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Possible merger of HortRersearch and Crop and Food

PSA MEDIA RELEASE

August 13, 2008

Staff being consulted on possible merger of HortRersearch and Crop and Food

The Public Service Association is pleased that staff at HortResearch and Crop and Food Research are being consulted on a possible merger of the two crown research institutes.

The two state-owned research institutes today announced that they have approval from the government to investigate a merger. The PSA has 660 members working at the two institutes.

“We’re pleased that HortResearch and Crop and Food are beginning their investigation into a possible merger by asking their staff for their views on the proposal,” says PSA National Secretary Richard Wagstaff.

“It’s the scientists and other staff who have made these two institutes major contributors to the success of our multi-billion dollar horticulture, food and seafood industries.”

“It’s essential that they’re fully involved in the process of investigating the merger,” says Richard Wagstaff.

The PSA recognises that there’s a crossover in the work done by the two institutes and that they collaborate well together.

“We can see that a merger would have benefits from a scientific point of view by creating a greater pool of resources for the staff to draw on as they conduct their research,” says Richard Wagstaff.

“But it’s vital that if a merger does occur that we hold onto the staff because they’re making a major contribution to our economy.”

Crop and Food Research staff are involved in biological science research that supports our vegetable, seafood, arable crop and dairy industries. These industries earned New Zealand $9.9 billion in exports last year.

HortResearch staff develop new brands of fruit, such as gold kiwifruit and Jazz apples, that enabled New Zealand to earn $1.2 billion from fruit exports last year.

“The PSA believes that merging HortResearch and Crop and Food should create a more stable working environment because at present the two institutes compete for funding,” says Richard Wagstaff.

“In our view it makes more sense to have our scientists working together rather than competing for funds to carry out research.”

If a merger is to occur it needs to build on the strong foundation that exists now.

“That will enable us to build a new organisation that’s able to expand our horticultural, food and seafood industries which earn the country billions of dollars every year,” says Richard Wagstaff.

ENDS

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