Standing room only at the Robbie

August 14, 2008

The Robbie Burns may not have quite the reputation as The Cook or the Gardens, but it too has for many years hosted its fair share of Otago students.

Yesterday it was host to a different clientele as the venue for the joint launch of the election campaigns for National’s Dunedin North and South candidates, Michael Woodhouse and Conway Powell.

There was standing room only and a wide range of ages with a good number of people in their 20s, 30s and 40s as well as older people including Percy Wellington, who has been a member for 67 years; and former Speaker Sir Robin Gray.

The speeches were short – an introduction by Katherine Rich, followed by John Key then the two candidates. The messages were similar – New Zealand and Dunedin need National and the party has the right people for the huge task facing the in-coming government, whatever its stripes.

One of the strengths of MMP is that it enables parties to have an MP is an area where they might not win an electorate. Katherine Rich has been a strong advocate for Dunedin and its people and an asset for National in the city and around the country.

John told the ODT that Dunedin would need a high calibre replacement for Katherine and that both candidates were high calibre. I agree.


Research companies want to merge

August 14, 2008

Crop & Food Research and HortResearch want to get back together.

Today HortResearch’s acting chief executive Bruce Campbell said international expectations around research and development had shifted in recent years.

“Rising food prices, and some real concerns about our ability to supply food to countries such as India and China as their wealth increases raise the question of how NZ and its food-growing should be positioned to do the best that we can,” Dr Campbell told NZPA.

Food production was a “burning platform” and NZ needed to be able to do the best that it could on a world stage.

“We need to using all the resources that we’ve got to make sure we’re going as fast as we can.”

Scientists complain they spend too much time applying for funds and not enough time in research.

A merger may not halve the time spent on applications but it would avoid duplication and competition. It might also reduce administration and all of that would enable more time and money to be spent on research.


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