Agresearch could reverse its plan to shift about 80 jobs
from Invermay if enough staff refuse to move, Beef and Lamb New
Zealand chairman Mike Petersen says.
Mr Petersen said Beef and Lamb would pull funding from
AgResearch if ''key staff'' decided not to move from
For this reason, he believed AgResearch could reconsider
shifting staff from Invermay if a large enough number refused
''It could be that scientists decide not to move and then
AgResearch might then decide to accommodate them and retain
them at Invermay.''
He ''wouldn't be surprised'' if there were changes to
AgResearch's restructuring plan. Beef and Lamb supported
AgResearch's plan, based on assurances its research needs
would be met, Mr Petersen said.
However, if key staff decided against the move, the $5
million it spent each year with AgResearch - along with $15
million spent by partnering organisations, including the
Government - would be at risk.
''If there is any indication that we will not have access to
good people, we will have to take our funding elsewhere.''
Asked why Beef and Lamb had not come out against AgResearch's
plan, even though many farmers in the South wanted it to, he
said: ''I know the farmers think we should be up in arms, but
up in arms about what?
''At the end of the day, we have got the assurances that we
have been looking for and we have to take them at face
value,'' he said.
He did not read that much into warnings from AgResearch's
internal change management team that up to 82% of scientists
might refuse to shift.
Despite being in support of the changes, Beef and Lamb had
taken the concerns of farmers seriously and would look into
remits issued by Beef and Lamb's Southern South and Central
South Councils opposing shifting staff from Invermay to
''We have already written to the AgResearch board asking them
to give us an assurance that the plans aren't going to affect
our needs in the future.''
Beef and Lamb New Zealand's southern South Island director
Leon Black said it was listening to farmers' concerns,
particularly around the potential loss of capability.
''We are very aware you don't pick up key scientists ... out
of the Winz office,'' he said.
Responding to questions over whether it would reconsider its
restructuring plans if staff decided against moving from
Invermay, AgResearch chief executive Dr Tom Richardson issued
a short statement saying it was ''working closely with staff
and talking to our regional partners to make sure the best
resourcing is in place to deliver for local science needs''.
He also said AgResearch would be working with Beef and Lamb
to consult with its members over the coming months.
''We are talking to multiple stakeholders on our current
plans, including industry bodies and farmers, and we will
continue to seek their feedback right up to 2016.''