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Greens need to learn what's already happening in innovation

Hon Steven Joyce
Minister of Science & Innovation
16 July 2014 Media Statement
Greens need to learn what's already happening in innovation

The Green Party needs to learn what's already happening with innovation in New Zealand before bursting out with old 2008 style rhetoric about the need for a more innovative economy, Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce says.

"The Greens, like Labour, have shown no interest in what's been happening with New Zealand's innovative businesses since Labour left government in 2008. That shows in their policy release today which is full of embarrassing 2008-style rhetoric which has long since been overtaken by time,” Mr Joyce says.

While the Greens and Labour have been asleep:

• Government investment in Research and Development has grown hugely and by 2015/16 will be 70 per cent higher than it was in 2008.

• Business R&D has grown as a percentage of GDP by 23 per cent in just one two year period from 2010 to 2012 as we move towards the Government's target of reaching 1 per cent of GDP.

• New Zealand's productivity grew 2.1 per cent in the most recently available year (to March 2013)

• New Zealand's ICT, high-tech and medium high-tech manufacturing companies have grown significantly and already make up nearly 8 per cent of New Zealand's total exports of goods and services (dairy is currently 22 per cent).

"It's good to see the Greens playing catch-up and endorsing our shift into encouraging more students in engineering, ICT and science careers, and our approach of dramatically increasing R&D Investment," Mr Joyce says.

"However, to be credible, they need to drop the Helen Clark era knowledge wave rhetoric about the need to diversify and so on, and concentrate on pushing in the direction New Zealand is already going under this government.

"Declaring that New Zealand agriculture, for example, needs to be more innovative and more about adding value shows an embarrassing lack of understanding about what is already happening.

“The Greens’ biggest problem with saying they would support innovative companies is that, along with their mates from Labour, they would slap a capital gains tax on every innovative business and farm in New Zealand to help pay for their expensive spending promises. That would really stifle innovation.

“The Government’s Business Growth Agenda is absolutely focused on a coherent set of policies that are lifting innovation and competitiveness across all industries in the New Zealand economy.”

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