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Minister must rethink Wallaceville closure


Minister must rethink Wallaceville Research closure

Minister of Science Pete Hodgson is in denial or badly out of touch when he thinks the planned closure of the Wallaceville Animal Research Centre will not have a big negative impact on science in New Zealand, says National Science Spokesperson Dr Paul Hutchison.

"Pete Hodgson has dismissed a New Zealand Economic Institute of Research report that has indicated closure of Wallaceville would mean an annual loss of $24m to the Hutt Valley region and 240 full time jobs.

"Initial impact reports from AgResearch did not show the seriousness of the situation, and I am calling on the Minister to step in and urgently review the decision with a view to retaining and building on the strengths of Wallaceville.

"The Minister's clearly unaware that updated reports from Wallaceville show that a significant number of scientists will leave New Zealand permanently, that morale is at an all-time low, and that vital research business links with the Hutt Valley will be severed. "The Labour Government is doing the opposite of what its own biotechnology strategy says. Instead of building up this iconic national research facility, Hodgson is about to destroy it, without even realising the huge loss of science capacity to New Zealand, let alone the resulting job losses in Wellington," Dr Hutchison says.

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