Scientists remain at loggerheads over whether the Government is making the right call downgrading New Zealand’s involvement in a €1.8 billion (NZ$3b) radio telescope that could look back billions of years to the origin of the first stars. A spokesman for Science Minister Megan Woods said the Government decided last year that New Zealand should not remain a full member of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) telescope project because of the ‘‘level of public investment required’’. But Andrew Ensor, director of the High Performance Computing Research Laboratory at Auckland University of Technology, is still hopeful of a rethink. The SKA will comprise thousands of radio dishes in South Africa and Australia that together are being billed as the most sensitive radio telescope in the world. It has been bankrolled by 11 countries including Britain, China, Canada, Australia and New Zealand – which has, so far, contributed about $5 million, according to Ensor. But New Zealand’s contributions would need to increase to $23m over 10 years during the construction phase if it remained a full member.