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If rumours are to be believed, the Advanced Technology Institute, is to be established as a separate crown entity.

The ATI is meant to be a hi-tech, engineering-oriented link between science and industry to boost New Zealand high value manufacturing and its ilk.

If true, there’s only two words for it – Oh & no.

Information recently released by The Treasury gives some idea behind its thinking.

So, a separate board, whole new startup and establishment phase, creation of an edifice, building of relationships – a full scale duplication of what already exists in embryonic form from the creator of the original ATI idea, IRL.

There will also be the not inconsiderable challenge in forming a ‘relationship’ between IRL (whose own mandate will have to change) and the ATI – and the inevitable turf war that will go with that.

And if said rumours are true, it’s a heck of a convoluted way to avoid possible redundancies while IRL morphed into a new beast. Not that there would necessarily be that many redundancies.

Supposedly IRL’s doubling in size from about 350 scientists to 700 experts would mostly be engineering and applied science based anyway. So, mostly new people, not many, if any, redundancies.

What’s the bet too the ATI is set up in Auckland’s former tank-yard farm the Wynyard Quarter – a type of government inspired effort to convert a camel into a racehorse.

Not that these comments will make a scrap of difference, but we’re all going to pay for what will be a drawn out, badly designed, poorly executed bureaucratic mess.

Instead of allowing IRL to organically reinvent itself, and reinvent itself, and reinvent itself into the structure(s) which best fit our New Zealand environment, government as god will command from on high.

I look forward to seeing the ‘evidence-based’ rationale for going down this dead-end path.

Let’s hope for all our sakes that for once, it’s a rumour untrue.

An ATI set to fly… a turkey

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