Huge projects are at stake as AgResearch prepares to
reduce staff numbers at Invermay and centralise on Lincoln and
Palmerston North, Dunedin North MP David Clark says.
Dr Clark, Labour's economic development spokesman, said
skilled staff would surely consider moving offshore rather
than face moving to Christchurch and all the pressures that
came with that shift.
AgResearch announced yesterday it was shifting 85 Invermay
jobs and 180 Ruakura jobs to Lincoln and Grasslands, near
No roles would move before 2016 but Dr Clark said nervousness
among staff would set in immediately and they would start
looking for other opportunities, possibly overseas.
''Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce's fingerprints
are all over this. Squeeze, cut and gut is his mantra. He
epitomises a Government that knows the cost of everything and
the value of nothing.''
The University of Otago had put capital into the Invermay
complex and would be left with a hamstrung investment, Dr
Research clusters with the university were at risk because it
would struggle to retain staff due to plummeting morale and
''These cuts send a clear message the Government doesn't
value their expertise.''
The wider economy would also be affected. Commercial
partnerships were under threat and that would flow on to the
farming sector, he said.
Otago firms would also face commercial threats. AgResearch
was the largest client of Dunedin firm NZ Genomics, for
Practical projects that grew on-farm performance were
threatened. Huge projects in sheep breeding and cattle would
be at risk, Dr Clark said.
''Invermay's research contributed to a cleaner, greener,
high-tech New Zealand. Now, it was being gutted,'' he said.
Dunedin South MP and Labour associate economic development
spokeswoman Clare Curran said the positions being cut were
highly paid and highly skilled.
No government in its right mind should be cutting investment
in that area, she said. Those sorts of jobs were catalysts
for growth in the regions.
The Government was out of touch with the regions, she said.
Dunedin-based National Party list MP and Immigration Minister
Michael Woodhouse was overseas and did not respond to emailed