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NIWA prepares for the future

NIWA Media Statement 15 March 2011

NIWA prepares for the future

NIWA’s Chief Executive, John Morgan says that action taken now to align NIWA’s capability with the country’s science needs means that the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) will be better prepared for the future.

Mr Morgan was commenting on news that NIWA is in the process of an operational review which is likely to result in some redundancies. NIWA employs about 730 scientific and administration staff at 15 sites throughout New Zealand. Mr Morgan said approximately 35 positions are being reviewed, of which about half are back-office support roles and half are science roles.

Affected staff are currently involved in a consultation process, and feedback is being fully considered before any decisions are made.

“As part of our business planning process, we need to ensure that our skill mix and staffing levels are aligned with market opportunities, and allow us to remain competitive”, Mr Morgan said.

Over the past three years, NIWA has invested substantially in new administration systems and processes, including upgrading its finance system, project management system, HR processes, and extensive upgrades to IT hardware and software.

“This has enabled us to review the structure and staffing levels in each back-office function to ensure we have the best and most cost-effective arrangements to support our science activities in the future”, he said.

Mr Morgan said that the science marketplace had also changed, and that had led to a downturn in some areas of NIWA’s work, and an increase in others.

“It’s all about continuous planning and action to meet the demands of a changing marketplace. We owe it to our organisation, our customers, and to New Zealand to make sure we maintain the appropriate capability to meet the country’s science and innovation needs, whilst at the same time using limited resources wisely.

“The proposed changes will not have any impact on NIWA’s ability to meet its core scientific responsibilities. Our primary focus remains to have a positive impact on the country’s economic and environmental prosperity through the provision of leading environmental science – and we expect that to grow considerably over the longer term”, Mr Morgan said.

In light of the earthquake, NIWA has shelved plans to include Christchurch in the operational review. There may be changes to a small number of support positions due to changes in other parts of NIWA, however there will be no redundancies resulting from the review in Christchurch.

The review process is expected to take about two months, and the sensitivity of the consultation process means that there will be no further comment at this stage.


ENDS

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