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Innovation poll grounds for optimism

Media statement
Thursday, October 9th, 2003

Innovation poll grounds for optimism

New Zealand businesses may be significantly under reporting their investment in innovation and r&d, a poll conducted prior to today's InnovationVoyage New Product Development Summit shows.

The Employers & Manufacturers Association (Northern) hosting the event polled the 400 plus delegates attending three days prior and reported the findings back today.

The private sector may be investing far more in innovation and r&d than is officially recognised, said EMA's chief executive, Alasdair Thompson.

"70 per cent of responses to our survey told us they treat r&d for accounting purposes the same as any other business cost," Mr Thompson said. "30 per cent treat it separately for accounting purposes.

"They may be under reporting their commitment to r&d since, until last year, it was not able to be wholly deducted as an ordinary business expense for tax purposes.

"The issue has major ramifications for promoting the importance of innovation to New Zealanders.

"Though the attendees at the Summit are all innovation leaders, the poll results are grounds for optimism.

"When asked why their firm invested in R&D, 41 per cent said it was part of their strategy for growing their business, with a further 39 per cent stating it was in the expectation of generating future profitable products and services.

"57 per cent of those responding say their business is enjoying high or very high returns from their r&d investment, and 67% said they are increasing their spend on it.

"79 per cent said the payback from r&d is getting better, higher than 5 or 10 years ago.

"The main constraints to doing more research stated in the order of priority: access to finance, a lack of appropriates research skills and the cost of appropriate research skills."

ENDS

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