AgResearch's refusal to release information about its plan to
slash jobs at Invermay is yet another example of its lack of
transparency, Dunedin North MP David Clark says.
Mr Clark's comments come after AgResearch in the past week
refused two requests for information by the Otago Daily
Times under the Official Information Act.
The first request was for information relating to ''business
as usual'' alternatives to AgResearch's restructuring plan.
The second request was for models AgResearch has provided to
Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce on the potential
impact of Invermay and other AgResearch staff choosing to
resign rather than shift.
AgResearch refused the first request on the grounds the
information was going to be released to the public soon and
the second on the grounds releasing it would prejudice the
organisation's ''ability to carry out its commercial
Mr Clark said it appeared AgResearch was choosing to withhold
information which could bring its restructuring plan into
''Sadly, they seem to have demonstrated, up until now, a
preference to reveal less rather than more.''
AgResearch's refusal to release information was probably
partly due to pressure from the Government, he said.
Mr Joyce's failure to provide full answers to Mr Clark's
written questions was an example of the signals the
Government was sending, he said.
''Unfortunately, it's hard to escape the conclusion that a
range of excuses of convenience are being used to push for
time in the hope the issue will go away.
''The bad news for the Government is that there is a growing
discontent with the decision around Invermay.
An AgResearch spokesman said in a statement yesterday that:
''AgResearch has been transparent and honest in its
communications with staff and stakeholders'' throughout the
''The Future Footprint plan is about enabling AgResearch to
deliver high-value science to meet the future needs of
farmers and the wider pastoral sector.
''At times, confidential sensitive information that may
impact AgResearch commercially may be withheld,'' the
Mr Joyce said the Government had been ''very transparent over
AgResearch's plans and there has been a full public debate''.
He had not given AgResearch guidance on whether or not to
release information, ''other than the advice I give all Crown
entities that they respond as fully as they can''.
''Given Mr Clark's political perspective, I'm not expecting
anything to satisfy him.''
The ODT has lodged a complaint with the Ombudsman's
Office over AgResearch's refusal to release the information.