PM: Science should be “at the heart of Government”

Prime Minister John Key this evening launched the Primary Growth Partnership, which will inject funding into public-private research and development and innovation partnerships “to boost the economic growth and sustainability of New Zealand’s primary, forestry and food sectors”.

The Government can make matching contributions alongside industry investors, in projects that relate to pastoral (including wool) and arable production, horticulture, seafood (including aquaculture), forestry and wood products, food processing (nutriceuticals and bioactives).

An allocation of $30 million in Government funding has been put aside for the 2009/10 year, $40 million for 2010/11, $50 million for 2011/12 and $70 million per annum from 2012/13 with the intention that the funding will be ongoing. The funding is additional to money already flowing into agricultural science through the Foundation of Research, Science and Technology.

Click below to listen to the Prime Minister’s speech at the launch of the PGP:


Some excerpts:

On the role of science in the economy:

“It’s my view that we need to put science at the heart of this National-led Government. If we don’t do that we are simply not going to get the economic gains that New Zealand needs and we won’t have the standard of living that we deserve. And it’s not a lot more complicated than that.”

On the emissions trading scheme and climate change:

“I make no apologies about wanting to delay the entry of agriculture into the emissions trading scheme. I think New Zealand farmers actually deserve to have some more time until we work out what is, under any definition, a hideously complex thing for the agricultural sector.

“The reality is its not just working out where the point of obligation is but what farmers can actually do about that.

“Surely if the world can share technology then we can resolve the challenges not only that New Zealand faces, but that the rest of the world faces.”

SOme of the funding will be set aside for the Centre for Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research, which is being set up to tackle the issue of agricultural greehouse gas emissions.