Science and innovation ‘key elements of economic agenda’ – PM John Key

Key spch ParliamentIn his opening speech to Parliament, Prime Minister John Key has signaled increased spending for science and innovation as part of his overall plan to improve New Zealand’s economic health.

This spending will be strongly linked to industry engagement with public sector science, and will focus on targeted research and development rather than basic research.

An excerpt:

“The challenge for New Zealand is to get more of our firms using science, research and technology to deliver more valuable products and services, which in turn allows them to succeed in competitive export markets and to create new and better-paid jobs for New Zealanders.

“Science and innovation are therefore key elements of the Government’s economic agenda, both this year and into the future.

“Our objective is a high-performing public science system which supports economic growth, and a wider innovation system that encourages firms to increase their investment in, take-up, and application of research.

“…Science and innovation, and how they can underpin business opportunities, are so important for this Government that we have made this area a priority for new spending in this year’s Budget, with a focus on boosting business research and science capability.”

Watch and read the full speech here.

Reaction from key figures and science bodies includes:

Prof Sir Peter Gluckman, Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor comments:

“This speech represents a very significant reawakening of New Zealand’s attitude towards science and technology.

“No longer will science be seen as a cost to the New Zealand economy, but rather as a major and underpinning investment for New Zealand’s economic growth, social development, environmental protection and international reputation.”

Full statement here. (PDF)

Dr Garth Carnaby, President of the Royal Society of New Zealand comments:

“[The Prime Minister’s comments] show an elevation in the significance of science. The Prime Minister’s speech has signalled an unprecedented role for research, science and technology to transform New Zealand business.

“We welcome the promise of new resources to enable young scientists to structure their life-long contribution to their science speciality.”

Full statement here.

John Morgan, chairman of Science New Zealand and chief executive of NIWA, comments:

“The Prime Minister could not have put it more clearly when he said that New Zealand’s future economic performance depends to a large extent on generating and using new ideas.

“New Zealand can only improve its economic performance relative to other countries by increasing the value of the goods that we export.  That means not just more of the high quality produce we currently export, but new and exciting products and services that support high-paying jobs back here. […]

“The Crown Research Institutes also applaud Government’s commitment to improving the public science system, so that we can become even better as engines of science for New Zealand’s benefit,  and thus key elements in the nation’s international competitiveness.”

Full statement here.

Bronwyn Dilley, Chief Executive of NZBIO comments:

“The Government’s goal of encouraging more firms to use research, science and technology to deliver more valuable products and services will increase the number of New Zealand firms actively engaging in export markets and in turn creating new and well paid jobs for New Zealanders.”

Full statement here.