The appointment of an external company to manage AgResearch's
restructuring plan shows it is in ''panic mode'', Dunedin
North Labour MP David Clark says.
The comments come after AgResearch last week appointed
Christchurch-based The Project Office to manage its $100
million restructuring plan, which includes the development of
a Lincoln hub.
AgResearch said the appointment brought its restructuring
plan, which included slashing the number of Invermay jobs,
''one step closer to reality''.
Dr Clark said it was a ''waste of taxpayer money'' and showed
AgResearch was in ''panic mode''.
''They have brought in outside expertise because the project
has gone off the rails.''
Such an appointment was not signalled in AgResearch's earlier
That AgResearch was pushing ahead with plans also showed it
was oblivious to growing opposition and evidence large
numbers of top scientists would resign rather than shift
campuses, he said.
An AgResearch spokeswoman said the appointment of a property
project management firm was always part of the plan and in
line with the ''approach set out in the Future Footprint
''The planning, design and construction of new buildings or
refits of older buildings are major projects which require
specialist skills and expertise.
''It would be irresponsible for AgResearch to try and manage
a complex building programme with specialist facilities
In announcing the appointment, AgResearch said it was made in
consultation with partner organisations at the Lincoln hub
and FoodHQ hub at Palmerston North.
AgResearch chief executive Dr Tom Richardson said undertaking
the project in collaboration with sector partners, including
DairyNZ, Landcare Research, Lincoln University and Plant
& Food Research, had many advantages.
An AgResearch spokesman rejected the Public Service
Association's call to put its Future Footprint Plan on hold
because of staff concerns.
''We do not agree with the PSA's proposal to put a hold on
Future Footprint progress.
''At our meeting with the PSA we will work through why the
issues they identify are not part of the Future Footprint
proposal,'' the spokesman said.
After clarification was sought on the last sentence, a
spokeswoman said: ''The PSA raised a range of issues, some of
which are related to Future Footprint and some of which are
not, and we will seek to understand and address their
concerns when we meet.''
In response, PSA assistant secretary Jeff Osborne said it
took AgResearch's statements about ''open consultation at
That meant AgResearch should ''listen to what people are
saying and adjust their thinking accordingly''.