Ex­port sciences low in grad­u­a­tion ranks

South Waikato News - - RURAL DELIVERY - By GER­ARD HUTCHING

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.

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