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Critical Forestry Research Under Threat As Attack On Science Ramps Up

Government spending cuts have forced Scion, the dedicated Crown research institute charged with growing forestry exports, to propose shedding a significant number of scientists.

Scion which is headquartered in Rotorua has told staff that 30 jobs or around 10% of its workforce may go. This impacts scientists, technicians and support staff. Most are based in Rotorua.

The decision follows proposed job losses of scientists, researchers and others at Callaghan Innovation and NIWA.

"Cutting the very agency that is helping to grow such a valuable exporter earner and employer is just more dumb stuff from this government," said Fleur Fitzsimons Assistant Secretary for the Public Service Association Te Pūkenga Here Tikanga Mahi.

"This again shows how little the Government understands how science is key to our future prosperity and ensuring we can adapt to challenges like climate change.

"Forestry is our third largest primary export earner and employs tens of thousands in regions around New Zealand - it makes no sense for a government focused on economic growth and regional economic development to undermine such a critical agency.

"Scion is all about the productivity of forestry - helping grow higher value trees, improving land management, researching more efficient harvesting practices and the impacts of climate change on forests.

"How come that is no longer a priority? Do forest owners and wood processors agree with this downsizing?

"This again shows how the Government has made a choice for tax cuts to trump investing in public services which grow the economy and support New Zealanders."

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