New Zealand is lagging behind other developed countries when it comes to spending on research and development.

According to 2015 indicators from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) -- the latest available -- New Zealand's R&D expenditure was equal to just 1.2 per cent of GDP in 2015.

That compares to the OECD average of 2.4 per cent of GDP going towards R&D in 2015. Israel spent a greater portion of its GDP than any other country on R&D (4.3 per cent) followed by Korea (4.2 per cent), Japan (3.5 per cent) and Sweden (3.3 per cent).

The United States (2.8 per cent), Australia (2.1 per cent), the European Union (2 per cent) and the United Kingdom (1.7 per cent) all spent greater proportions of their GDP on R&D than New Zealand.

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There was a general decline in government R&D budgets across the 35 OECD countries in 2015. Businesses, meanwhile, increased their R&D spending by 2.5 per cent and were responsible for 68.8 per cent of all the OECD-area R&D spending in 2015.

OECD said in a statement that its preliminary 2016 figures suggested government spending on R&D continued to stagnate last year.