Export sciences low in graduation ranks
Acupuncture, music, sport and recreation rate above primary industry science as subjects among university students, Federated Farmers has discovered.
Last year, 20 more people graduated with degrees in music than people with degrees in a primary industries discipline.
The number of certificate, diploma and degree graduates combined was easily outnumbered by those with a degree in journalism, communication and media studies.
Forestry, which contributes $4 billion in export earnings, had only 14 graduates, compared with 24 with degrees in acupuncture.
Wine exports are worth $1.3b, but there were just six graduates compared with 322 in sport and recreation.
Last year, the primary industries graduated 365 people at degree level among all disciplines with a further 287 at certificate and diploma level.
Federated Farmers president William Rolleston said there needed to be more investment in science and technology.
He called on the new National government to invest an extra $600 million in science research over the next three years. That would lift government research spending by 0.8 per cent of GDP. At present, the total sum of public and private money spent on research is 1.2 per cent, low by OECD standards.
The numbers of science graduates was increasing but there was "a long way to go", he said.
Federation chief executive Graham Smith said the funding increase sought was "realistic" considering New Zealand’s comparative advantage in biological industries.