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World Leading Bio-Tech Research Threatended

World Leading Bio-Tech Research Threatended By Proposed Upper Hutt Agresearch Closure

Evidence is mounting that a significant number of key scientists involved in the three research units at Upper Hutt’s Wallaceville AgResearch campus will leave the organisation rather than agree to relocate to Dunedin or Palmerston North if the Upper Hutt facility closes.

The three research units which involves study into animal reproduction, bovine TB control and animal parasite control are world leaders in their fields and their success is dependant on key individuals within the research teams.

The work of these research teams generates annual income in the order of $100 million and is a key element in the success of AgVax Developments Limited, an AgResearch subsidiary, that is currently New Zealand’s fastest growing bio-tech company.

Upper Hutt Mayor Wayne Guppy said “Many of the key people at Wallaceville AgResearch live in Upper Hutt and love the place. They are simply not prepared to go to Palmerston North or Dunedin and who can blame them. From the discussions I’ve had, it is clear that most of these research projects will not survive if Wallaceville closes due to the loss of these key people. Undertaking scientific research is not like running a motor garage for example, where if one of your motor mechanics leaves you simply replace him and life continues as normal. Many members of the research teams at Wallaceville are simply irreplaceable”.

“Wallaceville AgResearch is a profitable $100 million per annum business that requires an investment in the order of $7 million dollars to keep operating. The research carried out at Wallaceville is unlikely to continue or be completed if the facility is closed down, so how can the Government allow that to happen” asked Mr Guppy. “ The Government has recently stated that the bio-tech industry is targeted as one of the keys to the future economic success of New Zealand. In view of this how can the Government countenance such absolute nonsense as the closure of this world class and profitable facility. It seems ironic that the Government is prepared to invest $30 million in the next America’s Cup campaign but will allow a leading edge high growth bio-tech facility that contributes hundreds of millions to the country’s economy, to close for the sake of a one-off investment of $7 million.”

Mr Guppy is due to meet with MP Paul Swain in the next few days and is relying on him to use his influence to resolve this issue for his constituency. Mr Swain is MP for Rimutaka and one of two shareholding Ministers appointed by the Government to oversee AgResearch.

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