29 Mar 2017

NZ's R&D spend rises but still lags globally

6:23 pm on 29 March 2017

Spending on research and development in New Zealand has risen, but continues to lag globally.

Office workers on computers, office generic, computers generic

Photo: 123RF

Official figures show R&D expenditure rose by 20 percent to $3.2 billion in 2016 when compared with 2014, an increase that was led by firms.

R&D as a proportion of the value of the economy edged up to 1.3 percent, but it remained lower than the OECD average of 2.4 percent.

Business spending on R&D jumped 29 percent to $1.6bn last year, with computer services firms, such as software developers and web designers, leading the way.

Manufacturers also invested more in their future, particularly high-tech firms.

"While higher R&D spending is a key driver of economic growth, according to some studies, it is not a guarantee that a business will be more creative or profitable," Statistics NZ business performance senior manager Daria Kwon said.

Spending by government bodies and universities also rebounded, rising by 12 percent to $1.6bn.

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