Joyce welcomes data showing increase in business R&D spending

Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce has welcomed Statistics New Zealand data that show businesses in New Zealand continue to invest more in research and development to fuel their growth.

Business expenditure on research and development has increased by $53 million since the last survey in 2012, reaching $1,246 million in 2014.

“This continues a strong run of growth in business research and development by New Zealand companies since the worst days of the Global Financial Crisis,” Mr Joyce says.

As well as the increase in business expenditure, the survey found the number of businesses performing R&D in 2014 rose to 1549.

A slight decline in business R&D as a percentage of GDP is largely due to better than expected growth in our overall economic performance, Mr Joyce says.

The greatest increase in R&D spending was in the services industry, with computer services the biggest spender on R&D of any business type – up 41 percent from $221 million in 2012 to $311 million in 2014.

“The increase in R&D by the computer services sector is particularly impressive. Also positive is that almost half of all businesses expect to increase their R&D activity in the coming year.

“In addition, the number of fulltime equivalent researchers, technicians and support staff employed in businesses has increased from 8,800 to 10,000, along with an increase in the total number of researchers in New Zealand from 34,900 to 37,300.”

Many of the Government’s more recent initiatives to encourage business R&D are yet to feature in the performance figures.

“These figures are taken from the 2013/2014 financial accounts of New Zealand companies and research organisations, so initiatives such as the new R&D growth grants administered by Callaghan Innovation, National Science Challenges, and the ability to cash out R&D tax losses will not yet be reflected in the official figures. We will be monitoring these investments closely in the coming years to ensure they are delivering the desired lift in R&D expenditure.”

The Government will continue to encourage businesses from all industries to increase their R&D activity to build a stronger R&D ecosystem within New Zealand, Mr Joyce said. This is a key focus of the Government’s Business Growth Agenda.

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