TVNZ Q&A: Andy West on the science system

Former Agresearch CEO Andy West talks to Paul Holmes about where the focus needs to be in science sector investment.

An excerpt: (Click here to read the transcript or watch the interview)

PAUL Now, you see, why would you pour your money into R and D, actually? Is there any actual evidence that spending more on R and D increases economic performance?

ANDY There’s a lot of circumstantial evidence to show that successful countries all spend a lot of money on R and D, virtually all of them, and you could say, ‘Look, they spend it cos they’re rich, they can’t think of anything else to do with their money,’ but it’s not a very convincing argument to me. They have got rich by actually making that investment, but along with other ones, like education, like access to investment capital, like access to markets – those are the four great things you need. The company I work for, Seales, small company, makes animal nutrition products. We need capital, we need labour, we need knowledge and technology from R and D, and access to markets.