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R&D Statistics Show NZ Is A Nation Of Innovators

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

R&D STATISTICS SHOW KIWIS ARE A NATION OF INNOVATORS

Australian Bureau of Statistics innovation comparison reveals New Zealand businesses more innovative than Australian businesses

Auckland, 4 May 2005 - New Zealand Innovation, the organisation behind the nationwide celebration of Kiwi innovation and entrepreneurship taking place around the country, says increases in research and development (R&D) expenditure reflect a growing culture of innovation in New Zealand.

Statistics NZ announced today that total R&D expenditure in New Zealand in 2004 was $1.6 billion. The organisation says R&D comprises creative work undertaken on a systematic basis by New Zealand businesses in order to increase the stock of knowledge. Primary characteristics of R&D are originality and investigation.

Amie Nilsson, NZ Innovation said the need to increase R&D expenditure and be innovative was a consistent message from NZ business leaders and government officials speaking at the Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch launches of the NZ Innovation Festival.

At the Auckland launch (Monday, 2 May 2005) Bob Major, Director, Marketing and Innovation, said Fonterra spends around $100 million per year on research and development, making it the largest funder of R&D in the country outside of the government.

Amie Nilsson says the R&D definition encapsulates the art of innovating, something New Zealand businesses are doing more of than ever before - and at a greater rate than their Australian counterparts.

"According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, which compared the most recent innovation statistics in New Zealand and Australia*, the proportion of businesses innovating in New Zealand was 42%, compared with 40% in Australia.

"While some differences occurred at the industry level in the proportion of businesses innovating, it confirms that despite its relatively small size, New Zealand was a more innovative and entrepreneurial country as it makes its way in the world by recognising the importance of commercializing original ideas rather than relying on an abundance of natural resources."

Statistics NZ said 2004 R&D expenditure was made up of private sector expenditure ($648.1 million), government sector (excluding universities) expenditure ($498.4 million) and university expenditure ($454.8 million).

ENDS

*Australian Bureau of Statistics, Innovation in Australian Business, released February 2005: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/385486A1F2F46791CA256FAA0073BF91

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