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OutLook Report on Innovation Released

NZMEA Media Release

Friday, 14 March 2008.


The New Zealand Manufacturers and Exporters Association (NZMEA) releases its OutLook report titled, ‘Horses for Courses – Fixing the Growth Problem in New Zealand’.

“The report highlights that the innovation process differs on a sector by sector basis and policy support that accommodates the differences is required to deliver a more robust and diversified economic base, rather than programmes aimed at funding selected ‘winners’”, says Chief Executive John Walley.

“Research and technology transfer targeted at the agricultural sector has a well defined and pretty well constrained landscape; industrial innovation lacks that natural coherence. Policies targeted at supporting innovation must match the needs of individual sectors”.

“It is an interesting point that research and development investment here in New Zealand by government and companies more closely mirror those of Latin America and Eastern Europe than the OECD – we need to see greater investment in this regard”.

“One size does not fit all and it makes sense not to build our future around selected sectors”, says Mr. Walley.

“Faster growth across a diverse economy will be required to reverse New Zealand’s slide down the OECD Rankings. For example, during the same week as the Government announced the launch of the ‘New Zealand Fast Forward Programme in Pastoral and Food Industries’, Feltex announced that it was cutting manufacturing jobs at two of its Lower North Island plants and Statistics New Zealand released figures showing that labour productivity grew by only 0.5 percent for the year ending March 2007, while capital and multifactor productively growth both fell below zero”.

“As long as Government continues to centralise innovation support, essentially picking some sector over others, we expect the economy to be distorted and low growth outcomes to continue. The question surrounding schemes such as the Fast Forward fund is the return on the investment to the economy as a whole and not the immediate benefits to the selected recipients. Our economy needs more diversity and the industrial sector needs different and better support”.

To view the OutLook, click http://www.mea.org.nz/document.aspx?id=360


NZMEA – the authentic and independent voice for manufacturers and exporters.


ENDS

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