27 Sep 2013

AgResearch goes ahead with relocation plan

6:30 am on 27 September 2013

Crown institute AgResearch has made only small changes to its controversial $100 million relocation plan.

In July, AgResearch announced it planned to shift hundreds of science and support roles from its Hamilton Ruakura and Dunedin Invermay centres to bigger research hubs in Palmerston North and Lincoln by 2016.

The plan attracted significant criticism, especially from southern leaders who mounted a campaign to stop 75% of Invermay's staff being moved north.

AgResearch has made some small adjustments following a month of staff consultation: it now plans to leave three more staff in Dunedin and six more in Hamilton, and reduce the number going to Canterbury by about 30.

AgResearch chief executive Tom Richardson said the institute has not changed its mind.

"It's an ongoing discussion. Our current plans we believe do maximise national benefit and both the executive team and the board are very comfortable with our current plan."

Dr Richardson said the consultation period with staff has now finished and it will proceed with its plans to relocate 250 staff in 2016.

AgResearch would continue discussing its plans with external stakeholders and other users to see how they fitted with them.

AgResearch says it plans to have 310 staff at Grasslands in Palmerston North, 301 at Lincoln, 33 at Invermay in Dunedin and 96 at Hamilton's Ruakura site.