The Government claims to be committed to building a more innovative economy, so it should explain why New Zealand’s innovation ranking is sliding, National’s Research, Science and Innovation spokesperson Parmjeet Parmar says.
“New Zealand was ranked 28th on the Bloomberg Innovation Index in 2013, when the former National Government created Callaghan Innovation to help lift our performance. It did, and New Zealand’s ranking improved to 18th within two years.
“Now the tide’s going out again. New Zealand’s innovation ranking has fallen two years in a row. The same trend may be emerging in the Global Innovation Index.
“One of the most consistent themes I hear from New Zealanders about what our economy needs is that we need to move up the value chain by supporting more innovation.
“New Zealand has had some great innovators and we need more of them to add value to our exports of goods and services and to improve our standard of living.
“This Government may be struggling to make progress because of the divergent views within the coalition but that’s no excuse for inertia.
“As a country, New Zealand should back itself in its ability to add more capacity to innovate and add value to what we’re good at and to find new things to be good at. But the performance of the Research, Science and Innovation Minister leaves me concerned as Government policy in this area is somewhat woolly.
“Across Minister Woods’ portfolios, there has been a discernible lack of depth in her knowledge of the scientific principles that should guide policy decisions.
“These global indexes may be pointing to a slowdown in New Zealand’s innovation value chain and shouldn’t be shrugged off. It could make it harder for innovative businesses to attract investment and risk the loss of innovative work in New Zealand.”