Primary Sector Council called out for lacking scientists

Rural Exchange 05/05/2018

Last week, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor established his Primary Sector Council, whose task he's described is to help the primary sector capture more value from its work. 

The council will provide independent strategic advice to the Government on issues confronting the primary industries.

However, the New Zealand Institute of Agricultural and Horticultural Science is asking one big question.

Where are the scientists?

Dr Jill Stanley, president of NZ Institute of Agricultural and Horticultural Science, thinks the business leaders on the council will do a great job but called the lack of scientists "surprising".

Scientific innovation drives advances in the primary sector.

Dr Stanley hopes to meet with Mr O'Connor in the near future, with an aim to convince the minister that including scientists in this council is crucial.

She says at the very least there need to be scientific advisors to the council.

Mr O’Connor defended the council on Rural Exchange, arguing that the appointees are “business-focused” and that they understand the future.

“I’m not going to appoint, and I was never going to, a bunch of people just representing their particular sector,” he told Rural Exchange.

Watch the full interview with Dr Jill Stanley above.

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