27 Sep 2013

Leaders slam AgResearch consultation

7:12 am on 27 September 2013

Southern leaders are furious that crown research centre AgResearch has apparently ignored proposals to keep genetic research at its Dunedin facility, labelling the plans risky and wasteful.

After a month of consultation, AgResearch has announced some small concessions to its controversial $100 million plan to relocate staff from Hamilton's Ruakura and Dunedin's Invermay research centres.

The move of about 250 staff to bigger hubs in Palmerston North and Lincoln is expected to be completed by 2016.

Dunedin mayor Dave Cull is fuming at the news and says the Crown institute has not listened to advice from the business community, and is yet to even see its alternative proposal.

Those sentiments are echoed by Dunedin North MP David Clark, who says the entire consultative process has been flawed.

Former MP Pete Hodgson says the biggest loss will be the 30 years of research into sheep and beef genetics carried out at Invermay, and the red meat industry will be the loser.

Mr Hodgson is frustrated AgResearch made its announcement before a meeting with southern politicians that was scheduled for 10 October.

The Otago Regional Council and Environment Southland have joined the condemnation, saying it appears AgResearch has locked the door on negotiations.