The Government’s science policy has again been slammed as inadequate and lacking any strategic direction, says Labour’s Science and Innovation spokesperson, David Cunliffe.
“University of Waikato Professor of Agribusiness Jacqueline Rowarth has today criticised Steven Joyce as Minister, highlighting the frustration with the government’s short-term approach to an essential public good.
“Her comments that critical underfunding of core agricultural science is sending a dire signal to schools about the importance of science are a wakeup call.
"Steven Joyce is calling for more scientists while failing to deliver funding to keep young Kiwi scientists here.
"Instead, scientists are chasing their tails bidding into contestable pools where their chances of success average about 7 per cent. That is a shocking waste of time and effort.
“The Minister has failed to engage with the sector, who know that chasing so much commercial funding is inhibiting the quality of research and driving scientists offshore.
“Even Sir Peter Gluckman, the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor, thinks that we are falling into a trap ‘with too much end user involvement in the contestable funding system.’
“When the government’s own advisors are sounding the alarm bells and leaders like Professor Rowarth are wondering whether the government has any science policy at all, serious questions need to be asked.
"New Zealand faces a choice - either invest more wisely in science and innovation or see our future prosperity ebb away," David Cunliffe said.