A phone call from AgResearch's chairman has given Dunedin
Mayor Dave Cull hope political pressure is being applied to
keep jobs at Invermay.
Mr Cull was speaking last night at a mayoral forum at Sidey
Hall, in Caversham, where the prospects of saving jobs at
Invermay, drilling for oil and gas, rates and council debt
were among the issues discussed.
Responding to comments from candidates Andrew Whiley and Cr
Lee Vandervis suggesting it was too late to reverse a
decision to shift 85 jobs from Invermay, Mr Cull said the
effort to save jobs at the facility was not a ''lost cause''.
''I did get a phone call from the chair of AgResearch [Sam
Robinson] on Friday, which gave me some hope that there was
some political pressure being applied and that the arguments
that we are putting forward pointing out the importance of
the work that is done at Invermay to the national economy may
have got through to the people that matter.''
Mr Cull was also the only candidate apart from Aaron Hawkins
to express any opposition to drilling.
''I don't support oil drilling in an increasingly risky and
difficult conditions,'' he said.
Cr Vandervis earlier said the decision had already been made
''In terms of Invermay, I don't think there is anything to be
done about it. The deal was done a long time ago.''
Mr Wylie said both staff at Invermay and on the council had
known since last year that jobs were going to be lost and
something should have been done about it sooner.
''We needed to be proactive, we needed to be fighting that
back in August and September last year.
''You don't turn around at the last minute and say 'jeez, I
have got to go get those jobs back'.''
Hilary Calvert suggested Dunedin needed a lobbying presence -
funded through the existing budget - in Wellington to fight
for the city.
She earlier received warm applause when she said there needed
to be greater accountability at the council and fewer rates
''I think we should be able to find some people accountable
for tens of millions of dollars of our money disappearing,''
Pete George said councillors and local MPs needed to work
together to better lobby central government and keep up with
the play on decisions affecting Dunedin.