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Bail out of AgResearch highlights need for funding

PSA MEDIA RELEASE
December 8, 2008
For Immediate Use
PSA says bail out of AgResearch highlights need for more stable funding

“The $1.8 million bail out of AgResearch by the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology highlights the need for the government to provide more stable funding for the country’s crown research institutes,” says PSA National Secretary Richard Wagstaff.

AgResearch says the transitional funding from the foundation will allow “a significant reduction” in the number of scientific and technical staff it will be laying off.

So far 25 scientific staff have accepted voluntary redundancy as AgResearch seeks to cut costs by $5 million this financial year due to a number of factors including a significant downturn in the sheep and beef industries.

“The fact that AgResearch, our largest crown research institute, is laying off science staff because of a lack of money shows the urgent need for stable funding for CRI’s,” says Richard Wagstaff.

“New Zealand can’t afford to lose scientists whose research helps farmers and the food and textile industries to earn billions of dollars a year in exports.”

Richard Wagstaff says the Foundation for Research Science and Technology recognises this situation and has taken action.

“The foundation is providing $1.8 million because it’s concerned that AgResearch is losing research capability that it won’t be able to get back.”

“Now we need the government to act to ensure that AgResearch, and our other crown research institutes, have the stable funding they require to hold onto staff with specialised knowledge and skills,”says Richard Wagstaff.

The PSA has sent new Science, Research and Technology Minister Wayne Mapp a briefing paper. It outline the need to ensure all 9 crown research institutes –which do research in productive areas of the economy like farming, fishing, horticulture and technology – have more stable funding rather than being so reliant on contestable funding.


ENDS

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