There’s a bit of a theme emerging this month; once again New Zealand and space are making news together. This time it isn’t merino pushing to the final frontier, but instead it’s a company designing novel rocket propulsion systems.

Peter Beck founded Rocket Lab in 2007 using seed investment from an entrepreneur so inspired by space travel that he changed his last name from Stevens to Rocket. The company’s first design, Atea-1, got its name from the Maori word for universe or space. Atea gained recognition as the first privately built rocket in the Southern hemisphere to reach space.

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When you’re orbiting in the International Space Station at an altitude of over 300km for weeks on end, comfort becomes a priority. To help astronauts and cosmonauts work comfortably, NASA is supplying them with New Zealand merino wool garments from Armadillo Merino, a UK-based company owned by South Islander Andy Caughey.

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horse fliesNecessity is the mother of invention. In the mid-1900s, with Australian farmers battling fly infestations and soldiers in the Pacific encountering malaria-harbouring mosquitos, Doug Waterhouse developed an aerosolised insect repellent he called ‘Aerogard’. A visit from the Queen led to a public demonstration that got the attention of the international market, Aerogard™ was snapped up by Mortein™, and Doug’s invention is now an essential summer companion for millions worldwide. But without a visiting monarch, who’s going to be there to find the next Aerogard™?

You can find more information on this Aussie invention here.

In January this year, the Australian government confirmed its commitment to raise $20 billion for a Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF). BioPacific sees this fund as a critical long-term policy to assist Australia’s world-leading researchers to reduce disease burden and contribute to economic growth.

When it reaches its goal, the MRFF will distribute $1 billion in annual funding in perpetuity for health and medical research. This will have an enormous impact on long-term research in Australia and its ability to improve lives and create breakthrough technologies.

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What contributes to a robust tax environment for businesses? According to The Tax Foundation’s International Tax Competitiveness Index, it’s over forty variables across the categories of corporate taxes, consumption taxes, property taxes, individual taxes, and international tax rules.

This year’s Index ranks New Zealand the second most competitive of the 34 OECD countries considered. Australia also comes in high with a rank of fifth. This indicates these two countries promote a high degree of international business competitiveness and are attractive environments for foreign investment. Both rank well above other prominent jurisdictions such as the United Kingdom (21st) and the United States (30th).

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New Zealand and Australia are looking to a more sustainable future by using green biotech to eschew the limited global reserves of non-renewable resources.

Creating butanone and 2-butanol from waste gases

University of Otago biochemists Dr Monica Gerth and Dr Wayne Patrick are working on a project that will enzymatically turn 2,3-butanediol into butanone and 2-butanol. They produce the precursor product in this research from waste carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide gases via a microbe licensed from Lanzatech.

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