Wellington, New Zealand-based telescope lens maker KiwiStar’s future might be in danger after a contract with the Australian Astronomical Observatory was axed by Callaghan Innovation, the country’s innovation body.
The contract, for KiwiStar (a subsidiary of Callaghan) “didn't fit with the organisation's new focus," said Callaghan Innovation (CI) CEO Mary Quin. Quin also claimed that the contract was risky.
"We are in discussions with AAO on how to provide assistance so that they can deliver on the Gemini project without Callaghan Innovation being locked into a two-year contract," she said.
Labour MP Megan Woods claimed that there would be job losses following the vetoing of the contract. KiwiStar employs six people.
"And two further deals worth more than $3m with the California Institute of Technology . . . and Berkeley, which bring important scientific associations, have been lost," she said.
NZ Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce defended CI’s decision, telling Parliament that, “The contract involved was for a fixed fee and is considered high risk; and, secondly, Callaghan Innovation is itself considering the future options for ownership of KiwiStar Optics at this time.”
Image: Fairfax NZ