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No employment guarantees for scientists

Dr Paul Hutchison National Science Spokesman

1 September 2004

No employment guarantees for Wallaceville scientists

AgResearch has refused to give any employment guarantees to Wallaceville's world famous animal reproduction scientific team despite plans to split it up, says National's Science spokesman Dr Paul Hutchison.

In the Science & Education Select Committee today, AgResearch's CEO Dr Andy West said there were no employment guarantees for the scientists. AgResearch is proposing to move virtually all its scientific teams from Wallaceville to Massey and Otago.

Dr Hutchison says despite attempts to gag the scientists, many have spoken out, saying the relocation will force them to go overseas or leave science permanently.

"The badly handled process has caused huge dismay to Dr Ken McNatty's reproductive team.

"We can't afford to wave some of our best scientists offshore.

"The Government says they want to focus on biotechnology as a driver of growth, but they are constantly making it harder for scientists to thrive."

A few months ago Pfizer withdrew $65 million of research funding and, only last week, Auckland medical researchers had to contract their Huntington's disease research to Australia because it would cost too much and take too long to get consents in New Zealand.

Dr Hutchison says it is vital for agriculture that the Government review AgResearch's proposals, ensuring that scientists get help, not hindrance, to do their work in New Zealand.

Hutt Valley Chamber of Commerce today called for an independent review of AgResearch's redevelopment plans.

ENDS

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