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National must stop telling porkies about R&D

6 September 2006

National must stop telling porkies about R&D

National is continuing to mislead to dodge the fact it has no R&D policy and no commitment to increase funding, says Research, Science and Technology Minister Steve Maharey.

He was referring to comments made by Dr Paul Hutchison at a Molecular Biology conference in Queenstown last week, which were reported in the Waikato Times.

"Dr Hutchison claimed the government had abandoned a bi-partisan goal of lifting science investment to the OECD average of 0.68 percent of GDP.

"Lifting science funding to the OECD average is a stated goal of the Labour-led government, but is not a policy of the National Party, and certainly has never been bi-partisan.

"National has no goal for the level of R&D funding.

"I understand Dr Hutchison was challenged from the floor to state how much National would commit to R&D funding but, to the amusement of the audience, was unable to provide an answer.

"He also claimed $19.4 million was invested this year in science, when the actual figure is around $640 million.

"Dr Hutchison needs to get his facts right and explain what National's policy on R&D is, to avoid becoming the butt of jokes in the science sector."

Steve Maharey said Dr Hutchison also made the outrageous claim that New Zealand's best scientists were working offshore.

"I am sure these remarks are deeply offensive to the many world-ranked scientists working in our universities and research centres. Dr Hutchison is proving himself totally irrelevant to the science debate."

ENDS

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