10 Sep 2014

More funding wanted for ag research

6:04 pm on 10 September 2014

Federated Farmers is pushing the government to commit to significantly more funding for agricultural research to stop New Zealand falling behind the rest of the world.

The hub will bring together more than 5000 people including up to 900 scientists working on land-based and environmental research, as well as academic staff and students.

Photo: AAP / David Crosling

The organisation has launched its manifesto, including the issues it would like to see the next government focus on.

It said an extra $600 million is needed in government funding for agricultural research over the next three years. If that doesn't happen, it said, New Zealand will fall behind.

Federation President William Rolleston, told an audience at Lincoln University on Wednesday, that a recent review of science funding resulted in three research institutes, which specialise in the primary sector, missing out on funding.

He said funding this area is a priority, along with increasing the number of science graduates.

"If New Zealand is to have a world class economy, it needs world class investments to develop technologies, crops, feed and animals, that will ensure that not only our country remains globally competitive, but embraces our once and future role as a primary super-power.

"We support the conclusions of the CRI taskforce, resulting in Crown Research Institutes being better able to focus on the strategic needs of farmers and in getting the job done, rather than an emphasis on institutional competition and profitability.

Dr Rolleston said the formation of Centres of Research Excellence has also increased collaboration between institutions.

"And in some areas is contributing to vital strategic capability in the primary sector.

"That is why the potential loss of funding for the three cores, targeting biosecurity, food innovation and reproduction, would be a strategic blow to New Zealand. and why this $600 million dollar uplift over three years is needed."

Dr Rolleston said the government needs to provide extra funding to universities to cover the cost of science courses.