By: Jonathan Leask

Plans for a $206 million research facility at Lincoln University have been scrapped.

And Selwyn MP Amy Adams has laid the blame for the failure at the feet of the Education Minister Chris Hipkins, saying the lack of support from the Government was a “slap in the face”.

AgResearch has opted to ditch a planned joint facility with Lincoln University in favour of building its own facility at the campus.

Earthworks had already started on the 27,000-square metre facility, but the Government rejected a third business case seeking $85m in government funding for the joint facility in December.

AgResearch is now initiating a feasibility study to advance its long-standing strategy to build an innovation precinct in Lincoln.

“At present we are evaluating all options,” AgResearch chief executive Tom Richardson said.

“We remain committed to the principles of a campus development strategy that enables a more seamless collaboration between students, academics, researchers and business.

“To advance this process, AgResearch plans to build new facilities and offices for our staff which we can also share with other researchers and partners in the future.

“We will continue to talk to interested stakeholders about their future involvement. Our strategic plans, staff-relocation intentions remain unchanged.”

The only change is it is no longer a joint project, which leaves the university, already likely to merge or form partnership with Canterbury University after issues around its financial sustainability and direction, in the lurch and out of pocket from the joint venture’s collapse.

Lincoln University acting vice-chancellor Phil O’Callaghan said the university will continue to progress its own programme of capital works projects with recommendations to be considered by the university’s council at the appropriate time.

“Lincoln University and AgResearch will continue discussions to look at options to realise the benefits of the joint-facility project,” he said.

AgResearch’s own build will be on the university campus but the where and when were yet to be decided, O’Callaghan said.

“This will form part of our own going discussions with timelines and details to be considered by the university’s council and AgResearch board.”

Adams laid the blame for the joint facility failure at the feet of the Education Minister, Chris Hipkins.


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