Govt focuses on lack-lustre research and development spend

The government has today launched the second of six reports into the state of New Zealand's economy and business.

New Zealanders should spend more on research and development, Prime Minister John Key says.

In the latest round of "launches," Mr Key and science and innovation minister Steven Joyce launched their second business growth report-building innovation.

Last week, the government launched its export market report, outlining its plan to see exports increase in value by 2025 to contribute 40% of GDP.

In his latest report, Mr Joyce focused on what he says are seven key areas:

  • Encouraging innovation.
  • Strengthening research institutions.
  • Boosting public science investment.
  • Growing the innovation workforce.
  • Developing innovation infrastructure.
  • Improving intellectual property settings.
  • Building international links.

According to the ministry’s information, New Zealand’s focus on research and development falls below OECD averages. Just 1.3% of total GDP goes towards R&D. It compares with the OECD average of 2.4%.

One way Mr Joyce believes he can improve the figures is by establishing a new advanced technology institute to encourage more innovation in the manufacturing and services sectors.

The government has put aside $166 million over the next four years for the centre.

Mr Joyce says it will be a one-stop shop to connect high-tech firms to innovation and business development expert help and support within the centre, around the country and internationally.

“It will focus on industries with significant growth potential such as food and beverage manufacturing, agri-technologies, digital technologies, health technologies and therapeutics manufacturing, and high-value wood products.

"This will encourage innovation, competition and greater commercialisation in these sectors,” Mr Joyce says.

The centre will also take over from Industrial Research Ltd, whose chairman Michael Ludbrook and board member Richard Janes are taking board positions at the new centre.

The government is also keen to establish a new small advanced economies group, to get together with other similar countries from around the world and focus on how to be in a better position to take advantage of the global environment.

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