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NZ, Israel close to signing agreement

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 11/11/2016 Fiona Rotherham

New Zealand and Israel are close to signing an innovation agreement that would lead to joint research and development.

Israeli ambassador to New Zealand Itzhak Gerberg told a Start-Up Nation summit in Auckland on Friday that the tech collaboration agreement was close though not yet signed as it was still "in the hands of the lawyers".

The bilateral R&D agreement has been pushed by New Zealand's chief scientist Peter Gluckman who was part of a New Zealand Innovation mission to Israel in June led by Spark chief executive Simon Moutter.

Gluckman said he wasn't in a position to comment on the progress of the deal.

New Zealand recently signed a film co-production agreement with Israeli that will encourage collaboration between the screen industries in both countries and covers film, television, animation and digital productions.

A small but vocal group of Auckland supporters of the Palestine Solidarity Network protested outside the meeting, saying Israel was trying to foster links with countries such as New Zealand for political not economic reasons.

New Zealand has an estimated $500 million gap for expansion capital for existing start-ups beyond their early seed capital.

Israeli entrepreneur Dov Moran, whose M-Systems company invented the now ubiquitous USB stick and was sold for US$1.6 billion, said if Israel with its small land mass and lack of resources can build a flourishing innovation eco-system then New Zealand can too.

"New Zealand is in a much, much better situation, you don't have enemies knocking down the doors every day and you have much greater natural resources," he said.

" If you don't have local money, most of Israel's money came from external smart money that did very well for its investors and there's no doubt you can do it, but the sooner you do it, the sooner it will happen, that's the key message."

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