Greens: $1b for research and development

Last updated 17:05 16/07/2014
Russel Norman
KENT BLECHYNDEN/Fairfax NZ
RUSSEL NORMAN: The current government was too focused on commodities.

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A Green Government would pour $1 billion into research and development tax breaks - but companies who get large grants would be asked to give the taxpayer a stake in their business.

The party this morning launched the policy, promising the funds injection over three years. It would be channelled into ICT, renewable energy and manufacturing.

On top of that, Greens co-leader Russel Norman also says the party would pay $50 million a year to get 1000 more engineering, maths, and science students into tertiary education.

And a further $20 million will go towards adopting recommendations from a Government-commissioned Powering Innovation report.

The R&D funding would be made up of tax credits and grants. Companies who fall into overseas ownership would have to repay any grants. 

There would also be a "voluntary option" where those who get significant taxpayer funding would give up an equity stake to the Government.

Norman says the current government is too focused on commodities and a "knowledge gap" has opened up between Kiwis and the rest of the world.

The party's policy documents also pointed to a 21 per cent cut in research investment by 2024.

Implementation of the policy would be driven by an "expert group" made up of scientists, academics and Maori.

Norman said the Greens were the only party going into the election pledging "significant" R&D investment.

However, economic development minister Steven Joyce says the Greens have "been asleep" and says R&D investment will be 70 per cent higher in 2016 than it was in 2008.

"It's good to see the Greens playing catch-up and endorsing our shift into encouraging more students in engineering, ICT and science careers, and our approach of dramatically increasing R&D investment," he said.


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