3 Jun 2015

Possible job cuts at AgResearch

7:42 am on 3 June 2015

The country's largest crown research institute, AgResearch, will not confirm or deny that more jobs could be on the chopping block soon.

Jacqueline Rowarth

Jacqueline Rowarth Photo: Supplied.

Agribusiness professor at Waikato University Jacqueline Rowarth says AgResearch staff have told her they are expecting jobs could be lost because of a drop in funding.

An AgResearch spokesperson said it was in the early stages of looking at all its costs, but said there were no specific plans in place at this stage.

The institute had previously announced it will shift about 150 scientists and 100 administration jobs, mainly from the Hamilton and Invermay campuses to two new science hubs in Lincoln and Palmerston North.

Professor Rowarth said staff believed the funding shortfall was equivalent of up to 90 jobs.

"Nobody's really prepared to talk about actual numbers or where they're coming from, it's just people going around saying 'this can't go on, where haemorrhaging staff, we are imploding' and there have been more suggestions that redundancies are coming.

"I've heard figures of 80 to 90 people. Nobody is really prepared to say anything, except that these are the mutterings and I think that's terrible. This is supposed to be a Government institution doing research on public money for public good."

While AgResearch has not confirmed whether it was looking at further job cuts, its half year report said the revenue it was expecting for the current year was unlikely to be met due to an unforeseen decrease in government funding and PGP-related contracts.