Sunday, July 3, 2022

Hub partners ‘co-locating’, not merging

The Lincoln hub partners won’t formally merge but they will be “co-locating” to create more than they’ve been doing before, senior Cabinet Minister Steven Joyce says.

The government particularly liked the benefit people might get from working together in common spaces, he said.

Essentially these organisations were saying they could optimise their use of the facilities and that was likely to be good for everybody.

Joyce was also confident DairyNZ would realise its goal of making the partnership even bigger and better and he encouraged more private-sector groups to join.

“That’s where you see these research gains occur. So the bit I want to watch for is the opportunity to bring in some of the private-sector players alongside the public players.”

DairyNZ plans to either commit money to build or lease infrastructure.

Lincoln University chancellor Tom Lambie deflected the notion Lincoln reached out to the hub as a post-earthquake financial lifeline.

The concept seemed to be a perfect opportunity in that facilities could be shared with other groups once facilities were re-built, he said.

“That’s really how we’re going to maximise capital expenditure”, he said.

The Lincoln hub investment will initially be propelled by AgResearch Future Footprint plans and Lincoln University’s campus post-earthquake redevelopments.

Lincoln and AgResearch are working on business cases they have already provided to the government. Lincoln’s funding will come from insurance recovery claims and it is also considering its own campus plan.

It anticipates other hub partners will come on board later.

Hub building will start next year, with the approved development of the shared science facilities based on the original AgResearch and Lincoln science facility business cases but refined to cater for the expanded hub, operating model and a 20-year plan.

It is expected between the five founding partners about 900 staff will be based at the hub.

The government predicts the investments will help primary industry double export returns from $30 billion to $60b by the year 2025.

That goal is part of the National Party’s Business Growth Agenda.

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