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Top researchers forced overseas, cap in hand

Megan Woods
Innovation, Research and Development Spokesperson

4 April 2014

Top researchers forced overseas, cap in hand

Suggestions one of our top bio-protection research institutes may have to look overseas for funding could jeopardise important work to protect our horticulture industry from pests, Labour’s Innovation, Research & Development spokesperson Megan Woods says.

A claim today that the Bio-Protection Research Centre at Lincoln University may have to look overseas for funding because it missed out on a Government short-list is alarming in light of the on-going Queensland fruit-fly scare in Whangarei.

“The Centre’s director Professor Travis Glare today told media the loss of funding will hurt New Zealand’s biosecurity work on protecting our horticulture industry from such pests.

“Primary Industry Minister Nathan Guy today said this was a tertiary education matter but the Government’s failure to fund this valuable research raises serious questions about National’s strategic direction.

“This is a top-class research organisation with links to both our tertiary education sector and the agricultural industry. We simply cannot afford to lose their expertise in favour of another country’s interests because our own Government is unwilling to continue contributing funding.

“Labour recognises what’s at stake for our primary industries and we’re committed to fundamental research, National should be too.

“National should rethink this short-sighted decision and look at the strategic direction they’re taking this country in because fundamental science focused on bio-protection is something we cannot afford to lose,” Megan Woods says.

ENDS

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