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Unseemly Haste In Sale Of Animal Health Labs

ACT MP Gerry Eckhoff today accused the Government of a lack of transparency in the way it is going about selling its Animal Health Laboratories Business.

"I understand that Australian company Gribbles has agreed to buy the business for about $2 million.

"I gather that Gribbles approached the Government as recently as February this year, expressing an interest in buying the laboratories. Since then, negotiations appear to have proceeded with unseemly haste and have not followed acceptable processes.

"I question why the Government would be contemplating selling these valuable research facilities without a formal tender process.

"We are talking about cutting edge technology developed in New Zealand. Why would the Government contemplate selling this offshore without first seeing if there would be New Zealand-based businesses interested in buying the laboratories?

"How would a sale to Gribbles fit with the Government's rhetoric about `transforming the economy' and the `knowledge economy' and encouraging innovation?

"Biotechnology offers New Zealand the opportunity to build a billion dollar industry. While it is not appropriate for the Government to run such a business, its desire to accept the first offer its receives shows a lack of commitment to biotechnology and an appalling lack of business expertise.

"New Zealand's future will depend to a large degree on biotechnology and we need to be developing this here for the benefit of all New Zealanders - not selling out to the first bidder," Gerry Eckhoff said.


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