Invermay campus near Mosgiel. Photo by Peter McIntosh
The fight to keep genomics staff at Invermay has been
dealt another blow, with the Auditor-general declining a
request to review AgResearch's restructuring plan.
This comes after former Invermay director Dr Jock Allison,
retired scientists from the campus Drs Ken Drew, George Davis
and Allan Crawford and former Wallaceville scientist Prof Ken
McNatty called on the Auditor-general to review AgResearch's
Future Footprint Plan (FFP).
The former scientists argued restructuring would be a ''waste
of public money'' and result in a ''crippling loss of
A spokeswoman from the Office of the Auditor-general
it had been decided not to review the plan.
''While we have decided not to carry out a review, we will
continue to follow the progress of the Future Footprint Plan
as part of our ongoing audit work with AgResearch,'' she
Dunedin North Labour MP David Clark said the decision was
A review would have been ''very valuable'', given the level
of opposition from Invermay staff - who passed a vote of no
confidence in AgResearch's board and management - and
industry, he said.
''Those signals alone suggest to me that the process has not
been handled well.''
However, the fight to save Invermay jobs was far from over,
with Labour promising to overturn the decision if elected and
a petition opposing the changes having now attracted more
than 8000 signatures.
The Auditor-general could also still step in and decide to
investigate AgResearch's restructuring plan at any stage.
This comes after Dr Clark and Science and Innovation Minister
Steven Joyce traded verbal barbs on AgResearch's plan in
Parliament on Tuesday.
Dr Clark said AgResearch was proceeding with ''a $100 million
restructure despite evidence that shows it is a waste of
The sheepmeat industry had fallen victim to an
''ideologically driven board'' and ''a lame-duck minister''
who had been ''completely ... unwilling to hold the board to
Mr Joyce responded Dr Clark was guilty of ''over-egging'' his
There was no ''ideological conspiracy'' and it was a case of
AgResearch dealing with the challenge of ''modernising its
facilities'' to attract new scientists.
AgResearch declined to comment, with a spokesman saying: ''As
the claim didn't reach the stage where AgResearch received a
copy, we have no comment to make on it.''