11 Apr 2012

Board probes impact of kneecapped wool levy

6:47 am on 11 April 2012

Beef + Lamb New Zealand says it is investigating the impact of a decision three years ago by woolgrowers to stop paying a wool levy.

It will seek an independent evaluation after some farmers strongly supported a remit calling for the move at the organisation's recent annual meeting.

It's also been asked to investigate whether a future collective investment of that sort would add value for wool growers.

Beef + Lamb's predecessor, Meat & Wool New Zealand, used to charge farmers a levy from the wool they sold, as well as from beef and sheepmeat.

The wool levy was stopped after farmers rejected it in a very close vote in a referendum in 2009.

Beef + Lamb chairman Mike Petersen says there are still plenty of farmers who think it was a mistake to ditch the levy, but he says the evaluation should not be seen as a move to bring it back.

Mike Petersen says the full impact of discarding the wool levy hasn't been seen yet, because Beef + Lamb New Zealand is still funding some wool-related activities from reserves left over from those levy payments.