A new leak reveals AgResearch made a submission to Dunedin
City Council enthusiastic about expanding Invermay, only
months before presenting plans to the Government to slash
jobs at the facility.
AgResearch's submission on the Dunedin's draft economic
development strategy, dated June 15, also said there was a
''unique'' opportunity to develop an ''agricultural science
innovation precinct'' at Invermay because of the city's
''knowledge and innovation base''.
The submission was made four and-a-half months before
AgResearch presented to the Government its business case for
shifting jobs from Invermay to a new Lincoln hub.
In the submission, AgResearch pushed for the council to help
foster growth at Invermay.
''AgResearch considers that the draft strategy should
specifically highlight the importance of Invermay to Dunedin
City in this regard so that 'priority actions' can be
tailored accordingly towards protecting, fostering and
encouraging further growth at this significant facility.''
AgResearch was also enthusiastic about the draft strategy's
focus on research and education institutions.
''AgResearch considers Dunedin is in [a] relatively unique
position with the existence of Invermay in terms of its
knowledge and innovation base, and agrees that there is good
potential to build on this,'' the submission said.
Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull said the submission was yet another
piece of evidence showing how weak AgResearch's future
footprint plan was.
''Increasingly, the AgResearch business case proposal seems
to be isolated and at odds with all the other thinking,'' Mr
The evidence, including the submission, instead suggested
there should be more jobs at an Invermay as part of a
He doubted the author of the submission was aware of plans to
cut jobs at Invermay, because it was ''diametrically
opposed'' to AgResearch's restructuring case.
''What it again seems to me to display is the fact that the
business case proposal has been developed almost in
AgResearch acting chief executive Andrew McSweeney said a
final decision on its restructuring plans, which have been in
development for two years, had not been settled on when the
submission to the council was made.
''At that time, it was not planning to do anything other than
consider all of the options that would help strengthen
AgResearch's ability to deliver leading agricultural science
to New Zealand's pastoral sector over the long term,'' he
Its restructuring plans did not contradict the suggestion in
the submission Dunedin was in a ''unique position''.
''The future footprint proposal doesn't, in any way, suggest
Invermay and Dunedin do not have advantages due to the
knowledge and innovation base that exists there.''
The submission was not an attempt to mislead the council, but
''was appropriate to raise the potential for expansion with
the city council and test the interest in growing an
agricultural science hub at, or co-located with, Invermay.
''However, despite an offer to meet and discuss our
submission, including some of the ideas which were put
forward, the Dunedin City Council did not take up that
offer,'' he said.