Dom Post: Igniting potential, but where are the matches?

In an opinion piece in the Dominion Post, Colin James wonders whether Prime Minister’s funding for Research, Science and Technology (RS&T) is quite as incendiary as claimed.

Having had a look at the amount of money Government will be spending on new initiatives, James suggests that the proportion being spent on RS&T isn’t big enough, to the potential future detriment of the country.

An excerpt: (read in full here)

“But let’s be fair to Mr Key, who has seen Kevin Rudd’s poll ratings plunge, a discomforting experience for a poll-watcher. Selling science to a complacent, gimme populace is tough. How many hip operations could you get for a boffin’s annual salary? Who cares that Weta Digital thinks up world-leading imaging technology?

“It is easier to promote staples – aquaculture, dairying, tourists and (with a half-pie skilful sales pitch) minerals. But factor in the recent slippage in former rhetoric that Thursday’s tax changes are supposed to be revenue-neutral. If they are not, then cuts in income tax will be part-funded by borrowing.

“The point – borrowing to pay for flat-screens or to move into an overpriced house does not increase incomes; borrowing for investment does, far more often than not.”