The New Zealand Government announced an increase of NZ$373 million in funding for science and innovation in its 2017 Budget yesterday.
Finance Minister Steven Joyce said the additional funding will go towards the second round of the government’s Innovative New Zealand program, which received NZ$410.5 million for four years in last year’s budget, to help diversify the economy in order to support more jobs and higher wages.
“It’s all about adding more value to our export volumes. Investment in innovation is hugely important for lifting our productivity and providing for our future prosperity,” Joyce said.
The bulk of the fresh funding will go towards Science and Innovation initiatives, including almost NZ$82 million for the Endeavour Fund to support research with the potential for long-term transformative impact.
A further NZ$75 million will go to Callaghan Innovation’s Research and Development Growth Grants, and NZ$40.5 million in strategic science investments to explore natural hazards and the Antarctic environment.
Six million dollars over three years will be put to expanding the Strategic Innovation Partnerships Programme, in order to help it deliver on its goal of attracting 10 multinational companies to undertake research and development activity in New Zealand by 2020.
Over NZ$132 million will go to Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment, with $52.5 million for the Performance-Based Research Fund, to promote high quality research in tertiary education, and almost NZ$70 million for increased tuition subsidy rates at qualification level three.
Just over NZ$31 million is classed as Economic Development funding, with NZ$6.4 million over two years for the New Zealand Business Number initiative to support adoption and implementation across the private sector and government agencies, and NZ$5.7 million over two years to help meet the Better Public Services Result 9 target, which aims to improve the experience for business when dealing with government.
Paul Goldsmith, Minister for Science and Innovation, said the initiatives are “a major step” towards building a stronger economy that lifts New Zealand’s productivity and raises living standards.
“An innovative New Zealand will use the skills and knowledge delivered by our tertiary system, and the high-quality, high-impact science to help innovative Kiwi businesses to be successful on the world stage,” he said.
The Budget came a day after a group of New Zealand tech leaders delivered a ‘manifesto’ for the country’s digital future to politicians, outlining goals the government should strive to achieve to make New Zealand a global leader in tech and innovation.
The group of 20 industry association chiefs proposed the development of a dedicated Ministry of the Future and Chief Technology to “consider the implications of change across social, economic, educational and all other areas of policy”.
“Technology is now evolving faster than ever before, with implications not just for the tech sector but for every part of Government and society,” the manifesto read.
“The current pace of technology change is not expected to slow, with increasing data use, high speed internet access and mobility being enhanced by new developments in artificial intelligence, robotics, genomics and synthetic products. These new advances will require rapid responses from the government in terms of policy, education, investment and regulation.”
Image: Steven Joyce. Source: businesskorea.co.kr