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Seven year science wait wasn’t worth it

After seven years in office and a year of consultation, today’s Statement of Science Investment (NSSI) was not worth the wait, Labour’s Science and Innovation spokesperson David Cunliffe said today. 

"Even as far out as 2025, the targeted total science investment of 1.8 per cent does not even reach today's OECD average and falls well short of smart small countries who invest 3 to 4 per cent of their GDP.

"That is despite evidence in the report that a third of the gap between New Zealand and the OECD is due to a lack of R and D investment. Innovation by New Zealand companies is still less than 2009 levels. 

"And the NSSI document shows just how far behind other countries New Zealand research is currently in terms of published academic reports. 

"The NSSI plan doesn’t even match the Government’s target which is late and simply not enough. 

"The Performance Based Research Fund (PBRF) is at best static to 2017. Funding for the much trumpeted regional research centres is a joke. 

“The NSSI omits any mention of post-doctoral research funding in spite of the fact that there were 50 submissions calling for it – showing the Government has not listened. 

"There is no commitment to the policy changes needed to grow healthy levels of company investment in Research and Development. Our tax system still doesn’t favour R and D investment.  Gaps in commercialisation and development remain.

"The useful work of officials has not been matched by a proper policy commitment from the National Government. It has taken seven years to write its first science strategy and has failed to deliver the step change in policy or funding New Zealand so desperately needs,”  David Cunliffe says.