MP taken to task over AgResearch criticism

Dunedin North Labour MP Dr David Clark has been accused of getting his facts wrong in criticising AgResearch's appointment of a project management firm.

Dr Clark said AgResearch appointing Christchurch-based The Project Office to manage its restructuring plan was not signalled in its business plan.

However, an AgResearch spokesman yesterday pointed to the ''procurement'' section of its business case, which talks about the appointment of a ''property project manager'' to oversee the ''development and finalisation of the building design, tendering process and building activities of the project''.

''The requirement for project management services is noted on pages 62 and 64 of the [case] along with architectural design, quantity surveying and construction services to help deliver our $100 million reinvestment in facilities.

''No organisation would undertake such a significant building and refurbishment plan without engaging the appropriate professional services.''

Dr Clark yesterday stood by his statement, saying there was no suggestion in the business case an ''external'' project manager would be appointed.

''There is certainly no signal that they would be going externally for it, so I think the decision to look externally has been made when they realised [they] are losing the public battle.''

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