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R & D fund a 'gimmick' says National

John Key MP National Party Leader

11 March 2008

R & D fund a 'gimmick' says National

National Party Leader John Key says National will make a significant increase in funding for agricultural research and development, but it does not support the model announced by Labour today.

"Helen Clark has been eager to talk up her new $700 million fund. The real question is: on an annual basis, how much extra will research and development get?

"Labour's model carries a considerable risk, and will be at the mercy of the investment strategy employed.

"What will happen in a bad year? How will the money be invested? What are the forecast returns?"

National doesn't think the fund as described is the right vehicle for advancing New Zealand's investment in research and development with certainty.

"We support funding models that encourage partnership between government and industry but we are not convinced that the fund, as described, is the best model for achieving this collaboration.

"It is disappointing that it has taken until election year for the Labour Government to announce a gimmicky funding formula.

"The so-called 'fast-forward fund' has been a bit slow coming forward.

"What this now appears to be is an effort by the Government to make its contribution look bigger than it really is. Helen Clark should reveal how much extra, per year, the sector can bank on.

"National will be rolling out a comprehensive research and development policy closer to the election. We will make long-term funding commitments that provide certainty to the sector because we see it as a way of lifting productivity and helping to make New Zealand a smarter nation."

ENDS

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