Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods has today welcomed German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier at an event in Wellington to celebrate 40 years of thriving science cooperation between New Zealand and Germany.
Today’s release of the 2016 Research and Development Survey figures shows that the Government is falling further behind its goal to be ‘better than comparable countries’, says Labour’s Research and Innovation Spokesperson Megan Woods.
“The figures show a government that is headed in the wrong direction. Government spending as a percentage of GDP actually fell to 0.26 per cent in 2016 – continuing a four year declining trend. Total R&D expenditure as a percentage of GDP is now a paltry 1.28 per cent – almost exactly where it was in 2012.
Kiwis affected by earthquakes might not get a fair deal if the Government pushes ahead with secret plans to let private insurers take over the assessment of claims, says Labour’s Canterbury spokesperson Megan Woods.
“Under questioning from Labour the Government has admitted that they’re in discussions to privatise a core function of EQC to decide how much a claim is worth, giving that function to the very businesses who have to pay out those claims.
The Earthquake Commission’s stubborn insistence on slashing its workforce and its operational funding by nearly half shows callous disregard for victims of the Kaikoura earthquake and the thousands of Cantabrians still waiting to resolve claims, says Labour’s Canterbury spokesperson Megan Woods.
“There are still thousands of claims outstanding six years later from the Canterbury earthquakes for remedial work and an estimated 50,000 more to come in as a result of the massive Kaikoura earthquake,” says Dr Woods.
Gerry Brownlee’s ridiculous suggestion that Labour would nationalise Christchurch’s east frame shows National has resorted to scare tactics to hide its failure to build desperately needed affordable houses in our city, Labour's Canterbury spokesperson Megan Woods says.
“Plans put in place by the Greater Christchurch Regeneration Minister have not yet delivered a single house or even the beginnings of site-works. The east frame should be well underway but instead they are waiting until there have been enough pre-sales to begin.
Anchor projects in the rebuild of Christchurch will be delayed because the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority has underspent it’s budget by $106 million, says Labour’s Canterbury Issues spokesperson Megan Woods.
“Treasury documents (Page 4) published today have revealed this underspend is due to delays in the land acquisition programme. Treasury says this means anchor projects will be delayed until the end of the financial year.
The Government’s shift in position to support a locally led Canterbury recovery is welcome, says Labour’s Canterbury spokesperson Megan Woods.
“We pulled our support for the Bill as it was reported back from Select Committee for the simple reason that it was a continuation of the top-down approach to the recovery that has delayed progress in Christchurch for years.
The Government should speed up the Canterbury recovery by putting smart, local people with a track record of making things happen in charge, instead of trying to micromanage from Wellington, says Labour’s Canterbury spokesperson Megan Woods.
“The Government’s legislation to establish Regenerate Christchurch has been released and proposes a messy, bureaucratic system where by this lead agency and local organisations like City Councils all have to submit different recovery plans to the Minister for sorting and approval. Labour cannot support this as it will mean more mess and delay for Canterbury.
The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority has had a major blowout in its public relations budget, despite the fact the organisation is meant to be winding down, says Labour’s Canterbury Spokesperson Megan Woods.
“CERA is meant to be closing up shop soon, but in the last financial year they had a 37% increase in the amount spent on public relation campaigns.