Job cuts boosted Niwa's science focus - boss

23:58, Feb 21 2013

Job cuts at Niwa have boosted the institute's focus on science, not depleted its institutional knowledge, Niwa chief executive John Morgan says.

At a select committee financial review hearing today, New Zealand First list MP Tracey Martin asked Mr Morgan if pressure on Niwa to create returns for shareholders and streamline the organisation had created a situation where the agency was losing institutional knowledge.

''Do you feel we are still holding enough scientists to do the science work we need without being desperate?'' she said.

Mr Morgan said redundancies were ''always tough ... but quite frankly we think we've strengthened our capability and we're absolutely confident we've got it right.''

The review showed 18 jobs had gone during the past financial year.

''We just made a decision that we wanted to focus on fewer things and do them better,'' he said. 

Mr Morgan also defended last year's job cuts at the Lauder atmospheric research station in Otago by saying  ozone and UV studies had been ''exhausted'' and there were ''better ways to spend our money in atmospheric science.'' 

Last week Niwa confirmed six science and technical positions would be lost at its Miramar shellfish hatchery. Three would be re-established in Wellington and Whangarei, but the other three would go.

Contact Matt Stewart
Weather, science and environment reporter
Twitter: @smatape


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