The National Government’s research and development (R&D) strategy has failed, with a lower proportion of businesses now engaging in R&D than when they took office, the Green Party said today.
The Statistics NZ Business Operations Survey released today shows that in 2009, eight percent of businesses engaged in R&D. In 2016, that number had fallen to seven percent. Labour productivity data also out today tells a similar story, with labour productivity growth at its lowest levels, over the growth cycle, since 1996.
"Steven Joyce’s R&D experiment has failed, with just seven percent of New Zealand businesses investing in R&D, one point lower than when National took office,” Green Party Co-leader James Shaw said.
“Labour productivity over the economic cycle is also at a low not seen since 1996!
“National’s economy is one that has New Zealanders working longer and harder, but not smarter.
“Innovation creates the know-how to do more with less, which means we can add value to our exports and protect the natural world that supports us. Innovation is essential to our long-term ability to prosper and compete internationally.
“Steven Joyce has created an innovation system that doesn’t work.
“From my discussions with business leaders, it’s clear to me that Steven Joyce’s system of R&D grants has simply created an industry of R&D grant application writers. This is leaving start-ups and SMEs, who don’t have the resources, out of the picture.
“The Green Party in government will rebalance our approach to R&D investment, giving businesses access to tax credits for R&D as well as grants.
“Our economy is too reliant on simple commodity exports like dairy, raw logs, and mineral extraction. More R&D and innovation will, in the long run, help diversify our economy, grow wages, and add value to our exports,” Mr Shaw said.