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The campaign

Since 14 August 2013, the Save Invermay campaign has questioned the validity of AgResearch’s plans to implement its Future Footprint Proposal. This campaign is all about giving voice to scientific and economic concerns about the project – your voice. No matter where you need to get the Invermay word out – business, home, classroom, or municipality – we've developed a variety of ways to use Save Invermay to help spread your own unique Save Invermay message.

The background

In July last year, AgResearch, the Government’s largest Crown Research Institute, announced its plans for a major restructure with its Future Footprint Proposal (FPP). A lot is at stake because AgResearch is the taxpayer-fuelled science engine that underpins productivity and growth on New Zealand farms.

AgResearch has proposed drastic change for Invermay and discontent is filtering up the country from the South, with news of the decision to dismantle the successful hub centred on its world-leading Invermay campus.

Despite being signed off by Minister Steven Joyce nearly a year ago, the full business case for AgResearch’s restructure has been suppressed, and was only released very recently. AgResearch last year released a shorter, redacted version of the business case, in an unsuccessful attempt to appear transparent. What we now know is that the public was being drip-fed only half of the story.

The full business case will result in $100m of taxpayer money being spent for little gain - a substantial chunk of that to be spent on establishing laboratory and office space when there is already very high quality space. Even AgResearch’s own Change Management Team recommended that Invermay should be enhanced, not downsized.

A BERL economics report concluded that the best case scenario for the plan was only marginally better, and far riskier, than leaving things the way they are now. The BERL assessment is that if all the AgResearch assumptions held the improved quality of research and development would effectively be within the margin of error. BERL also queried why the Minister for Science and Innovation DID NOT REQUIRE AgResearch to build its Business Case in accordance with Treasury’s Better Business Case (BBC) guidelines.

Sheep breeders in Northland, Manawatu and Southland find the changes equally abhorrent. A recent survey of all ram breeders in New Zealand shows 92% are against the plan to move the genetics hub at Invermay.

The Board of AgResearch is vividly showing that it is out of touch with the industry it serves. Shareholding Minister Steven Joyce must call the Board to account. The Invermay changes make no sense to anyone concerned.

Take action

Join the growing throng opposed to the Future Footprint Proposal and sign the petition opposing the changes. Signatures are being collected from all over the country - visit www.saveinvermay.co.nz to find out more or to download the petition form. You can also join the cause in different ways.

Join the Cause

Ten reasons why the AgResearch Invermay campus should be expanded

  • 1. Invermay campus does not require modernisation – New buildings costing $17m were opened only 5 years ago and have never been fully occupied. It is an outrage to spend $100m replicating facilities elsewhere. George Davis DSc; FRSNZ; FAAABG
  • 2. There is ample scope for future growth at Invermay with currently less than half the available office space occupied by AgResearch staff. George Davis DSc; FRSNZ; FAAABG
  • 3. A large number of skilled staff will be lost if asked to transfer to Lincoln – when AgResearch’s Wallaceville campus closed in 2008 less than 1/3 of the staff who were requested to move to Invermay, accepted the offer. Half of those who did transfer were made redundant in 2013. George Davis DSc; FRSNZ; FAAABG
  • 4. Invermay with its large flocks of sheep and herds of deer has a highly regarded international reputation and leading scientists have had many productive international collaborations. Many scientists have been attracted from overseas because of the large animal resource and excellent facilities available. George Davis DSc; FRSNZ; FAAABG
  • 5. Invermay staff have since the Centre’s inception been very active in on-farm collaborations in Otago and Southland. George Davis DSc; FRSNZ; FAAABG
  • 6. Invermay staff have a long history of collaboration with Otago University and for many years had the Molecular Biology Unit staffed with AgResearch researchers located in the Biochemistry Department. George Davis DSc; FRSNZ; FAAABG
  • 7. Unlike the other major AgResearch campuses, Invermay is not threatened by urban encroachment. George Davis DSc; FRSNZ; FAAABG
  • 8. If the proposed staff transfer is proceeded with, the complete closure of the Centre will almost certainly soon follow because with only 30 staff proposed for Invermay there will be a strong case for closure due to the high overhead cost in accommodating a small group in a large campus. George Davis DSc; FRSNZ; FAAABG
  • 9. Invermay is not located in an earthquake-prone region. George Davis DSc; FRSNZ; FAAABG
  • 10. The scaling down of Invermay is a complete reversal of AgResearch’s policy of only 10 years ago when then CEO, Keith Steele said in justification for closing Wallaceville: “AgResearch plans to consolidate research at its sites at Ruakura (Hamilton), Grasslands (Palmerston North) and Invermay (Mosgiel), which will share closer links with Auckland, Lincoln and Otago universities. Overall, the science innovation centres, improved science capabilities and faster commercialisation of discoveries will cost $60 million.” George Davis DSc; FRSNZ; FAAABG