30 May 2014

AgResearch opponents still unhappy

6:46 am on 30 May 2014

The small changes AgResearch is making to its campus restructuring plans have not done anything to mollify southern opponents of the much-debated Future Footprint programme.

The Crown Research Institute is going ahead with plans to shift about 250 scientists and administration staff, mainly from Hamilton and Otago, to new science hubs in Lincoln and Palmerston North.

AgResearch has decided to leave a few more staff than originally planned at the Invermay campus near Dunedin, including a small deer research unit.

But most positions, including the animal genomics research team, will be shifted to Canterbury.

Federated Farmers and the national dairy and deer bodies are happy with the move.

However, former Invermay director Jock Allison remains unimpressed.

"They're shifting all the sheep people to Lincoln, or they say they are," Dr Allison said.

"Most of them won't go, which says to you they're not worried about Beef and Lamb, they're not worried about servicing SIL (Sheep Improvement Ltd)."

Dr Allison questioned why AgResearch would move from Otago, as a number of relevant organisations, such as Abacus Bio and Zoetus, were based there.

"Why take AgResearch out of that lot and send it to Lincoln where there's nobody to work with," he said.