing collection and delivery points (CDPs) to facilitate goods’ transport, will be investigated. Christchurch city has been taken as a case study to achieve the objectives of the study.
Please note that participation in this study is voluntary. All data collected will be kept strictly confidential. You will not be identified in any reports or publications. Your completion of the online survey will indicate your consent to participate in the study.
Ashu will be available to discuss any concerns that you may have about participation in this study. Also, you may receive a copy of the results by contacting at the conclusion of the study.
If you agree to participate, you are requested to fill the online survey using the following link. 
Note: the survey link will remain valid, only till 25th of this month. The survey should take no longer than 20 – 25 minutes to complete.

Vodafone xone rallies Class of 2018 for launch

Photo credit: Richard Parsonson.

Vodafone has announced its upcoming Vodafone xone class of 2018, as it gets set to take nine of New Zealand’s best tech-based startups global.

Head of xone and innovation Lauren Merritt says that in xone’s third year of operation, they’re thrilled to work with both established and first-time founders.

“They are working in a diverse range of industries with products spanning wearable health tech and AI-powered chatbots to beer and music,” Merritt adds.

“Many of the companies are using AI and their own natural language processing technologies to drive impressive customer experience solutions and unique ways of enabling people to connect and enjoy life.”

One of this year’s class of 2018 is Melodics, which is described as software that makes practising music fun.

“Melodics is a product that we know people will love. Turns out, 90% of people who try to learn an instrument fail and Melodics want to decrease that percentage by putting a music master on your desktop and keep you engaged through gamification,” Merritt comments.

Another class member is Urigo, a wearable health tech that tracks bladder flow.

“For a health tech company like Urigo, xone can support them to test and build their device alongside our technology and networks teams to give them a competitive advantage in a crowded wearables space,” Merritt adds.

This year’s class of 2018 will be run from Vodafone xone’s Christchurch Innovation Lab for the six-month programme. The businesses will travel from as far as Wanaka and Auckland, and many places in between.

The nine companies will receive a package worth more than $150,000. It includes seed funding and access world class technology and mentoring.

Vodafone consumer director Matt Williams adds that xone is one of the most successful startup programmes in New Zealand.

“For us, this is all about empowering the next generation of technology businesses in New Zealand, and the numbers show we’re achieving that.  Our 2016 and 2017 start-up companies have achieved amazing things, including roughly $17 million in new investment, over 70 FTE jobs created, around $13 million in revenue and six partnerships and trials with Vodafone,” he says.

“There are some fantastic stories of individual success for our xone companies, including IoTStream, who entered xone in 2016 pre-revenue and now have a pipeline of 10’s of millions. Vodafone works closely with IoTStream as we deliver IoT solutions for our customers.”

The full list of Vodafone xone class of 2018 follows:

Ambit: An enterprise grade chatbot creation platform underpinned by AI and natural language processing designed to deliver 24/7 personalised customer service

Aware Group: Little Bot, an AI based smart data service that extracts the context, sentiment and other relevant information to produce a better customer experience

kin2kin: A family app focused on kids 3 to 13, their parents and grandparents that connects generations

Melodics: A game-like app that uses machine learning to help people learn to play musical instruments

Romer: Curated and crowd-sourced local experience delivery platform that matches unique experiences to users

Sandfly Security: Agentless and automated forensic investigation and intrusion platform for Linux

Surveybot: Online platform that enables any business to create Chatbot surveys for any audience

Trickle: Bar tap management tracking system using IoT to understand beer pouring and reduce wastage

Urigo: Wearable health technology tracking bladder flow using a sensor solution that communicates to a smart phone

Two Christchurch based startups named on international business impact list

14 June 2018. Christchurch New Zealand

Recently named startup company of the year; Banqer has been recognized as being among the top global companies making a positive difference in the world. These companies were selected for creating the most positive overall impact on their customers based off of an independent, comprehensive assessment administered by the US headquartered nonprofit; B Lab.

Banqer was named in the ‘Best For Customers’ list, which includes businesses that earned a Customer score in the top 10 percent of the rigorous B Impact Assessment. The Customer portion of the B Impact Assessment measures the impact a company has on its customers by focusing on whether a company sells products or services that promote public benefit and if those products/services are targeted toward serving underserved populations.

The full assessment measures a company’s impact on its workers, community, customers and environment and is gaining in popularity inline with the growing social enterprise sector. As it stands there is no regulation or structure required for a company to identify as a social enterprise in New Zealand. The B Impact Assessment allows social enterprises a way to opt-into structured self-regulation.

Honorees scoring in the top 10 percent set a gold standard for the high impact that business as a force for good can make on consumers around the world. Banqer made the list thanks to exceptional practices like the inherent social good of their financial education platform, their focus to serve minority communities, and their commitment to develop an ethically proactive workplace.

Banqer was was one of two NZ companies honoured. Ethique, also a Christchurch based startup was named in the Best For Community list. Last year Christchurch hosted the Social Enterprise World forum, Christchurch is also home to the highest concentration of registered B Corporations in New Zealand.

Banqer Co-founder Kendall Flutey commented “I don’t believe business can exist solely through a profit-seeking lense anymore. The companies who are still around and thriving in another couple of decades will have purpose seeking at their core. This is not to say there isn’t tension between profit and purpose, but purpose is still worth pursuing.”

Additional 2018 Best For Customers honorees include AltSchool, Sunrise Banks, and Wetherby Asset Management. The wider lists recognise companies like Patagonia and King Arthur Flour Company.

About Banqer

Banqer is an online financial education platform that enables primary and intermediate students to experience personal finances first-hand in their classroom. Over 67,000 Australasian kids are currently earning classroom income, paying taxes, exploring the property market, enrolling in KiwiSaver and much more as they practice how to manage their money in the safe confines of the classroom. This activity, increasing their financial capability through educational simulation, prepares students for the financial world ahead.


The B-Lab Movement

B Lab is a nonprofit organization that serves a global movement of people using business as a force for good.  Its vision is that one day all companies compete not only to be the best in the world, but the best for the world and society will enjoy prosperity for all for the long term. Today there are more than 2,400 Certified B Corporations across more than 150 industries and 50 countries, unified by one common goal: to redefine success in business.

A list of all honorees are featured on B the Change, the digital Medium publication produced by B Lab, at

Technology business leader Mitchell Pham to be celebrated with Kea World Class New Zealand Award

Auckland, New Zealand: Wednesday 30th May, 2018

New Zealand’s most prestigious celebration of individual achievement, the Kea World Class New Zealand (WCNZ) Awards, has today announced six of its 2018 award recipients.

In addition to Pham, this year’s winners include innovator and engineer, Peter Beck; AI trailblazer Mark Sagar; award-winning actor and producer Cliff Curtis; prominent Earth scientist Dr Delwyn Moller; and art world powerhouse Jennifer Flay.

The Supreme Award (won last year by Sir Peter Jackson and Lady Fran Walsh), and Friend of New Zealand Award (won last year by Pippa Lady Blake), will be announced at a Gala Dinner at Auckland’s Viaduct Events Centre on Thursday 21st June.

Kea Global CEO Craig Donaldson says the Awards are an important opportunity to recognise the very best among New Zealand’s community of Kiwi innovators, entrepreneurs and business leaders making an impact on the world stage.

“This year’s recipients are diverse in their fields of influence and expertise, but they share a commitment to excellence which helps to define New Zealand’s global reputation – and made a vast contribution to the country’s social, cultural, scientific and economic development. We’re delighted to acknowledge and celebrate their achievements,” says Donaldson.

Mitchell Pham, a Director of the Augen Software Group in New Zealand and Vietnam, co-founder of the Kiwi Connection Tech Hub, Chair of NZTech and of FinTechNZ, is being recognised for his contribution to the technology sector in New Zealand and NZ-Asia relations.

Peter Beck, founder and CEO of Rocket Lab, is being recognised as a pioneer in New Zealand’s space community, including his instrumental role in establishing international treaties and legislation to enable orbital launch capability from New Zealand.

Mark Sagar, CEO and co-founder of Soul Machines, and director of the Laboratory for Animate Technologies at the University of Auckland’s Bioengineering Institute, is being recognised for his work developing new technologies to humanise artificial intelligence.

Cliff Curtis, founder of Arama Pictures, co-founder of Whenua Films, and multi-award-winning actor, is being recognised for his commitment to indigenous storytelling, including Arama Pictures feature The Dark Horse and short film Ahi Ka.

Dr Delwyn Moller, Director of Research at the Centre for Space Science Technology (Alexandra, NZ) and previously a NASA and Jet Propulsion Lab scientist, is being recognised for her ground-breaking contribution to the development of state-of-the-art earth science technology systems. This includes developing high-resolution radar imaging technology to enable new areas of scientific discovery, and an extensive contribution to our understanding of climate change via ongoing study of ice sheets and glaciers.

And finally, Jennifer Flay, General Director of Paris’ Foire Internationale d’Art Contemporain (FIAC) or International Contemporary Art Fair, has been included in recognition of her contribution to the fine arts, and leading the renewal of one of the most prestigious arts events in the world.

Established in 2003, the Awards provide a platform that recognises global success, celebrating Kiwis who are helping to define New Zealand’s international reputation.

Each World Class New Zealand Award winner will receive a Tall Poppy statuette, designed by Weta Workshop co-founder and 2009 Supreme Award winner Sir Richard Taylor.

For more information about the recipients, see below:

Peter Beck

  • Founder and CEO of Rocket Lab, an orbital launch company revolutionising access to space for small satellites
  • Peter led a team of engineers to develop the ĀTEA-1 rocket in 2009, a launch that saw Rocket Lab become the first private company in the Southern Hemisphere to reach space
  • In 2013 Peter established the Electron orbital launch programme to develop the world’s first fully carbon-composite launch vehicle, powered by the world’s first 3D printed, electric turbopump-fed rocket engine
  • Oversaw the development of the first and only private orbital launch range on the globe, located on New Zealand’s Mahia Peninsula
  • First successful orbital launch completed in January 2018

Mark Sagar

  • Double Academy Award winner via his previous role as the Special Projects Supervisor at Weta Digital and Sony Pictures Imageworks and developed technology for the characters in blockbusters such as Avatar, King Kong, and Spiderman-2
  • CEO/co-founder of Soul Machines which aims to humanise artificial intelligence
  • Led the development of virtual infant BabyX, brought to life by computational models of the brain and nervous system, which has gained worldwide attention for its pioneering biologically based approach to artificial intelligence
  • Director of the Laboratory for Animate Technologies at the Auckland Bioengineering Institute
  • Mark has a Ph.D. in Engineering from the University of Auckland
  • Was a post-doctoral fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • His pioneering work in computer-generated faces was awarded Scientific and Engineering Oscars in 2010 and 2011

Cliff Curtis

  • Four-time NZ Film and Television award-winning actor
  • Formed Maori film production company Whenua Films with cousin Ainsley Gardiner – 2004: The pair produced Taika Waititi’s WWII short film Tama Tū (2005), debut feature, geek comedy Eagle vs Shark (2007), and Boy (2010)
  • Founded Arama Pictures (2013): which has produced feature The Dark Horse and short film Ahi Ka, and television series This is Piki
  • Has over 50 credits to date for producing and acting in TV, theatre and film
  • Starred in movies alongside Hollywood legends such as Morgan Freeman, Denzel Washington, Eddie Murphy, Al Pacino, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Anthony Hopkins and George Clooney
  • Starred in AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead alongside Kim Dickens
  • A cast member of the four Avatar sequels written and directed by James Cameron which are due for release starting in 2020

Dr Delwyn Moller

  • Director of Research and the Centre for Space Science Technology, Alexandra, NZ
  • Principal Systems Engineer at Remote Sensing Solutions, Inc. (RSS)
  • Joined NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) where she worked on radar technology, primarily with a focus on Earth science
  • She has won multiple JPL and NASA awards and was a co-recipient of the prestigious NASA Space Act award for planetary landing radar design
  • Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst
  • M.E degree (Distinction) and B.E. degree (Honors) from the University of Auckland

Mitchell Pham

  • Director of the Augen Software Group in New Zealand and Vietnam
  • Co-founder of the Kiwi Connection Tech Hub – a platform for NZ technology businesses to accelerate presence & engagement in South East Asia
  • Recognised as an Asia 21 Fellow by the Asia Society, and a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum
  • Chair of the NZ Technology Industry Association (NZTech)
  • Chair of the NZ Financial Innovation & Technology Association (FinTechNZ)
  • Co-founder of the NZ Health IT Cluster (NZHIT)
  • Co-founder of the Global InsurTech Alliance (GITA)
  • Advisor at the Asia New Zealand Foundation
  • New Zealand Trade & Enterprise (NZTE) Beachheads Advisor in technology business for South East Asia
  • Trustee of the Auckland Refugee Family Trust (ARFT), and of the Foundation for Social Responsibility NZ (FOStR-NZ)
  • Awarded Asia 21 Fellow by the Asia Society
  • Awarded Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum (WEF)
  • Member of the Ethnic People in Commerce (EPICNZ) network, NZ Asian Leaders (NZAL) forum, and NZ Superdiversity Council
  • Member of the Strategic Alliance Vietnamese Ventures International (SAVVi) network, and an executive of the global Vietnamese diaspora business network (BAOOV)

Jennifer Flay

  • General Director of FIAC, 2010 – present
  • Artistic Director of FIAC, 2003 – 2010
  • Opened Galerie Jennifer Flay, 1990 – 2003
  • Participated actively in two travelling exhibitions by Christian Boltanski, alongside American curators Lynn Gumpert and Mary Jane Jacobs, and European curators Catherine Lampert, Jan Debbaut and Serge Lemoine.
  • Author of authoritative publication: Christian Boltanski, Catalogue – Books, Printed Matter, Ephemera – 1966-1991
  • Member of the Board of Administrators of the Palais de Tokyo art centre (Paris) and the Ecole Nationale Superieure de Beaux Arts (National School of Arts, Paris)
  • Member of the artistic and scientific council of the Manufacture de Sevres (Paris)


About Kea:

Kea is New Zealand’s global network. Kea connects a community of over half a million New Zealanders with each other and provides access to global job opportunities, events and business growth support. Kea connects Kiwis with one another and with home.

It provides businesses and individuals with access to network members who willingly lend their influence, expertise and international connections to help New Zealanders and New Zealand businesses succeed on the world stage.

New Zealand businesses can access this expert assistance, advice, and global insight through Kea Connect.

Each year, Kea celebrates high-achieving Kiwis at the World Class New Zealand Awards held in Auckland.

Have Your Say: Research and development tax incentive

You may be aware of the upcoming changes proposed by the Government in respect of a Research and Development Incentive Scheme, effective from 1 April 2019. Here is the link to the relevant documents released by the Government, including the original discussion document and documents on the transition from Callaghan Innovation Growth Grants. The key changes proposed are outlined at the bottom of this email.

The changes will have an impact on the cash flows of New Zealand start up and growth businesses and it is important that we provide feedback to ensure any changes are designed to achieve the objective of growing the R&D spend in New Zealand. We also envisage that any ambiguity and uncertainty will impact the ability of New Zealand entities to raise capital and have valuation implications.

EY has been working to ensure that the start-up and growth sector is adequately represented in the submission phase of the project. EY’s objective is demonstrate to the government that there is strong interest in the legislation changes from the sector by providing a strong response to their discussion documents. The deadline for submissions is 1 June 2018.

Canterbury Tech members may also with to prepare their own individual submission. EY has prepared a template submission that can easily be adapted by entities that covers what EY believes to be the main issues. The template is designed to be tailored by individual entities to fit their circumstances.

EY are running a couple of workshops that run through the changes in more detail and provides an opportunity to discuss any questions that you may have. These are held at EY offices in Auckland, but there will be an opportunity to dial in remotely.

These are proposed for:

–          Wednesday 23 May at 1pm

–          Tuesday 29 May at 10am

In addition EY is creating a database for future correspondence on R&D matters as they arise.

Our ask of you is: 

  1. Complete a submission. Feel free to use the attached template
  2. Circulate this email encouraging the entities you are associated with to also make a submission
  3. Respond to if you would like to attend one of the sessions (and whether you will attend in person or remotely)
  4. Email with contact details of any parties that would like to receive ongoing communications in respect of the R&D tax incentive scheme

Key aspects of the proposed changes:

–          Replacement of the Callaghan Growth grants with a tax credit of 12.5% based on eligible expenditure for entities doing R&D in New Zealand

–          To be eligible entities must:

o   Be located in New Zealand and be carrying out R&D in New Zealand

o   Satisfy the test of being in business

o   Claim R&D that relates to your business or intended business

o   Have control over R&D activities

o   Bear the financial risks of the R&D activities

o   Effectively own the results of the R&D

–          Minimum eligible R&D expenditure proposed at $100,000

–          R&D would be defined as:

o   Core activities: those conducted using scientific methods that are performed for the purposes of acquiring new knowledge or creating new or improved materials, products, devices, processes and services; and that intended to advance science or technology through the resolution of scientific or technological uncertainty

o   Support activities; those that are wholly or mainly for the purpose of, required for, and integral to, the performing of the activities defined as core activities

–          Provisions for some overseas R&D work

–          Specific defined expenditure is ineligible

–          Current proposals are that the tax credit will be not refundable; i.e. loss making companies will not receive a refund. The current R&D credit tax back for loss making entities will continue in the short term but may be reviewed as part of future policy work

David Winter | Senior Manager | Tax

Ernst & Young Limited