At lunchtime today it is expected that the government will announce a major funding boost to promote innovation in food science, agricultural research and production.
So can we expect National to support the plan? At least Mr Key has been given the heads up to get an answer sorted out (unlike last week’s shakey non-answers over National’s position on the sale of Auckland Airport shares).
If we at what Mr Key has said in the past we can look forward to their embracing the funding boost:
Key: “… one of the ways to ensure that we get high levels of productivity that we really drive the economic performance is through R&D and funding, government funding of that R&D and I think when you have an industry that represents around about 20 percent of your economy, the overwhelming bulk of your exports, then the government of the day should be backing it. A National government would.” (NZ Farming Show, 29 Mar 2007)
The questions will no doubt be how the money is divied out. We anticipate National will want to see funding able to be accessed by the private sector:
Key: ‘National would pour money into R&D. It would be on a contestable basis. You’d see the CRIs competing with the private providers.’ (Manawatu Standard, 13 Mar 2007)
We await the announcement and reactions with interest.
[Update: stuck between adopting the policy and being John ‘me-too’ Key again or rejecting it and being inconsistant ‘Slippery Key’, Key has gone with slipperiness. National calls $700 million for research and development of our core exports “a gimmick“]