A former AgResearch director, who was on the board when the
decision was made to establish four ''centres of
excellence'', including Invermay, is disappointed with the
plans to cut jobs at the research centre.
Robin Campbell, of Southland, said the logic behind closing
the Wallaceville research centre at Upper Hutt, and
establishing the centres of excellence at Invermay, Lincoln,
Ruakura and Grasslands, was compelling.
''I've not seen anything really that has challenged or
rendered invalid the logic that lay behind those difficult
decisions we made in the early 2000s,'' Mr Campbell, who
received Landcorp's agricultural communicator of the year
award in 2004, said.
Those ''very difficult'' decisions, which included closing
Wallaceville in its centennial year, were made with the idea
of having the centres of excellence linked to the
universities they were closest to.
''We really were thinking we could get better results, we
could take research to a new level, build synergies, get
better value for money from the changes we were making,'' he
It made ''so much sense'' to put animal health at Grasslands,
near the veterinary school at Massey University, genetics and
reproduction at Invermay, near the University of Otago's
School of Medicine, have Ruakura as a centre for dairy and
Lincoln for plant research, he said.
There was capital investment made at Invermay as a result of
that decision, most of which occurred after he left the
The Invermay facilities were among the best AgResearch had
and it was a shame they would not be used to capacity, he
Mr Campbell was also disappointed for the scientists and
technicians he had worked with, both as a farmer and board
''I just hate to see their work disrupted and their lives,
and they have made such a valuable contribution to New
Zealand agriculture for such a long time.''
The closure of Wallaceville, which affected about 140 jobs,
meant a loss of major intellectual capital and that took a
long time to recover, he said.
While it did not look like AgResearch would change its mind
on its restructuring, he hoped it would have an ''open mind''
''It just doesn't seem as if the arguments that have been put
have cut much ice,'' he said.