Leaked documents show the AgResearch management team
evaluating restructuring plans pushed for more jobs at
Invermay, not downsizing the facility.
The documents show AgResearch's change management team (CMT)
recommended some ''animal productivity'' scientists be
shifted from the AgResearch campus at Ruakura, near Hamilton,
to Invermay, rather than to Lincoln, as proposed in the
organisation's ''future footprint'' restructuring plan.
AgResearch ignored the recommendations, instead choosing to
stick with the ''core'' of its ''future footprint'' proposal,
which meant slashing about 82 jobs from Invermay and shifting
animal productivity scientists to Lincoln.
The CMT, as reported in the Otago Daily Times on
Saturday, recommended key parts of Invermay be retained.
That the CMT, appointed to consider the 245 staff
submissions, had recommended more scientists for Invermay
became apparent after an additional document detailing
numbers of staff employed in each area of AgResearch was
Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull said the revelations strengthened the
call from the region's councils for Invermay to be expanded.
''We came to the same conclusions as the change management
team ... that rather than take away from Invermay, in fact it
had the potential to be enhanced,'' Mr Cull said.
He also questioned the process and motivations of the
''I think the board of AgResearch has to answer to the whole
primary sector, and to this region [and] Government, as to
why they are going ahead with something that has been shown
by their own people to be highly risky and not likely to
achieve the results that they claim.''
Otago Regional Council chairman Stephen Woodhead was
''pleasantly surprised'' the CMT report backed up the
argument the council had been making.
''It also questions the need for investing all of the hundred
million in new facilities,'' Mr Woodhead said.
The CMT report recommended four reproductive and
developmental biology staff and ''most'' of the 22
reproductive technologies staff based at Ruakura shift to
Invermay - both recommendations subject to there first being
adequate access to cow ovaries needed in research.
It also recommended animal genomics scientists be based at
Invermay, possibly involving staff shifting from Ruakura.
Most animal genomics staff are already based at Invermay, but
AgResearch also plans to shift that team to Lincoln.
The CMT agreed on the ''guiding principal'' of bringing all
animal productivity science together, unless there was a
strong reason not to do so, but felt Invermay, not Lincoln,
was the most suitable campus for the hub.
''Invermay was seen as the best campus to realise this due to
the strong current and future stakeholder collaborations and
the current and future links with Otago University,
especially in genomics.
''Invermay is also considered a preferred location from a
practical and future cost-benefit perspective due to it being
closer to many science and farmers collaborators,'' the
In contrast, the lack of investment in animal sciences at
Lincoln University meant having an animal productivity hub
there was ''not judged to be beneficial to AgResearch''.
AgResearch chief executive Dr Tom Richardson was unable to
comment yesterday because he was travelling, but in one of
the leaked documents its executive team justified why it went
against the CMT's Invermay recommendation.
Having a hub at Lincoln created the ''opportunity for an
integrated approach (through the value-chain) to on-farm
science challenges, providing a greater premium than being
co-located at Invermay''.
''This premium outweighs the various counter arguments to
either retain the current distribution of staff or move these
teams/capabilities to Invermay,'' the executive team said.
AgResearch chief executive Dr Tom Richardson previously
issued a statement defending the process by which it had come
to a decision.
The CMT report provided the views of staff, many of whom
could be affected by the changes, but had been ''carefully''
considered and changes made ''where we considered it
appropriate'', he said.