Govt’s R&D experiment has failed

The National Government’s research and development (R&D) strategy has failed, with no growth in the proportion of businesses investing in R&D since its first year in office, the Green Party said today.

The Statistics NZ Business Operations Survey, released on 20 March 2015, shows that in 2009 eight percent of businesses invested in R&D and that in 2014, the proportion of businesses investing in R&D was still just eight percent.

“Steven Joyce’s R&D experiment has clearly failed, with just eight percent of businesses investing in R&D, the same amount as during National’s first year in Government,” Green Party economic development spokesperson James Shaw said.

“The Government claims to be aiming for business R&D investment to equal one percent of GDP, but its strategy for meeting this goal is to throw money at a small number of hand-picked businesses and ignore the rest.

“We need a balanced approach to R&D investment that includes tax credits for all businesses that invest in R&D as well as grants.

“Steven Joyce has put himself at the centre of a complex mesh of R&D funding, hand-picking winners and denying businesses freedom to choose their own innovative pathways.

“Steven Joyce shouldn’t be picking winners, he should be strengthening the whole R&D environment and supporting markets to function properly through smart regulation. That will lead to prosperity across the whole economy.

“R&D is fundamental to building a smart, green economy through innovation and diversification, but the Government plans to cut Government R&D funding in real terms by 21 percent by 2023/24, according to the Draft National Statement of Science Investment.

“Last week’s increase in the Current Account Deficit shows why our economy is too reliant on simple commodity exports like dairy, raw logs, and mineral extraction, and why we need more R&D and innovation to diversify our economy, grow wages, and add value to our exports,” Mr Shaw said.


The Statistics NZ Business Operations Survey happens every two years and provides data on a sample size of nearly 38,000 businesses with six or more staff. 89% of NZ workers work in businesses with six or more staff.