The Herald has a Budget wishlist from Grant Robertson. What is interesting in there is the total lack of new ideas – in fact 90% of what he calls for is already occurring! Let’s go through them.
What was required was an active policy of targeted financial investment stronger innovation partnerships,
Has he not heard of the Callaghan Institute? The invested $270 million in innovation partnerships in 2014.
encouragement of migration to the regions
You already gain extra points to qualify as a migrant if your job offer is outside Auckland, and the Government has said it is looking at more points on top of that.
and research and development through tax credits to all qualifying companies rather than the grants system that operates now.
This is the one actual difference. It’s not a huge difference whether you encourage R&D through grants or tax credits. One problem with tax credits is it means companies just reclassify expenditure to qualify.
Mr Robertson also said the Budget should focus on making housing affordable for all New Zealanders.
While the Reserve Banks was dealing with the issue of housing demand, “the Government cannot outsource housing policy to them.”
Which the Government announced on Sunday – in contrast to Labour which now has no policy at all on the demand side.
Mr Robertson said he also wanted to see moves in the Budget to diversity the economy away from the reliance on dairy
This is a myth the left love to push. However if you look at the contribution to GDP, dairy is quite modest at around 4%. And the Stats NZ data series (SNE048AA ) shows the dairy proportion (dairy farming and dairy manufacturing) to be:
- 2008 3.9%
- 2009 4.0%
- 2010 3.1%
- 2011 3.9%
- 2012 4.2% (last year available)
So no big change over time.
and it should invest more in education and training to prepare for “a new economy”.
Vote Education (including Tertiary) has increased by $2.378 billion since the 2008 budget and will no doubt increase more in the 2015 budget.
So basically everything Grant demanded the Government do, it has been doing – with the exception of changing R&D grants to R&D tax credits. They really have no policy or ideas.