The mood at Invermay is ''awful'' following AgResearch's
decision to go ahead with restructuring, a researcher who
recently visited Dunedin says.
Former AgResearch scientist Prof Ken McNatty, who now works
for Victoria University, made the comments after returning
from a trip to Dunedin last week.
''It's a terrible atmosphere, it's just awful. I've never
experienced anything quite like it,'' Prof McNatty said.
The mood at Invermay was ''much worse'' than at the
Wallaceville campus where he was working before it was shut
down in 2008. Prof McNatty was among staff from Wallaceville
who left the organisation rather than move to a different
He felt the situation at Invermay had worsened since last
month's announcement that AgResearch, apart from a few
changes, was going ahead with its plan to slash the number of
jobs at Invermay and move staff north to Lincoln.
It had got to the point where it was ''dysfunctional''.
''People are not focused on their profession. They are
focused on things outside.''
Scientists did the job because they enjoyed ''tackling
difficult problems'' and finding answers, but that
''enthusiasm and vibrancy'' had gone.
Even scientists part of ''hugely successful'' international
efforts to sequence the sheep genome were ''completely
negative'' about the organisation.
The looming restructuring and number of redundancies in
recent years meant he no longer had any hope about
''I think it's basically doomed. I just don't see a future
This view was shared by AgResearch staff he had spoken to and
about 15 AgResearch staff had approached him seeking
references so they could find work elsewhere.
The situation was ''sad'' and would have a ''lasting and
irrevocable negative effects on the agricultural industry'',
An AgResearch spokesman said it acknowledged not everyone
agreed with its plans, but had ''listened to all views''.
''Now, we want to be able to work closely with our staff and
partners in the design, build and transition phase of our new
''We will be working with our staff in providing them with
the support and information they need to work through their
individual situations,'' the spokesman said.
Staff turnover was within ''normal parameters'' and it was
proud of the continued quality of work staff delivered for
New Zealand's pastoral sector.