Another top staff member at AgResearch has resigned,
citing its restructuring plan as a reason for leaving.
Invermay's top science manager, Jason Archer (43), confirmed
to the Otago Daily Times yesterday he had resigned to take up
a position at Dunedin-based agricultural science consultancy
The restructuring plan was ''a factor, but not the only
factor'' behind his resignation, Dr Archer said.
''Relocation doesn't suit my personal position or my
Dr Archer's move comes after former AgResearch principal
scientist Susanne Rasmussen, who resigned over its
restructuring plan, told the ODT morale at the organisation
was very low.
Last month, it was also revealed at a meeting in Gore that
four of Invermay's ''rock star'' scientists did not intend to
shift to Lincoln.
Former AgResearch director Dr Jock Allison said the latest
resignation was more evidence of how ''destructive''
AgResearch's restructuring plan would be.
''AgResearch could eventually lose 20% of their total [not
only Invermay] staff if they go ahead with this. They will
lose many of their good scientists.''
A spokesman for Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce
said the minister had been advised the number of departures
from AgResearch in the past year was ''within normal
''AgResearch is continuing to work through its change process
with all its stakeholders and the minister expects AgResearch
will continue to refine its plans as a result of those
discussions. The minister continues to closely monitor
progress,'' he said.
An AgResearch spokeswoman said it did not comment on
individual staff numbers but disputed a suggestion ''a number
of top scientists'' had resigned.
''We are a large organisation with relatively low staff
turnover, and we will always have staff resigning for various
She did not say whether it would consider the Public Service
Association's call to put its restructuring plan ''on hold''.
Instead, she said in a statement it had ''responded to the
PSA's proposal'', without saying what its response was.
Dunedin North MP David Clark said the latest resignation was
''If AgResearch continues with its plan to dismantle
Invermay, it will lead to further losses of scientific
He was also critical of Mr Joyce's response.
''The minister is consistently understating the reality,
because he knows the plan is off the rails and he is trying
to manage the politics of a situation that ought not to be
Dr Archer was one of the authors of AgResearch's internal
change management team report, which recommended Invermay be
expanded rather than downsized.
He is one of 11 members of the AgResearch ''leadership team''
listed on its website.