Budget 2016: More money for science and innovation, eliminating TB and streamlined borders

Budget 2016 sees a significant lift in investment in science and innovation, also confirms new funding for the fight against bovine tuberculosis and will see low-risk travellers streamlined at the border.

The Government’s Innovative New Zealand package will provide a further $410.5 million in operating funding over the next four years, it was announced this afternoon in New Zealand’s 2016 May budget.

Steven JoyceInvesting in the work of our scientists and innovators is hugely important for developing an Innovative New Zealand with a truly resilient and diversified economy, says Minister for Science and Innovation Steven Joyce.

The increased funding in Budget 2016 will greatly strengthen New Zealand’s science system, he says. It will increase investment in the sector by a further 15 percent by 2019/20, taking cross-government investment in science and innovation to $1.6 billion annually for the first time.

Innovative New Zealand is a major step towards delivering on the vision of the National Statement of Science Investment. It also supports the Business Growth Agenda, which seeks to grow business investment in R&D to over one percent of GDP.

  • $113.8 million over four years for the new Endeavour Fund (previously known as the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment Contestable Fund)
  • $66 million over the next four years for the Marsden Fund
  • $63 million over four years for the new Strategic Science Investment Fund
  • $97 million over four years for additional health research through the Health Research Council (previously announced)
  • $15 million over four years for the new Catalyst international Fund
  • $12 million over four years for the Pre-Seed Accelerator Fund (previously announced)
  • $3 million over four years to continue the Accelerators Programme (previously announced)
  • $4 million over four years for the Māori Innovation Fund
  • $20 million over four years for the Global Research Alliance
  • $16.7 million over four years for Antarctica New Zealand

Federated Farmers has applauded the investment of surplus proceeds in a series of funding initiatives for the future including science and skills.

“We strongly support the increase in funding for science and technology,” says Feds chairman Dr William Rolleston, who also welcomed new spending on skills, transport, establishment of a Freshwater Improvement Fund, regional development and commitments to fund TB control and to contain the spread of wilding pine.

Hon Nathan Guy, Minister for Primary Industries
Hon Nathan Guy, Minister for Primary Industries

$69.8 million to help eradicate bovine TB

Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy has announced new operating funding of $69.8 million over the next four years to help eradicate bovine tuberculosis in  Budget 2016.

“We’ve made great progress in tackling this destructive disease. This new funding will help achieve our goals of eradicating bovine TB from cattle and deer by 2026 and from TB-infected wildlife in New Zealand by 2055,” Guy says.

“The amended TB Plan is a fundamental shift in approach – from containing the disease to active eradication in livestock and wildlife. Since 2002, the number of infected cattle herds has reduced by 90 per cent, and infected deer herds are down by 95 per cent. TB has been cleared from wild animals in more than 1.2 million hectares of forest since 2011. This success means we can take a more targeted, scientific risk-based approach to both TB testing for cattle and deer, and wildlife control. This work is important because the ability of our beef, dairy and deer industries to compete in global markets hinges on the successful management of TB.”

The management agency for the TB Plan is OSPRI (TB Free NZ), which carries out the work around the country.

The beef, dairy, and deer sectors, and the live cattle and deer animal export sectors also contribute funding to the National Bovine Tuberculosis Pest Management Plan.

Low risk travellers streamlined at the border

Budger 2016 also establishes a two-year trial to streamline border processing for low-risk travellers and traders, Nathan Guy and customs minister Nicky Wagner say.

“The Government is investing $1.6 million of operating funding over two years to make it easier for low-risk travellers to visit New Zealand and $2.8 million operating funding over two years to speed up clearance of low risk goods across the border,” says Guy.

“An additional $1 million of operating funding over two years will see the establishment of a border research, technology and innovation cell to develop technological solutions to support streamlined border processing.

Customs Minister, Hon Nicky Wagner.
Customs Minister, Hon Nicky Wagner.

“Selected regular trans-Tasman travellers will provide detailed information before they reach the border to enable an advanced risk assessment. This will save time and maintain strict border security standards.

“The aim is to better identify and fast-track low-risk travellers, and target resources at the highest-risk areas to more effectively protect our borders.

“Annual biosecurity funding is now at a record $223 million. Over the past 12 months, MPI has employed 90 new front-line biosecurity staff, introduced 24 new biosecurity detector dog teams, and installed six new x-ray machines.”

Wagner says agencies will work with businesses throughout the trial to design a final scheme that enables faster clearance of low-risk goods.

“The trial aims to get information earlier, allowing for earlier risk assessment and reducing costs for traders.

“If the trial proves successful not only will there be time and cost savings for traders and travellers, it will sharpen the Government’s focus on managing high-risk activities at the border.”

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