Oram on Fast Forward

March 16th, 2008 at 1:30 pm by David Farrar

Rod Oram writes with scepticism on :

Instead, the government shelved the report, and has now unveiled Fast Forward, the latest in its many, shifting, inadequately executed attempts at economic transformation. It is a big slug of money with no under-pinning strategic plan.

Given the primary sector’s lack of strategic vision, there is every danger that users of the Fast Forward fund will keep dragging it back to incremental projects that play to the sector’s historic focus on commodities.

And there are plenty of other risks too, such as a dominance of the government funding by dairying in general and Fonterra specifically, of tensions between competing companies and of political uncertainty.

I’ve also heard from industry sources, that dairy will be a dominant funder, and that there is no way in hell they will be paying for in non dairy areas, as the Government has been suggesting.

8 Responses to “Oram on Fast Forward”

  1. kiki (414 comments) says:

    more money to the privileged.

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  2. Adam Smith (1,004 comments) says:

    This scheme is wrong, it will land up as I have said elsewhere feeding money into the wrong areas. I noted the head of Ag Research wants new buildings at Ruakura to make better a visitor impression. I thought this fund was to promote innovation.

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  3. Adam Smith (1,004 comments) says:

    Of course the primary sector were upset when John Key said this scheme was ill conceived, that is because the numbers do not stack up, it is a case of the Emperor’s new clothes in my view – for a start how will the fact that industry contributions are new money be verified? If it is not new money and merely existing money re-directed or cutback elsewhere then this is flim-flam!

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  4. bwakile (556 comments) says:

    Fast Forward is just another slogan designed to give the impression that something positive is being done with our money.
    It can take its place in a long line of bollocks

    Affordable housing
    Tomorrows schools
    Knowledge economy
    Closing the Gap
    Global Warming

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  5. jackryan (32 comments) says:

    While I agree with the point that a new visitor area is a waste of money, most of the CRI’s have been neglecting capital investment since their inception in 92. Science these days requires very modern and therefore expensive equipment for analysis, experimental and field work. This has always been funded from the cash operational budget, which is mostly generated as a result of successful FRST bids. However that FRST contract is supposed to pay for researchers time and effort. So most capital is purchased through commercial loans and lots of them. But there is only so much you can borrow, so most CRI’s are languishing with obsolete equipment from DSIR and have managed to stay competitive in the world arena b y the presence of some excellent researchers.

    Its not as simple as most people think.

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  6. Richard Hurst (1,228 comments) says:

    There is no way in hell that the sheep and wool industries could afford to make any contribution to Fast Forward. The poor buggers are facing paying out millions to try and get the meat merger off the ground which may cost around $40k each, while the average meat farmers income is these days around $20-25k a year. Fast Forward is basically free money for Fonterra to play with and for grandpa Cullen to help justify no tax cuts.

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  7. jackryan (32 comments) says:

    Fonterra doesn’t need this fund, they already apply to the foundation for funding. In the 06/07 bidding round they received $12 million worth of contracts covering immunobiotics, combi-food and feed conversion efficiency. Plus I am sure they are co-funded on other bids around the RFI portfolio. Not to mention contracts still running.

    If anything this may give those groups who can’t get a foot hold into the main FRST portfolio’s a chance. Meat bioloigcs (Meat and Wool consortia) are well placed to take advantage of this system, if there were any funds available.

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  8. JC (1,102 comments) says:

    The fund also misses that other crucial landuse of forestry. Currently, 25-30% (6 million tonnes)of logs and some pulp goes overseas unprocessed, and we’ve got another 10 million tonnes coming on stream, presumably mostly designed for the wharf.

    That’s enough spare wood to run the nations car fleet on ethanol, or convert cellulose into high value feed animal fodder etc. The ethanol alone is worth $3-6 billion in saved petrol. But where’s the investment in bioengineered enzimes to break the wood down? These is work being done by Scion and CHH but we need a quantum leap forward on a resource crying out for exploitation.


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