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Research Jobs Slashed – PSA

Researchers at the country's leading horticulture and food research institute, HortResearch, face an unhappy and uncertain Christmas following management's announcement that it will axe 10 of them.

`The redundancies - announced four days before the election - underline the Government's complete lack of commitment to developing a knowledge-based economy,' says PSA organiser Malcolm Blair. HortResearch staff are involved in cutting-edge research aimed at adding value to New Zealand food products.

`Staff are shocked and perplexed by HortResearch management's decision,' says Blair. `The government recently announced that this area of innovation is a high priority. They said they wanted to see the establishment of wealth-creating industries and the generation of 'health for all'. But this latest move proves the government has no commitment to New Zealand's future. It sends a clear message that the government's proclaimed commitment to science and research is just hollow words. They couldn't care less,' he said.

Redundant staff include experienced scientists, technologists, technicians, business mangers and support staff with long-standing links in the food industry.

The affected science group is fully-funded through government and industry research contracts. Senior management say staff performance was not an issue in the decision to make staff redundant.

The job losses at HortResearch follow a similar decision last month to cut jobs at another science research institute - Forest Research.

ENDS....

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