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Russel Norman: ‘smart, green’, innovation economy

Written By: - Date published: 1:47 pm, July 16th, 2014 - 34 comments
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Russel Norman has announced a policy that indeed does look to be “smart, green” with a focus on innovation.  It does look like moving NZ towards a “Green New Deal”, in a way that works with the current system.  I does involve partnerships with business in a way that does not aim to dismantle capitalism.

However, it does aim to reverse the direction away from the highly destructive neoliberal scam, and from many NAct-type PPD deals: towards giving government a stake in innovative businesses, rather than merely privatising profits, and socialising risk.

Turei Norman

There is a strong focus on partnership with businesses for promoting Research and Development.

The Tweet promoting the policy today:

Announcing our plan to transform how we create wealth   

Green policy smart green innovation

The summary:

Our plan to build a smarter, more innovative economy has as its centrepiece an additional $1 billion of government investment in research and development (R&D) above current spend, including tax breaks for business.

The Green Party’s plan for an innovative economy includes:

  1. $1 billion of new government funding over three years for research and development, kick-starting a transformational shift in how our economy creates wealth.
  2. Government taking a collaborative partnership approach to innovation with the private sector, which will include:
    • R&D funding made up of tax credits and grants;
    • a requirement for firms that go into overseas ownership to repay their grants;
    • a new voluntary option for large grants, where companies that receive significant taxpayer funds agree to the Government taking an equity stake in their business.
  3. The Green Party will fund an additional 1,000 places at tertiary institutions for students of engineering, mathematics, computer science, and the physical sciences.

Innovation is one of the best ways to add value to our exports, raise wages, and better protect the natural world we love.

Full details of the plan at the link.

I’m not keen on language focused on “how our economy creates wealth”.  It’s the language that the corporates and capitalists favour.

Russel Norman’s speech also evokes, moving away from Business as Usual and towards a sustainable future and fair employment and wages, and the benefits for all Kiwis.

He sites credible research:

Economist David Skilling’s study of small countries with advanced economies such as Denmark, Israel, and Finland found that one of the defining characteristics of their wealth was high investment in R&D.

Each has niche manufacturing industries that make up significant parts of their economies, while high tech industries make up a disproportionate share of their exports.

Each had agricultural-based economies in the 1970s, and while they haven’t abandoned agriculture, it now makes up a small proportion of their exports.

The plan involves tax credits and grants that shift the rewards to businesses that will benefit Kiwis rather than siphon profits overseas.  The will strengthen support for NZ “start-ups”.

These incentives will be linked with Norman’s previously announced policy for a Green Bank.

This policy exists within, and references a raft of other Green Party policies, many of which focus on narrowing the inequality gap, eliminating poverty, and creating a more fair and inclusive NZ.

 

34 comments on “Russel Norman: ‘smart, green’, innovation economy”

  1. tinfoilhat 1

    Thanks Karol

    It’s great to see some posts concentrating on what matters – great policy !

    • Chooky 1.1

      yes the Greens have their policy priorities well thought through…this is the Party to vote for!

    • lprent 1.2

      I was going to write about that. But I went shopping while a database load was running and slowing the system down. Forgot when I got back.

      The full policy announcement is a excellent and coherent read.

      However the real shocker was that the taxpayers union thinks it is “the lesser of two evils“. Someone doesn’t like Steven Joyce.

      • karol 1.2.1

        Interesting re-Taxpayers union.

        You would probably have done a better job of critiquing the policy, Lynn – it’s more in your field of experience.

        My post was created after a very stressful couple of days – still dealing with the headache.

      • Draco T Bastard 1.2.2

        ZOMG, the politicians might pick winners, oh woe is the Taxpayers Union

        Perhaps someone should tell them that in the US the politicians have been picking winners for decades and doing a better job of it than the private sector. It’s how they managed to land on the moon (with all the commercial spin-offs from that), develop computers (with all the commercial spin-offs from that) and develop a lot of life saving drugs (and the drug companies are still sucking on that teat to the tune US$9b per year). The private sector companies that made billions of dollars from that investment by the state then moved all their income into tax shelters so that the state didn’t get the return that it should have.

  2. aerobubble 2

    The oil glut that began with the discovery of Middle East Oil created a growing balloon of cheap high density liquid fuels. The West sat upon the surface growing underneath of cheaper and more ubiquitous energy. Its should have been obvious that the economics of the times would change and would only be sustainable during such an expansion. It would make many rich, many lazier, and many stupider, as easy times do that. Greed quickly took over, not the good greed of wanting to grow sustainably and moderately, no the ruthless self-serving greed of self destruction. The chorus came from the newspaper barons, the common denominator lowered as Greed took over and needed regular distraction to keep the masses sedated (an easy thing to do given the growing economy).

    That economy is dead. Neoliberalism is dead. The slogans and mantras of neoliberalism nowadays do not denote learning or success, but utter recklessly poor economic thinking. I have yet to find a economic principle held by the neo-liberal that works in the new economy, as they require a growing platform of cheap energy to even begin to make any sense, though their simplistic one size fits or black and white prescriptions were always dodgy.

    Green is the future. Party vote Green.

  3. Sable 3

    Read about this on one of the MSM sites and they even managed to be objective. NZ has some very clever people but there is no focus on research unlike Australia (well before Abbott turned up that is and started throwing cold water over PHD students) where the research training scheme is aimed at encouraging people to take on Masters and PHD’s by research.

    Of course I know this extends beyond uni’s and academic research but I tend to think how a nation treats its post-grads is a good indicator of its desire to build a knowledge economy.
    So far NZ has not done that well.

    So this is a yet again another good move from the Greens. Now if only old Cunliffe would put his ego to bed he might start to see the value in a coalition…

    • Chooky 3.1

      +100

    • Draco T Bastard 3.2

      NZ has some very clever people but there is no focus on research…

      No, we’ve left it to the private sector in the ‘market’ which has resulted in a decrease in research and innovation. Look at all the countries that show huge innovation and you will see the state taking a hand both in long term funding of R&D and actually carrying out that R&D in state institutions.

      Of course I know this extends beyond uni’s and academic research but I tend to think how a nation treats its post-grads is a good indicator of its desire to build a knowledge economy.
      So far NZ has not done that well.

      NZ seems to have an ingrained fear of the academic and there’s also that rather nasty cultural cringe that we have.

      • RedLogix 3.2.1

        By complete DtB contrast my current Aussie employer has a constant stream of Uni people in all sorts of roles through the place. Every time I’m on site somewhere for a few weeks when I get back it seems like a whole flock of new faces and projects they’re working on.

        No cultural ‘egg-head’ cringe here.

  4. Ant 4

    Didn’t realise our STEM subjects were currently limited by places, at the moment there seems to be a shortage of people wanting to study in those fields. For people I know working in science related fields, most have buggered off overseas because of lack of opportunity/variety/post-doc positions etc (unless you want to test milk or whatever).

    Has any party offered to reintroduce PG student allowance yet?

    • Zorr 4.1

      I am one of those wanting to return to University to retrain using my STEM background and go directly in to postgrad. Until I began looking at it, I didn’t realize they had completely scrapped the student allowance for postgrads. Needless to say, that plan went on the back burner because I cannot afford to do postgrad and work full time.

      One of the professors I know has told me that since the change came in, his postgrad course has lost over half its students and falling.

    • karol 4.2

      Well, the Greens policy is to have a universal allowance for all fulltime students. I would guess that mean postgrads as well as undergrads.

    • karol 4.3

      Oh look! This just came into my Twitter feed:

      @NZGreens announced the reinstatement of postgraduate allowances This is a great outcome for all students #nzpol

      • blue leopard 4.3.1

        Excellent news Karol, thanks 🙂

        • karol 4.3.1.1

          Actually, it’s in the full plan of the policy: page 19:

          The Green Party will:

          1. Launch a major national campaign promoting the benefits of a career in the sciences, maths, and engineering professions to young people;

          2. Re-establish student allowances for post graduate students costing $11.3 million per year;

          3. Establish new government funds for PhD scholarships in the priority areas of engineering, mathematics, computer and the physical sciences for R&D capability building;

          4. Create specific educational incentives for removing barriers to groups who are currently underrepresented to study engineering, mathematics, computer and the physical sciences;

          5. Increase funding for industry-based and co-funded Masters and PhD programmes in applied science and engineering;

          6. Increase funding for industry co-funded work experience for students in science and engineering.

          • Colonial Viper 4.3.1.1.1

            A simple question has not been answered by the Greens: once you successfully get thousands of extra young people into a “career in the sciences, maths and engineering professions” where are the thousands of new $45,000 jobs going to come from to help them pay off their $45,000 student loans?

            • Draco T Bastard 4.3.1.1.1.1

              That’s where we need a billion dollar plus space program. Creates those jobs and produces the necessary innovation to boost the economy.

            • karol 4.3.1.1.1.2

              Their tertiary education policy is to work towards debt free education, and includes a loan write off while they are getting rid of loans.

              The Green Party will:

              Introduce a debt write-off scheme so that, at the end of studies, each year the person stays in Aotearoa and contributes through paid or unpaid full time work, a year’s worth of debt will be wiped.

              Until the scheme is redundant, the Green Party will:

              Adjust repayment thresholds to start at a higher income level but introduce higher income bands that attract a higher rate of repayment.

              Support keeping the current zero-interest scheme.

              Make study costs tax-deductible for students who do not qualify for an allowance.

              2. Moving towards a universal student living allowance
              The Green Party supports the removal of barriers to participation in tertiary education, be they financial, cultural or social. One of the significant barriers to participation is the lack of financial support while studying. To address this, the Green Party supports:

  5. The Real Matthew 5

    So Russell is going to give 1 Billion dollars to his mates in the extreme risk “high tech” industry which sees companies come and go with every rising of the sun.

    And we are to believe that this is going to underpin the New Zealand economy going forward?

    • Draco T Bastard 5.1

      Whereas National are just giving hundreds of millions per year of taxpayer money to farmers despite the obvious high risk that the whole lot of them are going to go under over the next decade.

    • geoff 5.2

      Yeah better to do what National has done ay, keep pushing the interests of a dairying monoculture with plummeting milk solid prices and biotechnology snapping at their heels.

      http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/rural/249851/farmers-nervous-about-dairy-price-drop

      http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/farming/dairy/10258565/Milk-made-in-laboratories-to-hit-shelves

    • Colonial Viper 5.3

      Ah look, The Real Matthew, yet another right winger who doesn’t realise that to get big rewards, one must also take big risks.

      • Nick K 5.3.1

        Big risks with taxpayers money. That sums up this policy in 5 words.

        • Colonial Viper 5.3.1.1

          Yep. Because the private sector is rarely courageous enough to take the big risks that Government is able to; the private sector prefers a very high certainty of pay off and wherever possible, for the tax payer to backstop their failures as well.

          • Draco T Bastard 5.3.1.1.1

            +1

            That, of course, is the big message in The Entrepreneurial State. For decades the state has been taking the risks while the private sector have been pocketing the returns from those risks. And then they’ve been lying about it all coming from them.

      • Wreckingball 5.3.2

        That risks with your own money, not with others money. What right do you have to say what someone else should do with their hard earned coin?

    • Wreckingball 5.4

      Exactly Matthew spot on. The Greens want to invest our money, my taxpayer dollars in dodgy Greeny initiatives that will probably fail. Let the private sector do it when the payoff is there to be made.

      Remember the Green party’s investment in Windflow Technology? In 2001 they brought a whole lot of shares in Windflow Technology at $1.50, those same shares are now trading at 6 cents. That is a 96% decline.
      http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/BU0105/S00232/greens-invest-in-windflow.htm
      http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/9830698/Windflow-struggles-to-survive-but-profitability-in-sight

      No Viper, the private sector is willing to take risks but balances them with rewards. For a Government, the same risks are not there because they can just tax us more to dig themselves of a whole When an individual invests their money, they are much more careful with it than a Government who is investing other peoples money.

    • Real Matthew – better than giving it to Rio Tinto, Warner Bros, China Southern Airlines, Charter School subsidies, et al…

      Wreckingball – perhaps you should direct that comments at the National guvmint that is currently on a spending spree throwing our taxdollars at various corporates?

  6. Jrobin 6

    Anyone analysed differences with this and Labour policy. They look similar, good, coalition should be easy in terms of R&D. Good news on dairy front. Our rivers will be celebrating

    • karol 6.1

      I think there IS quite a lot of similarity between the 2 parties’ policies, which go back to the joint inquiry into the manufacturing crisis.

      Labour Policy on manufacturing.

      I can’t open the link to the policy on research and Development and tax credits on the Labour Party website.

      It’s mentioned in this article on TVNZ’s website.

      The main differences seem to me that Labour is going more for “incentives” (probably through amendments to legislation) while the Greens have some more concrete proposals : Labour to encourage more savings; Greens with the KiwiAssure/Green Bank ideas. Greens also, understandably putting stronger emphasis on sustainability

      On R & D – Labour seems to be going for tax incentives, Greens for tax incentives, plus grants, plus tertiary places for maths, engineering and science,…..etc.

  7. Tracey 7

    One of the first thin gs the nats did in 2009 was cut r and rebates.

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