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N.Z. Left Behind In High-Tech Race

"With Labour's promise to allow full expensing of Research and Development still unkept, while Australia introduces a comprehensive $3.625 billion policy to promote R&D, New Zealand is being left behind in the high-tech race," says Alasdair Thompson, Chief Executive of the Employers & Manufacturers Association.

"I am alarmed about our low level of investment in technology. The gap is widening as we remain stuck on generation one technological infrastructure as others move up from generation two to third generation levels of technology."

"The EMA has consistently warned that New Zealand's economic potential is being seriously held back by falling R&D budgets and a lack of medium and high-tech manufacturing."

"A just completed EMA survey shows that business says the tax system holds the key to faster growth."

"For example, policies providing tax preference to invest in education, training, R&D and exporting all had strong support."

"74 per cent of firms rated expensing of R&D as very important, while 49 per cent said it was important for Government funded research agencies to be subsidised dollar for dollar if they contracted directly with business."

"The Employers & Manufacturers Association is joining with CRI Industrial Research Ltd to hold two seminars in Auckland in March to highlight, to business, the support available to them to undertake innovative research and development from a range of Government programmes."

"The truth is though, these programmes fall a long way short of what Australia already offers without taking account of the latest Australian Government initiative to promote innovation, research, development and the retention of researchers, inventions and skills in Australia."

"Time is fast running out for the Government and business to lift New Zealand's effective investment in high technology," concluded Mr Thompson.

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