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Will Labour listen to research concerns this time?

Dr Paul Hutchison
National Party Research, Science & Technology Spokesman

1 November 2006

Will Labour listen to research concerns this time?

Labour ministers have again pontificated about 'economic transformation' at the Capitalising on Research seminar in Auckland today, but they will most likely ignore the speakers at this conference, as they did with Knowledge Wave, says National's Science spokesman, Dr Paul Hutchison.

"Major messages from the Knowledge Wave Conference four years ago were that New Zealand should be much bolder in its investment in research and development. They talked about the missing billion dollars!

"The environment in which to carry out both business and research needs improvement, yet Labour has done nothing, and in certain areas, such as the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act, made it more difficult.

"After nearly seven years of Labour, total investment in science, research and development has stayed much the same as a percentage of GDP, and as Trevor Mallard admitted yesterday 'business R & D intensity of 0.5 percent of GDP places us a full percentage point below the OECD average'.

"Despite last year's speech from the throne stating that 'science and innovation are critical to driving our prosperity', in this year's Budget only $19.4 million in new money went to science, research and development.

"Michael Cullen, Steve Maharey and Trevor Mallard have for seven years preached their socialist ideology to seminar after seminar, but under Labour the economy has actually been transformed backwards relative to countries such as Australia.

"National, which Labour blocked from attending the latest seminar, is committed to a much bolder approach to science, research and development, including creating a far more business-friendly regulatory environment."

ENDS


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