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Is this what Key meant by investing in research?

Written By: - Date published: 8:56 am, September 22nd, 2015 - 32 comments
Categories: farming, science - Tags: , , , ,

Yesterday Key listed, among the “achievements” of his government for this term: “investing in … research and development”. Was this an example of what he had in mind?

AgResearch confirms job cut talks

AgResearch has confirmed it is talking to staff this week about possibly axing science jobs.

Radio New Zealand understands the Crown Research Institute is likely to make 20 percent of its science staff redundant.

AgResearch says it will be making no further comment until it has spoken to staff.

Waikato University agribusiness professor Jacqueline Rowarth said she had also heard redundancy announcements were imminent, and whispers that 20 percent of science staff would be axed.

Because after all, what would a country with New Zealand’s export profile need with agricultural research? The Brighter Future is just around the corner…

32 comments on “Is this what Key meant by investing in research? ”

  1. Draco T Bastard 1

    Yep, I’d say that was exactly what he had in mind. He and his National government have cut almost everything else while saying that they’ve increased funding to it so that they could give tax cuts to the rich.

  2. tc 2

    On top of all the amalgamations forced upon them which already reduced locations and lost experienced staff this comes as no surprise.

    Say one thing whilst cutting the funding and capability is SOP for this regime who don’t give a toss about the rural sector anymore than they do about child poverty or retaining our assets and soverignty.

  3. Detrie 3

    This makes the 2009 article worth a read again. All very predictable and sad for those involved.. http://thestandard.org.nz/nact-going-backwards-for-politics/

  4. save NZ 4

    Natz hate educated people – like scientists.

    Casino convention centres and private Prisons are the way to create wealth!

    Don’t worry it is really just a way to get rid of the ‘wrong’ people in AG research, two minutes later they will hire more Natz people back to do nothing or get the ‘right’ results, in the same job.

    It’s called control.

    • Raf 4.1

      Hey don’t be miserable – what about the Pandas?

      • save NZ 4.1.1

        yes the Natz LOVE Pandas especially if they are donated by the Chinese in return for buying up NZ farms, businesses and investment property and free visas for all! (but Natz don’t love, working climate change refugees with kids born here, they should be deported as our neighbours in the Pacific are only good to spy on, sort of like spying on the Chinese for the USA – its hard to be a money market broker in-between 2 super powers!)

  5. One Anonymous Bloke 5

    This is simply the government National Party sending a signal to the market that Cabinet Club members will be first in line for private sector research contracts.

  6. greywarshark 6

    @OAB
    I reckon you are right.

    Also Gnats don’t want to know too much. Having facts and definite measures against which to judge themselves and their actions is anathema to them. And they don’t want people around whose vocabulary includes anathema and nemesis. What people don’t know, won’t worry them is their motto.

    Also once revolutionaries take control they kill or exile their intelligentsia and opposition.
    The ones allowed to remain and continue their work are under constant scrutiny and with every action regarded with mistrust and possible sanction.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.1

      Having facts and definite measures against which to judge themselves and their actions is anathema to them.

      True, They just like people believing that they did the best but the facts would prove, quite conclusively, that they didn’t do the best for anyone but the rich.

  7. dukeofurl 7

    From Ag Research half year report (Dec 2014)

    “The AgResearch Group achieved revenues of $63.7 million for the six months ending 31 December 2014 with a net deficit after tax of $6.5 million, compared to
    budgeted revenue of $69.9 million and net deficit after tax of $5.9 million. The Board forecasts that the budgeted full year revenue is unlikely to be met primarily due to an unforeseen decrease in revenues from MBIE and PGP-related contracts.

    MBIE- Business, Innovation and Employment

    PGP- MPI- The Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) is a joint venture between government and industry, that invests in long-term innovation programmes to increase the market success of the primary industries.

  8. Tracey 8

    So just to be clear, they cut R & D support when they first come in, and then they put some stuff back, and then some jobs go, and that is a measure of success?

    • NZJester 8.1

      National are experts at the smoke and mirrors trick with funding increases.
      National are able to correctly claim to the media that they have increased their funding more than Labour ever did and that they now receive higher levels of funding than they did under Labour.
      How did they pull off this trick, lets peek behind the curtain.
      First they heavily lowered their funding in the past and so needed to increase their funding more than Labour ever did just to get them back to the original funding levels.
      Second if you adjusted the new funding that are higher than what they originally received under Labour for inflation it shows that all of the departments are still well under the funding levels they received under the previous Labour Government.

    • Draco T Bastard 8.2

      That sounds about right for National actions. Fuck society over, lower taxes on the rich, and then claim success while everything’s falling apart.

  9. It’s just a misunderstanding. When people like currency traders say “research,” they’re thinking either of product development or market research, not pointless stuff like scientific research. Where’s the return on investment in that? When it comes to research that involves surveying people to find ways of increasing your organisation’s appeal to them, I’m sure this government will have invested shitloads of cash – not in any easily traceable form, I expect, but the money will have been spent.

    • Editractor 9.1

      Your comment may be less sarcastic than you realise. A quick look at the AgResearch job opportunities shows the only permanent position being advertised is for an Intellectual Property Leader who should have “A relevant business degree, commercial experience and acumen are pre-requisites for this position” – http://www.agresearch.co.nz/careers/

      That same page also states that “We [AgResearch] are committed to attracting and retaining people of the highest calibre with many of our scientists leading the world in their field.” This statement is questionable in the current context and the Royal Society of New Zealand have said in their “Comments on the Draft National Statement of Science Investment 2014-2024” that “Better mechanisms are needed for career development in the science system. The level of support for attracting talented Kiwi scientists back to New Zealand and retaining them is at least an order of magnitude below that of Australia on a population adjusted basis.” – http://www.royalsociety.org.nz/expert-advice/papers/yr2014/comments-on-the-draft-national-statement-of-science-investment-2014-2024/

      Governments everywhere love the idea of translational research so they can show a return on their investments but it is short-term thinking because without doing basic research you will have nothing to translate into money-makers. On the same RSNZ page it says “At less than 8% of the total science budget, funds for untargeted curiosity-driven (investigator-led) science are currently inadequate for sustaining an innovation-led economy.”

      • Tracey 9.1.1

        Didn’t it take Joyce quite a few years to complete his study?Like this for example?

        “Association of Scientists president Nicola Gaston said the comments represent a strong feeling among scientists that the challenges have lacked transparency. Of the 280 scientists who responded to a survey about the challenges by the association, 80 percent were dissatisfied with how they have been developed.

        Joyce’s response was to reject the survey findings out of hand as “unscientific” – because the responses were self-selected. The Association of course, had been entirely upfront that this was a self –selected survey – while maintaining that the evidence of such high levels of disquiet was significant, however it had been elicited. As Association president Nicola Gaston pointed out to Werewolf, there has been no rebuttal since from government of the major concerns raised about the National Science Challenges. “The constructive thing to do at this stage is to say well, we’ll have to see what happens.”

        Briefly, she explains, the concerns were about (a) the initial selection of the scientific areas (b) how the process was managed and (c) the level of [non] transparency involved. “ The challenges as they were articulated to the public – and they were always intended to be able to be articulated to the public – were not very well defined in terms of what might come out, in a scientific sense. The criticism a lot of people would have is that they are not really scientific challenges. They may be societal challenges, but was that really the intention?”

        Association of Scientists president Nicola Gaston said the comments represent a strong feeling among scientists that the challenges have lacked transparency. Of the 280 scientists who responded to a survey about the challenges by the association, 80 percent were dissatisfied with how they have been developed.

        Joyce’s response was to reject the survey findings out of hand as “unscientific” – because the responses were self-selected. The Association of course, had been entirely upfront that this was a self –selected survey – while maintaining that the evidence of such high levels of disquiet was significant, however it had been elicited. As Association president Nicola Gaston pointed out to Werewolf, there has been no rebuttal since from government of the major concerns raised about the National Science Challenges. “The constructive thing to do at this stage is to say well, we’ll have to see what happens.”

        Briefly, she explains, the concerns were about (a) the initial selection of the scientific areas (b) how the process was managed and (c) the level of [non] transparency involved. “ The challenges as they were articulated to the public – and they were always intended to be able to be articulated to the public – were not very well defined in terms of what might come out, in a scientific sense. The criticism a lot of people would have is that they are not really scientific challenges. They may be societal challenges, but was that really the intention?”

      • Tracey 9.1.2

        Like this you mean?

        “Association of Scientists president Nicola Gaston said the comments represent a strong feeling among scientists that the challenges have lacked transparency. Of the 280 scientists who responded to a survey about the challenges by the association, 80 percent were dissatisfied with how they have been developed.

        Joyce’s response was to reject the survey findings out of hand as “unscientific” – because the responses were self-selected. The Association of course, had been entirely upfront that this was a self –selected survey – while maintaining that the evidence of such high levels of disquiet was significant, however it had been elicited. As Association president Nicola Gaston pointed out to Werewolf, there has been no rebuttal since from government of the major concerns raised about the National Science Challenges. “The constructive thing to do at this stage is to say well, we’ll have to see what happens.”

        Briefly, she explains, the concerns were about (a) the initial selection of the scientific areas (b) how the process was managed and (c) the level of [non] transparency involved. “ The challenges as they were articulated to the public – and they were always intended to be able to be articulated to the public – were not very well defined in terms of what might come out, in a scientific sense. The criticism a lot of people would have is that they are not really scientific challenges. They may be societal challenges, but was that really the intention?”

        http://werewolf.co.nz/2015/03/the-myth-of-steven-joyce/

    • John Shears 9.2

      So let’s be quite clear about this , the Minister, Stephen Joyce has a Bsc in Zoology ((having missed the cut for his preferred choice of Vet.Science) but then made his mark in and is described as a “Broadcasting Entrepeneur” selling Radio Works for $6million & is in the same league as his leader who made his mark in the money business ending up with even more millions about $50 it is suggested. John has a B.Com.

      So these two decide that research in agriculture needs to be reduced even though they really have no experience in this field and clearly do not understand the importance that research has played in the growth of New Zealand as a nation via all branches of agriculture with a list of names recognised worldwide for their contributions through scientific research to New Zealand’s progress in all fields agriculture starting with soil and grass types most suited to our needs and the selection and breeding of animals to best produce the meat,fibre,milk etc. that we depend on as a nation, plus of course, fruit, wine,fish in fact all of our food exports and of course the percentage that we enjoy as New Zealanders.

      One truly sad and scary comment I heard was an academic saying that she could no longer suggest to her students that they should choose agricultural science as a viable option for a career.In New Zealand ?????
      Time for a change.

      Oh! BTW our debt is now up to $25,819,800,000.

      • Psycho Milt 9.2.1

        I recall seeing Key interviewed not long after taking power, asked about the cancellation of tax credits for research, saying he was confident that the private sector would carry out research because it was in companies’ interests to do so – blithely ignoring the NZ private sector’s consistent, woeful lack of interest in committing money to research and development. That lack of interest remains as strong as ever, and in the meantime Key’s been cutting public sector R & D. Basically, don’t put someone who’s made a career out of short-term profit-taking in charge of your country.

  10. esoteric pineapples 10

    That’s our future prosperity this government is screwing up

    • Unicus 10.1

      If we’re discussing achievements perhaps a score-sheet audit of media “scandals” involving this and the previous government might be interesting – my memory isn’t what it was some help adding to this would be welcome !

      US

      PM breaks speed limit through Temuka
      scandal
      “Paintergate” scandal

      THEM

      Bad boy Richard Worth dumping

      PM aware of pending NZ$ devaluation

      Judith has husband problems in
      China

      Jerry indiscriminately destroys
      CHCH heritage buildings

      PM orders Kim .Com raid

      PM orders SIS to spy on the
      leader of the opposition

      Mike Sabin is let out the back
      door for no apparent reason
      causing an election loss.

      Murray McCully has something
      smelly from Saudi Arabia .

      The PM goes hair crazy

    • NZJester 10.2

      They have already screwed that up as the kids currently being educated under National will never be able to get the qualifications or knowledge to know what to do with any of the stuff they are currently researching anyway.

  11. Smilin 11

    People forget what Key and his “policies” did when he was selling Ireland out” working “in the finance industry and how that wrecked the agricultural industry there with a housing bubble created by him and the banks he worked for
    Get real Key has wreaked a CENTURY old agricultural system already in this country and nobody can stop him
    People like him KNOW nothing about this country and its agricultural research importance to to rest of the world so wtf do we keep allowing his govt to carry on doin the dirty work of what real master he serves cause it aint us

  12. Henry Filth 12

    Highlights the lack of an “NZ Inc” perspective.

    BTW -how rich do I need to be to get these tax cuts?

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