Greens: Govt's narrow-minded approach to R&D is killing Kiwi development

“Steven Joyce shouldn’t be picking winners, he should be strengthening the whole R&D environment and supporting markets to function properly through smart regulation."

The National Government’s research and development (R&D) strategy has failed, with no growth in the proportion of businesses investing in R&D since its first year in office, according to the Green Party.

As reported by Computerworld New Zealand, the Statistics NZ Business Operations Survey shows that in 2009 eight percent of businesses invested in R&D and that in 2014, the proportion of businesses investing in R&D was still just eight percent.

“Steven Joyce’s R&D experiment has clearly failed, with just eight percent of businesses investing in R&D, the same amount as during National’s first year in Government,” says James Shaw, Economic development spokesperson, Green Party.

“The Government claims to be aiming for business R&D investment to equal one percent of GDP, but its strategy for meeting this goal is to throw money at a small number of hand-picked businesses and ignore the rest.

“We need a balanced approach to R&D investment that includes tax credits for all businesses that invest in R&D as well as grants.”

According to Shaw, Joyce has put himself at the centre of a “complex mesh” of R&D funding, hand-picking winners and denying businesses freedom to choose their own innovative pathways.

“Steven Joyce shouldn’t be picking winners, he should be strengthening the whole R&D environment and supporting markets to function properly through smart regulation,” he adds.

“That will lead to prosperity across the whole economy. R&D is fundamental to building a smart, green economy through innovation and diversification, but the Government plans to cut Government R&D funding in real terms by 21 percent by 2023/24, according to the Draft National Statement of Science Investment.”

Shaw believes last week’s increase in the Current Account Deficit shows why the country’s economy is too reliant on simple commodity exports like dairy, raw logs, and mineral extraction.

“And also, why it needs more R&D and innovation to diversify our economy, grow wages, and add value to our exports,” he adds.

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