Scientists 'gasping for oxygen' under National

 Steven Joyce's claims to be creating a science and innovation hub in New Zealand are a sham based on PR fluff, says Labour's Science and Innovation Spokesperson David Cunliffe. 

“A damning critique of the science funding model by the New Zealand Association of Scientists shows that discontent in the sector is at boiling point.

“The Association's President, Dr Craig Stevens, told  Radio New Zealand that Kiwi scientists are 'gasping for oxygen' under Steven Joyce's dismal leadership of the sector. 

“A new analysis of the bidding war National has created, suggests the cost to the economy of failed applications could now outstrip the benefit from the lucky few that secure grants. That's an embarrassing revelation for this increasingly out of touch Government. 

"With as few as 2 per cent of applicants to Steven Joyce's experimental 'Smart Ideas' fund likely to secure grants this year, the fund doesn't sound like a very smart idea. That's a pitiful waste of time for the 98% of Kiwi scientists that will spend valuable time preparing applications. 

“The Association will debate the broken funding model and other issues crippling the sector at its annual conference this weekend. Steven Joyce would do well to listen to the science experts rather than his army of spin doctors.

"Steven Joyce must make good on promises made in his long overdue National Statement of Science Investment last year before it's too late and our talented young Kiwi scientists head overseas in frustration. 

“NZ currently invests just 1.17 per cent of GDP on research and development, far below other small advanced economies such as Denmark, Finland and Israel that typically invest between 3 and 4% of GDP on research and development. 

"At a time when the folly of the Government's obsession with chasing revenue from cyclical export commodities such as dairy has never been more apparent, the need to foster a culture of innovation has never been more pressing. 

"Steven Joyce needs to do away with his broken funding model and back Kiwi scientists and innovators with real investment. Many eyes will now be on the commitments to science and innovation made in Budget 2016," says David Cunliffe.