Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce and Dunedin
North MP David Clark are accusing each other of playing fast
and loose with numbers over job losses at AgResearch.
The pair traded accusations after Dr Clark issued a press
release saying Mr Joyce had been less than forthcoming in
responding to parliamentary written questions.
''Steven Joyce has fudged answers to avoid explaining how
many staff fleeing the organisation have opted for
redundancy, rather than continuing work in a highly stressed
organisation,'' Dr Clark said.
Despite a request for overall job losses since AgResearch
announced restructuring last year, the minister had provided
numbers only of staff who had resigned or retired, Dr Clark
said, adding that restructuring had cost the organisation ''up
to 20% of its total workforce'' - which, if true, would equate
to more than 160 staff.
Mr Joyce hit back, saying his answers were ''very clear'' and
Dr Clark was ''more than entitled'' to request further
information if he wanted extra detail.
He went on to slam Dr Clark for saying restructuring had cost
it ''up to 20%'' of its workforce and said only 57 out of 836
staff - 38 voluntary resignations, 16 redundancies, one
dismissal and two medical-related - had left the
''He just over-eggs everything completely and he's just
determined to run AgResearch down and unfortunately appears
to be willing to make up numbers in which to do it.''
''It's just way over the top. He's sounding a bit
Mr Joyce's answers to Dr Clark's questions showed 10 of 113
staff at Invermay had resigned or retired since staff
consultation was concluded on the Future Footprint
restructuring plan in September last year.
An AgResearch spokeswoman said staff turnover remained within
''normal low levels''.
''Any redundancies and new hires are a consequence of
strategic reviews of our science capability and support and
are entirely unrelated to our campus infrastructure
programme,'' she said.