$700m for R&D

Written By: - Date published: 1:48 pm, March 11th, 2008 - 8 comments
Categories: economy, labour - Tags: ,

lrg_robot_cow200.jpgThe Dom reports that “Prime Minister Helen Clark unveiled the $700 million funding boost for research, development and innovation projects today and said the fund would grow to around $1 billion as it earned interest over the next 10 to 15 years.

Industries would be expected to match the government’s commitment, causing the fund to grow to around $2 billion over the next 10 to 15 years.”

This is great news for the sector, it’s a policy that’s forward looking and builds on strengths we already have. It’s a hard policy to knock.

The right seems to have two attack lines when the government does stuff it actually supports but can’t bring itself to fully endorse. One is “this should have been done sooner” as if there were always enough money and resource to do everything that ever needed doing instantaneously. The other is “we support the result but not the process”, which allows them to get back to the important opposition business of framing the government as heavy-handed and controlling.

Tax cuts? Should have been earlier. R&D funding? Should have been earlier. Protection of strategic assets? We don’t like the process. It’s almost like playing linebook bingo.

8 comments on “$700m for R&D”

  1. Steve Pierson 1

    you’ve been waiting forever for an excuse to use that robotic cow picture, haven’t you?

  2. all_your_base 2

    Busted 😉

  3. Ray 3

    OK, it is great news but they have had 8 years to do this stuff.
    Why now, hell bent on getting rid of the surplus maybe

  4. Tane 4

    Well done repeating Farrar’s lines Ray.
    http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2008/03/the_food_and_pastoral_research_fund.html

    Also pays to read the post in question before commenting:

    The right seems to have two attack lines when the government does stuff it actually supports but can’t bring itself to fully endorse. One is “this should have been done sooner’ as if there were always enough money and resource to do everything that ever needed doing instantaneously…

  5. Brownie 5

    It might be a tired line but can you guys come up with a list of reasons as to why it hasn’t been done before? It’s a fair enough question qiven the amount of time we have had significant surpluses and a growing primary sector earnings. Also why are they throwing money at it now when the governments books are on the slide out of the black and into the red?

    Great pic, AYB.

  6. IrishBill 6

    Brownie, I would say that given primary producers have been doing very well for the last decade they might have thought it was best left to the market. Sadly the lack of R&D done by this sector shows that wasn’t a good idea. In my experience this government has, to their shame, been very reluctant to intervene in the market.

  7. Ari 7

    Brownie- why wasn’t it done before? The simple reality is that there’s only so much time in a day. 🙂

  8. AncientGeek 8

    Brownie:

    Also why are they throwing money at it now when the governments books are on the slide out of the black and into the red?

    There are two parts to a financial statement brownie. One is usually known in the commercial world as Profit and Loss. It measures how you did in the past year or quarter. It shows the interest paid of debt

    The other is known as a Balance Sheet. Amongst other assets and liabilities, it shows debt.

    Now have a look at the chart in Dolla Dolla Bill, Y’all. It isn’t long enough (complaint to posters – lets noty follow DPF’s short graph policy please..).

    Anyway if you show it back to say 1978 (when I joined the workforce), and show the interest on the P&L, you will see where a large chunk of my taxes have been going. Actually probably going from before you were alive…

    It is only over the last 4-5 years that government debt has dropped to an acceptable level. Personally I’d like it lower as it allows NZ to buffer external shocks more successfully. But is also means that the government can do things that aren’t just related to short-term survival. For instance starting to build infrastructure (like all of the roads that cause me to get stuck in traffic), start saving for the superannuation bulge (kiwisaver, and the ‘cullen’ fund), attempting to make it affordable to have children (to be future taxpayers – birth rate is starting to rise again), etc…

    They are now getting to the point that they can afford to pay for long-term R&D in our major exporting industries… Payback is in order of 20-30 years. But we can at last afford it. Well as long as Key doesn’t become minister of finance – he isn’t exactly fiscally conservative (look at the 2005 tax proposals).

    Does that answer your question?

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