Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce has admitted
there was no ''robust and accepted methodology'' behind
shifting Invermay jobs, Labour's MP for Dunedin North David
However, Mr Joyce responded by saying Dr Clark was ''playing
''He is referring to a short comment lifted out of the
business case that I confirmed to him was accurate. Dr Clark
needs a Christmas break.''
The exchange comes after Dr Clark asked if Mr Joyce was
satisfied with AgResearch's advice that no ''robust and
accepted method'' of assessing the economic benefits of
''co-locating'' staff in hubs could be identified.
Mr Joyce responded to the written question by saying: ''I am
satisfied that advice was accurate.''
The initial comment was made in AgResearch's Future Footprint
case, which detailed the economic benefits of having staff in
''larger clusters'' and was approved by the Government in
''While we believe the benefits may be substantial we have
not identified a robust and accepted method to precisely
quantify them and it has been advised that we do not,'' the
business case said.
Dr Clark said the significance of Mr Joyce's admission could
not be ''underestimated''.
''It is no coincidence Mr Joyce has finally decided to
respond just five days out from Christmas, rather than two
months ago when the question was lodged.''
The admission gave further weight to criticism levelled at
AgResearch's plan by its internal change management team
review, the Dunedin City Council's submission and Business
and Economic Research Ltd's (Berl) report.
''All three found that while much of AgResearch's
restructuring proposal advanced the organisation's
objectives, the decision to shift Invermay scientists did
Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull said it was concerning AgResearch
could not find a ''robust'' method for assessing the benefits
of its decision.
''The minister should be asking to come up with something
that ... is more robust. There is a lot at stake here.''
Otago Regional Council chairman Stephen Woodhead said it was
''blatantly obvious'' there was no robust methodology behind
''We need to now ask the minister to instruct AgResearch to
call a halt to the process and seek some independent and
quality advice,'' he said.
Mr Cull this week launched the ''Save Invermay'' website,
The website contains documents on AgResearch's plan and links
to news stories on the issue, and lists reasons why Invermay
should be expanded rather than downsized.