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R&D; spend up 29 per cent in two years

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 28/03/2017

New Zealand business spending on research and development has grown by more than $350 million in just two years, with software companies leading the way

But the country overall still lags behind the OECD average.

Statistics New Zealand says Kiwi companies spent $1.6 billion on R&D in 2016, up 29 per cent, or $356m, from 2014.

The computer services sector - which includes software companies and web design - saw the biggest spend increase, up $125m, or 49 per cent, spent to $436m spent in 2016.

Total national R&D spending was also up 20 per cent, to $3.2b, with universities R&D spending 18 per cent more and the government spending 5 per cent more

But while that means research spending now makes up 1.3 per cent of GDP - compared to 1.2 per cent in 2014, it still lagged behind the OECD average of 2.4 per cent.

The machinery and equipment manufacturing came in with the second-biggest increase, up $105m, or 37 per cent, since 2014, according to the data released on Wednesday.

Stats NZ business performance senior manager Daria Kwon said while R&D paved the way for future products, the process could take years to get tangible results.

"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," she said.

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