The shocking news 180 Ruakura jobs are being cut from Hamilton is a further blow to our city which is still reeling from 130 jobs going from NZ Post.
New Zealand's largest Crown Research Institute, AgResearch announced details of its plans to relocate roles from Hamilton and Dunedin to Lincoln and Grasslands in Palmerston North over the next three to four years.
Our city can't afford to lose more than 300 government jobs in one hit and we certainly can't afford to lose our region's strategic "edge" in agricultural research.
As one of the top dairy-producing regions in the world, the Waikato has been at the leading edge of agricultural science and innovation - now we are being stripped of this important capability.
These are well-paying jobs and when those wages are sucked out of the local economy it leads to more pressure on local companies and further job losses. It also shows government funding is being cut from Hamilton at an alarming rate.
Under Labour, the Waikato was at the forefront of agricultural research and innovation. The current Government has whittled Ruakura down from being a world-leading facility to a skeleton campus which will have just 90 jobs left.
It is disappointing that local National MPs have stood by and let this happen. That's a lot of damage in five years. They should be fighting for local jobs and the future of our local economy.
This decision is a snub to our world-famous production, as well as a snub to the University of Waikato which has important partnerships with Ruakura.
It will hit our economy hard, and it will also cause a lot of distress for the staff whose jobs are being relocated. Families face uncertain futures as they face possible relocation to Christchurch or Palmerston North - others know they are being left in a campus of diminishing capability. Scientists are being treated like chattels.
Last week in Parliament, I asked the Minister of Economic Development what new plans he had for developing the economy in the Waikato region in the face of Ruakura being gutted. His response was to point out that the Waikato Expressway was being built.
While the new road is useful, cutting the drive-time between Auckland and Hamilton by 10 minutes, it won't come anywhere near driving the future economic development that cutting edge research and innovation can.
National is tearing down an institution that has taken decades of taxpayer support to build.
What a waste.