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B2000: Investing in Knowledge

Hon Pete Hodgson
Minister of Research, Science and Technology

15 June 2000


Investing in Knowledge

The Government will invest over $43 million in research, science and technology next year, an increase of more than 10 percent, Minister of Research, Science and Technology Pete Hodgson said today.

The increase brings the total public investment in RS&T to $474 million. It includes a record injection of $20.8 million to partner private sector research and development.

"This is a Government that puts money where its mouth is when it comes to building a knowledge economy," Mr Hodgson said.

"We're providing the largest ever increase in Government support for private sector R&D because we want to stimulate it, not just complain about the lack of it. The support comprises a new $11.8 million grants programme and an increase of $9 million in funding for Technology New Zealand.

"We've opted for a grants approach rather than tax deductions because our advice was that grants were more effective. Tax deductions may be unavailable to innovative firms in the start-up phase, when the need for R&D support is often most urgent."

The extra funding for Technology New Zealand takes its budget to $24.7 million. The agency co-funds qualifying businesses to assess their technology needs, investigate new technology and place research graduates in industry.

"We have also increased public investment in basic research," Mr Hodgson said. "This is the work that builds New Zealand's knowledge base and leads to opportunities with major benefits for our society and the economy."

 The New Economy Research Fund increases by $2.9 million to a total of $50.8 million. It opens up new areas of research with an identifiable potential to create whole new types of business for New Zealand.

 The Marsden Fund increases by $2 million to $25.8 million. It supports curiosity-driven research at the frontiers of knowledge that has the potential to be of international significance.

Mr Hodgson said the Budget also introduced a more transparent way of allocating public investment in strategic research, replacing the Public Good Science Fund with five smaller, better targeted research funds.
Some $36 million has been moved from the former PGSF to the New Economy Research Fund, as previously announced. The new research funds include:
 Maori Knowledge and Development – increased by $0.5 million to $3.99 million.
 Social Research – increased by $0.6 million to $4.3 million.
In addition - Health Research has increased by $1.5 million to $33.4 million and funding of $0.55 million has been provided for the new Science and Innovation Advisory Council, which will provide advice directly to the Prime Minister on strengthening New Zealand's innovation system.

"This Budget represents a major commitment by the Government to developing New Zealand as a high-tech, high-skill, knowledge-based economy," said Mr Hodgson.


ENDS

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