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New Zealand makes a poor showing on the world scale
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New Zealand makes a poor showing on the world scale

Jason Smith

[Creative Metrics]

Everyone loves a good ranking. While there’s been a whole lot of shuffling and shaking going on in these parts, it’s hasn’t been by the movers and shakers. Slip sliding away, New Zealand as a place for doing business has dropped from tenth to nearly 25th in world ranking in the past decade, according to data released by the World Economic Forum.

Concerns about declining levels of Kiwi innovation appear to be well founded. Innovation is the 12th pillar of a dozen factors that comprise the Global Competitiveness Index. Poorly performing parts of New Zealand innovation include the relative unavailability of scientists and engineers (67th), and poor company spending on R&D (see Creative Metrics, Idealog #27). It’s not all bad: capacity for innovation, quality of scientific research institutions (14th in the world) and university industry collaboration on R&D (21st in the world) are part of an innovation calculation in which New Zealand is doing well. But lamentable leadership from the government means New Zealand comes in 73rd out of 139 countries in the world for state procurement of advanced technology products.

Aspirations were high that a Growth and Innovation Framework, introduced in 2002, would take New Zealand to new levels of innovation across smart industries like biotechnology, ICT and the creative sector. New, smart ideas are need to arrest our slide, because nearly a decade on, by these measures, it seems we are relatively less innovative and less competitive with others, including neighbour Australia. And that rankles.

Jason Smith is a PhD scholar at AUT University specialising in New Zealand’s creative economy. He lives on the shores of the Kaipara among the rank and file