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NZ can’t afford AgResearch redundancies

PSA MEDIA RELEASE
December 19, 2008

For Immediate Use

NZ can’t afford AgResearch redundancies        
 

The Public Service Association says today’s announcement that AgResearch is making nine scientific and technical staff redundant is sad news for the workers just before Christmas and a waste of their skills and knowledge.

AgResearch has announced that nine of its scientific and technical staff have been given three months notice of redundancy. It says it’s in discussion with three more staff and may be issuing them with notices of redundancy within the next few weeks.

The nine redundancies announced today come on top of the 25 scientific staff laid off by AgResearch last month.

“The country can’t afford to lose skilled scientists and technical staff whose research helps farmers and the food and textile industries earn billions of dollars a year in exports,” says PSA National Secretary Richard Wagstaff.

The pastoral farming industry generates 35% of our exports and is worth more than $10 billion a year.

“Their knowledge and skills are needed now more than ever as the global financial crisis starts to bite and the need to boost exports from agriculture becomes even more critical,” says Richard Wagstaff.

“This is why the PSA has repeatedly called on the government to step in and provide the funding AgResearch needs to hold onto its scientists and technical staff.”

“Ensuring AgResearch,and the country’s other crown research institutes have the stable funding they need, is a far better investment in these tough times than
Before the election National released policy that talked of the need to retain scientists and promised to ensure government-owned research organisations were “properly resourced and financially viable.

“The government should follow through on its election promise to make funding for crown research institutes more secure,” says Richard Wagstaff.

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

The PSA has 500 members working at AgResearch and a total of 2500 members working as scientists, engineers, technicians and support staff at the eight state-owned Crown Research Institutes. Each CRI is based around a productive sector of the economy.

ends

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