AgResearch road show
The AgResearch restructuring road show has started, with its executive team fronting up on stakeholder concerns for the first time on proposed changes for its kiwi science teams.
AgResearch acting chief executive Andrew McSweeney is leading an AgResearch group made up of executive and some board members consulting 24,000 stakeholders across the country about the crown entity's proposal to centralise its research services.
In the South Island the plan is to centralise at Lincoln University and in the north, Palmerston North will be the main campus.
At the same time Hamilton's Ruakura and Dunedin's Invermay are to be downsized and dozens of science jobs at those sites lost.
Mr McSweeney and colleagues went into the first meeting with concerned southern stakeholders - including Dunedin City Council, Otago University, and Environment Southland, and Otago Regional Council, in Dunedin yesterday.
McSweeney emerged from the talks saying AgResearch had listened to concerns and arguments. No immediate decisions would come out of the talks, he said.
He outlined the depth of work preparing staff for the changes carried out during recent years and indicated there would be incentives and flexibility among options for Invermay staff facing the move to Lincoln.
In spite of the ground work with staff, the proposal was not a fait accompli, Mr McSweeney said.
There were still 24,000 stakeholders to consult - the focus was how to best configure AgResearch's scientific resource to deliver to the national pastoral sector needs balanced with regional concerns and needs.
Mr McSweeney said the proposal was based on the fact Lincoln and Palmerston North had the country's main agricultural universities, large centres of science organisations, private sector organisations, and Dairy NZ was strong in numbers at Lincoln.
Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull said national implications of the proposal had been especially emphasised to the AgResearch heads at yesterday's meeting.
One had been the concerns was that the majority of Invermay scientists, who were carrying out crucial genetics and farm systems science, would simply leave the country because they did not want to move to Canterbury.
Environment Southland Chief executive Ali Timms, one of those meeting AgResearch yesterday, said there would be a debrief of the meeting on Monday, followed by further meetings with AgResearch and the Otago Regional Council within weeks.
- © Fairfax NZ News