Science sector merger announced

As foreshadowed earlier this month, State Services Minister Tony Ryall today announced a merger of New Zealand’s science policy and funding bodies — the Ministry of Research Science and Technology (MoRST) and the Foundation for Research Science and Technology (FRST).

The current system dates from 1990 and was designed to deliberately separate policy-setting functions from funding decisions, with the aim of bolstering independence and transparency.

An alternative proposal contained in the cabinet paper released today that would have seen both MoRST and FRST absorbed into the Ministry of Economic Development appears to have been rejected.

Today’s announcement will also see the reversion of the New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA) back to the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF). The NZFSA was carved out as an independent entity in 2007 after spending the previous 5 years attached to MAF.

Media coverage

NZ Herald: Govt to merge several state agencies Government announces state sector mergers

Radio NZ: State mergers mean jobs will go

TVNZ (NZPA): Government confirms agencies to be merged