Rocket Lab is an amazing and inspiring New Zealand company (albeit setup by a USA sister company). It has developed and continues to develop some incredibly innovative, aerospace technology, to be successfully launching rockets (currently the ‘electron’) delivering satellites into space on a commercial basis. The company is working on a new rocket, the ‘photon’, which will deliver payloads to the moon and beyond.
Here comes my rant!
The current Government is all over Rocket Labs’ success, as if it was anything much to do with them. We now have a government ‘space agency’, which although very grand sounding, really just grants licenses and permits to launch stuff from and over New Zealand. The ‘space minister’ is Phil Twyford, the failed Kiwibuild minister.
Recently a ‘number of government departments’ commissioned the accounting firm Deloitte to provide a strategic plan to create an aerospace sector in Christchurch city by 2025: https://bit.ly/2PLpMYy
So why would Christchurch suddenly become a centre for aerospace (or space really as we’re talking about rockets rather than aircraft) in New Zealand? Deloitte’s answer seems to boil down to because Christchurch has got a university and some good potential launch sites. Beneath the glossy presentation the reporting firm is clearly scrabbling to somehow make a stupid idea sound positive. Indeed you have to wonder about the integrity of a company that would even take on such a ridiculous assignment.
The only way that Christchurch could have a chance of becoming a space centre is if Rocket Lab setup there. So instead of commissioning a no doubt costly report, the Government simply needed to ask Rocket Lab, would you setup in Christchurch if the incentives were right? Or similar. Then get busy to make even a half positive response happen. But who is the minister responsible for space, oh oh, Mr failed Kiwibuild!
Although there are some world beating high tech companies operating in New Zealand, you do have to wonder whether Government here will ever be up to the task of presiding over a country that does more than just grow cows.