Vote of no confidence

A group of sheep breeders has passed a vote of no confidence in AgResearch over its handling of plans to slash Invermay jobs.

Southern Texel Breeders chairman Hugh Gardyne said the motion would be given to the Government and the ideal result would be the AgResearch board and executive getting the sack.

He was looking for a ''quick response'' from the Government through Clutha-Southland MP Bill English's office.

The motion of no confidence, which was deferred at a meeting in Gore last month, was revived due to AgResearch's failure to respond to concerns raised at that meeting, Mr Gardyne said.

Of the farmers at the meeting, 90% responded to the revived motion, none voted against, and 10% abstained from the vote.

This showed the depth of feeling on the issue and was a similar result to a survey carried out by former AgResearch director Jock Allison, which found 92.1% of sheep breeders were against shifting Invermay, Mr Gardyne said.

''Some of the respondents that I have talked to are angry that they have been treated with contempt.''

Recent letters AgResearch sent to breeders were ''masquerading'' as consultation.

''In reality, it's 12 months too late,'' Mr Gardyne said.

He did not believe approving the motion would be ''counter-productive'' as was suggested by AgResearch chairman Sam Robinson at the meeting in Gore last month.

Mr Gardyne declined to say how many farmers voted on the motion, but AgResearch previously said that of the just under 100 people at the meeting last month, about 50 were farmers.

AgResearch responded with a statement which did not respond to Otago Daily Times' questions about whether it was concerned about the vote of no confidence or Mr Gardyne's accusations it had ignored concerns raised at the meeting.

''We are happy to continue with this engagement and discuss any concerns they or other stakeholders might have.

''We remain committed to find the best solution to continue to deliver the science all New Zealand farmers rely on to stay ahead of their international counterparts,'' an AgResearch spokesman said.

vaughan.elder@odt.co.nz

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