Tomorrow is the Government’s last chance to avert disaster in our science and research sector with its National Statement of Science Investment (NSSI), Labour’s Science and Innovation spokesperson David Cunliffe says.
“Since Steven Joyce released the draft NSSI in May last year, he has gone on a spree of mergers and cuts that have rocked universities and research institutes to the core.
“The latest example was the slashing of 90 jobs at AgResearch. This was senseless and slammed by the sector.
“Former AgResearch leader Professor Ken McNatty called it ‘a national shame’ and the ‘largest loss of scientific talent’ since World War Two.
“The New Zealand Association of Scientists has called out the Minister for his obvious lack of long-term vision for research science in this country. Even the Prime Minister’s own Chief Science Advisor, Sir Peter Gluckman, can see that the contestable funding model is broken and is stymying our national research output.
“A report released on Friday by Motu Economic and Public Policy Research confirmed that New Zealand’s research sector is woefully underfunded by international standards. We are now in the bottom quarter of OECD countries.
“Steven Joyce and his spin machine can no longer get away with blaming the private sector for his policies that provide tax sweeteners for property speculators and penalise R&D.
“National must know that the science and research sector is rapidly approaching a crisis point without further investment. The NSSI is an opportunity for a major funding breakthrough. Steven Joyce must show leadership and announce a major increase to the research sector,” says David Cunliffe.