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Invermay Delegation Meeting Minister of Economic Development

Invermay Delegation Meeting Minister of Economic Development

Dunedin (17 September 2013) – Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull is leading a delegation to meet with Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce to discuss alternatives to the proposed downsizing of Invermay in Wellington at 5pm today.

The group includes Environment Southland chair Ali Timms, former Dunedin MPs Katherine Rich and Pete Hodgson, Otago Regional Council chair Stephen Woodhead and its CEO Peter Bodeker.

Dave Cull says any reduction in roles at Invermay will have a serious economic and strategic impact.

“From Dunedin’s perspective, there is potential for smart businesses and jobs to come out of there. From a regional point of view, the expertise at Invermay is crucial to ensure the continuation of leading environmental research related to farming and other industries which contribute significantly to the Otago and Southland economies. We believe the proposal would also have serious economic implications at a national level.”

The delegation will be relaying the concerns gathered from those who attended a summit held in Dunedin on 14 August, which more than 50 southern regional organisations attended.

Since the Summit, southern leaders have been discussing the announced downsizing of Invermay with AgResearch Chief Executive Tom Richardson and its Chairman Sam Robinson, but AgResearch did not want to meet until after staff submissions closed on 26 September.

“We wanted the opportunity to show the analysis by AgResearch has left some key gaps, and we would have welcomed the chance for the board to meet with us.”

Mr Cull says the group is meeting with the Minister to progress the matter further.

“We will be presenting an alternative proposal to Minister Joyce, based on well researched facts. We note that at the heart of the AgResearch proposal is a wish to create hubs that may drive primary production productivity, and therefore GDP, sustainably. Yet an existing hub which has been doing that for decades will be dismantled in the process.

“The issue has engaged more local leaders more strongly than has any other episode of lost jobs or lost companies in recent times. “We think that is because the proposal is strategically damaging.”

ENDS

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