10 Sep 2008

Backing for chief scientist role

9:29 am on 10 September 2008

One of New Zealand's top scientists has backed a proposal by the National Party to set up the role of chief scientist, reporting to the Prime Minister.

National's research, science and technology policy says this would provide a science perspective on all major decisions and become a conduit between the Government and the science community.

The role of chief scientist in the Prime Minister's office was introduced in Britain by Tony Blair.

It was recommended for New Zealand by the National Science Panel, chaired by Dr Jim Watson in April this year

Dr Watson says he supports the proposal by National.

Advance copies of the policy were issued by the Labour Party on Tuesday.

Its content includes dumping the $700 million New Zealand "Fast Forward Fund" which was established by Labour as a $2 billion partnership between the Government and the private sector over the next 15 years.

National also says it will also spend $20 million a year on a research centre for greenhouse gas emissions.

It intends to bring long term stability to Crown Research Institutes by another $100 million a year, by reducing research tax credits introduced this year from 15% to 10%.

It says some work is being falsely labelled as research to qualify for the tax break.

National says it will release a definitive policy document in due course, once it's had caucus approval.