Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search


Research, Science and Innovation Strategy lacks ambition

12 November 2019

The government’s latest Research Science and Innovation (RSI) strategy lacks ambition and will do little, if anything, to promote increased investment in health and medical research, according to health research advocate New Zealanders for Health Research (NZHR).

Consultation on the RSI strategy has recently concluded and NZHR has told MBIE that basing the strategy on a ten year aspirational research and development (R&D) target of 2% of GDP is simply insufficient. “The overall OECD average investment in R&D currently stands at 2.4% of GDP, and many comparable small advanced economies are currently achieving R&D rates in excess of 3% - if New Zealand is to succeed in being internationally competitive our aspirational target needs to be at least 3% also” said NZHR Chief Executive Chris Higgins. “This is a big step up from our current 1.2% investment level, but we need to be bold”

“The situation for health R&D investment is even worse” said Mr Higgins. “The latest allocation stands at 0.8% of health care costs, which significantly below both the government’s 2.0% figure and NZHR’s recommended 2.4% target. The 2019 budget has specifically provided for no increases in health R&D for the next four years, and we’re forecasting that the figure will have fallen to 0.6% of health care costs by 2025.”

“84% of the amount specifically invested in health R&D is allocated to the Health Research Council (HRC). Although there’s a legal requirement for the HRC’s funding to be reviewed every three years, the last time this occurred was four years ago. NZHR recommends that a funding review takes place as part of developing the 2020 budget which results in allocating increases over the next four years which are at the very least consistent with achieving the government’s 2% target.”

“Furthermore, the RSI’s 15% R&D tax incentive, adopted by the government last year, is unlikely to significantly incentivise commercial investment in health R&D” said Mr Higgins “Or assessment is that it would need to be set at least 30% to offset systemic disincentives such as a hospital system which really isn’t geared up to partner with the commercial sector, and Pharmac’s purchasing and rationing practices”

“What’s at stake here is peoples’ lives and well-being” said Mr Higgins. “Fewer people now suffer from heart disease, many forms of cancer are curable or more survivable than they were up until a few years ago, and life threatening infectious diseases are mostly a thing of the past – all of these advances are the result of investing in health R&D and applying the findings to prevention and treatment of illness”

“But we still have big health challenges ahead of us. If we fail to invest adequately in health research now, current and future generations will needlessly suffer from potentially preventable and treatable illnesses, burdening both families and the health system with huge and unnecessary strain and costs”

“According to our latest Roy Morgan NZHR opinion poll three quarters of New Zealanders believe that the government’s budget for health and medical research is too low. With a general election set to take place in 2020 this would be a good time for all political parties to take notice and ensure that their election manifestos include real commitments to increasing public and commercial health R&D investment” said Mr Higgins

NZHR is chaired by Graham Malaghan, of the Wellington-based Malaghan Institute of Medical Research and is supported by universities, clinical research organisations, and organisations representing both the philanthropic and pharmaceutical industry sectors.

For a copy of NZHR’s submission on the RSI Strategy please click here,


© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


TradeMe: Property Prices In Every Region Hit New High For The Very First Time

Property prices experienced their hottest month on record in December, with record highs in every region, according to the latest Trade Me Property Price Index.\ Trade Me Property spokesperson Logan Mudge said the property market ended the year with ... More>>

Motor Industry Association: 2020 New Vehicle Registrations Suffer From Covid-19

Chief Executive David Crawford says that like some other sectors of the New Zealand economy, the new vehicle sector suffered from a case of Covid-19. Confirmed figures for December 2020 show registrations of 8,383 were 25% ... More>>

CTU 2021 Work Life Survey: COVID And Bullying Hit Workplaces Hard, Huge Support For Increased Sick Leave

New data from the CTU’s annual work life survey shows a snapshot of working people’s experiences and outlook heading out of 2020 and into the new year. Concerningly 42% of respondents cite workplace bullying as an issue in their workplace - a number ... More>>

Smelter: Tiwai Deal Gives Time For Managed Transition

Today’s deal between Meridian and Rio Tinto for the Tiwai smelter to remain open another four years provides time for a managed transition for Southland. “The deal provides welcome certainty to the Southland community by protecting jobs and incomes as the region plans for the future. The Government is committed to working on a managed transition with the local community,” Grant Robertson said. More>>


OECD: Area Employment Rate Rose By 1.9 Percentage Points In The Third Quarter Of 2020

OECD area employment rate rose by 1.9 percentage points in the third quarter of 2020, but remained 2.5 percentage points below its pre-pandemic level The OECD area [1] employment rate – the share of the working-age population with jobs – rose ... More>>

Economy: Strong Job Ad Performance In Quarter Four

SEEK Quarterly Employment Report data shows a positive q/q performance with a 19% national growth in jobs advertised during Q4 2020, which includes October, November and December. Comparing quarter 4, 2020, with the same quarter in 2019 shows that job ad volumes are 7% lower...More>>

NIWA: 2020 - NZ’s 7th-warmest Year On Record

The nationwide average temperature for 2020, calculated using stations in NIWA’s seven-station temperature series which began in 1909, was 13.24°C (0.63°C above the 1981–2010 annual average). New Zealand’s hottest year on record remains 2016, when... More>>

Quotable Value New Zealand: Property Market Set To Cool From Sizzling To Warm In 2021

Nostradamus himself could not have predicted the strange series of events that befell our world in 2020 – nor the wild trajectory of New Zealand’s property market, which has gone from “doom and gloom” to “boom and Zoom” in record time. Even ... More>>