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National supports Wallaceville petition

Dr Paul Hutchison National Science Spokesperson

19 November 2003

National supports Wallaceville petition

National's Science spokesperson Dr Paul Hutchison fully supports calls by prominent Hutt Valley leaders and senior researchers for the Government to secure the future of the Wallaceville Animal Research Centre.

A petition was delivered to Parliament today, describing the planned closure of Wallaceville as 'fatally flawed' and calling for it to be reversed.

"The Science Minister Pete Hodgson has clearly backtracked on his original claim that I was "misinformed" when I spoke of the fallout of the proposed Wallaceville closure," says Dr Hutchison.

"I made it plain there would be a significant loss of scientists overseas, a huge loss of morale and a disintegration of research business in the Hutt Valley."

"It is estimated that the loss of Wallaceville would hammer the Hutt Valley/Wellington economy by an estimated $23 million dollars a year and result in the loss of 150 jobs (including key scientists)."

Dr Hutchison says it's vital the Minister works with AgResearch to ensure the success and long-term viability of the centre.

"While it's encouraging that the chairman of AgResearch, Rick Christie, has confirmed that the reproductive team can remain at Wallaceville until 2008, there needs to be an explicit commitment that this very successful research facility won't be destroyed.

"Today's petition to Parliament reflects the severity and concerns of the community, business and scientists," says Dr Hutchison.

Ends

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