BUSINESS R&D CONTINUES TO RISE

  • Maurice Williamson
Communications

New Zealand businesses are recognising the importance of knowledge to their future with large increases in Research and Development (R&D) investment, Research, Science and Technology Minister Maurice Williamson said today.

Mr Williamson was commenting on the release of the New Zealand Research and Experimental Development Statistics, 1997/98.

"Total Business Expenditure on R&D showed a 30% increase to $312.5 million in 1997/98. This is a record level since the surveys began in 1990/91.

"It's great to see these figures as the Government announces its Bright Future package which includes the refocusing of some public investment on R&D and increasing the coordination between this investment and business."

Mr Williamson said the most noticeable increase has been in the high technology component of the manufacturing sector, which recorded a 10.4 percent increase in the two years since the last report.

"This reflects an important shift in emphasis, with more R&D being performed in industries producing machinery, electronics and communications equipment. The service sector also increased its R&D performance."

Mr Williamson said New Zealand had one of the highest R&D growth rates in the OECD with an average of 6.2 percent per year since 1991.

"I want to encourage the business sector to continue its growing commitment to R&D investment. The Government has recognised the need to work in partnership with the sector to secure New Zealand's place as a world leader in innovation," said Mr Williamson.

"I believe our Bright Future announcements will go some way to achieving this through initiatives aimed at moving ideas out of the lab and into business ventures. It's great to see the business sector also recognises the value of creating new ideas and applying these to grow our economy."

Details:Peter Burdon, Press secretary, 04 471 9409 or 025 334 727 Dr James Buwalda, Chief Executive, Ministry of Research, Science and Technology, 04 471 6921