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Nats take $1.5 billion from science system

9 October 2008

Nats take $1.5 billion from science system

National has misled scientists and rural organisations and communities about its intentions, Progressive Leader Jim Anderton said today.

Jim Anderton said National promised that the money it saved by its proposed cuts to the research and development tax credit would go to equivalent spending on science at universities and CRIs, making up for its plans to abolish the potentially $2 billion New Zealand Fast Forward initiative.

"Now, National says it will use all of the cash this Government is returning to businesses that invest in R&D for personal tax cuts. National is effectively raising the tax on business and short-sightedly eliminating the innovation and science we need for our leading primary industries to remain globally competitive.

"Federated Farmers have been quoted as saying farmers don't care how the science is funded as long as it gets done. Under National, science will neither get funding nor get done."

Less than a week ago National's science spokesperson Paul Hutchison assured scientists at Ruakura that they would have a secure funding environment. He told them the R&D tax credit would be invested in research budget baselines.

"It's not even been two weeks since they announced that policy and it's already been consigned to the dustbin.

"Using National's own figures, National is snatching about $1.5 billion off the science, rural, and primary industry business communities. That's a huge tax increase.

"That is hugely discouraging to some of our most innovative businesses, our most innovative scientists, and for our young people who were considering a future in science in New Zealand because of the opportunities offered by the New Zealand Fast Forward initiative."

ENDS

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