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What Happened To The Mandate?


On a daily basis the Labour-led coalition tells New Zealanders that it has to proceed with the Employment Relations Bill, the re-nationalisation of accident insurance and the abolition of bulk funding because it campaigned on these issues and it therefore has a mandate to proceed with them, says Opposition Research Science & Development Spokesman Maurice Williamson.

"Dr Cullen's statement that the tax breaks for research and development promised prior to the Election have now been ruled out makes no mention of his Government's much-lauded mandate.

"Labour also campaigned* on tax breaks for R & D and it reinforced this policy in the Speech from the Throne*. Today's announcement is a clear signal that when it suits Dr Cullen and his colleagues they are quite happy to forget all about the campaign, the manifesto, the mandate and the Throne.

"We can only hope that now he's set the precedent, Dr Cullen will be able to drop some more of the loony policies that are about to be inflicted upon us," Mr Williamson said.

Ends

Inquiries: Maurice Williamson 021 429 556

*See attached excerpts. Speech from the Throne R,S & T

The most important need is to boost research in science and technology. A high level Science and Innovation Advisory Council will be established to report to the Prime Minister to ensure that this occurs. The economic potential of research is only fully realised if development follows. New Zealand's record in this respect is not good. My government will change the taxation regime to ensure that it is more favourable in its treatment of research and development costs. This will be accompanied by a review of the depreciation regime to encourage investment in new plant and equipment. My government will also work with business to extend the Government Research in Industry Fund. Centres will be established to enable graduate students and staff, whose work has commercial relevance, to prepare their work for transfer to the marketplace. Labour Policy Document: It should generally be a function of the private sector to directly fund the development and commercialisation of technologies. However, the Government needs to take a lead to encourage industry to fund research and take up innovation. Labour will provide incentives for the private sector to fund research and development. Labour will: * allow all research and development expenditure, for tax purposes, to be eligible for full expensing in the year of investment; * accelerate the depreciation regime for new capital investment in technology. Some investment will be eligible for expensing in the year of purchase. It is important that the taxation system keeps abreast of, or even anticipates, the speed of technological change; * review the cost of protecting research and development investment, including patents and licences; * review the provisions of the Securities Act 1979 in order to increase fundraising options for small and medium-sized businesses. This will make it easier for businesses to raise capital through issuing equity securities; * remove barriers to investment in research, science and technology for the private sector through Technology New Zealand (see below); * establish a new Local Economic Assistance Fund (LEAF) to encourage the development of local economic initiatives. Further details are provided in Labour's industry development policy. More effective linkages must be developed between research, science and technology, and industry. We need an infrastructure environment where industry is encouraged to take up innovation.

ends

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