19 Nov 2012

Wool group in favour of broader organisation

1:48 pm on 19 November 2012

The Wool Unity Group says there is a need to form an organisation which more broadly represents the interests of all sectors of the New Zealand wool industry.

The group was set up following a crisis meeting which Primary Industries Minister David Carter held in 2009 after farmers voted to dump a levy to fund wool promotion.

Last week, members of the group received a report on the industry which it commissioned from professional services company KPMG.

Wool Unity chairman Colin Harvey says there are a variety of problems and opportunities which need attention, including having a more representative wool organisation.

Mr Harvey says there are some good examples of organisations including the beekeepers and New Zealand Merino, but would not want to be hemmed into any specific structure.

"There are many different styles out there - it's just a matter of us working through what we can put together for the coarse wool industry and how we can protect the New Zealand integrity of the wool that we market to the world."

Mr Harvey says New Zealand wool needs to be represented and that is why Wool Unity Group is linking into the international Campaign for Wool.

"We need to try and capture as much value of what we do have in terms of New Zealand wool - brightness of colour and all those sort of characteristics - so that as much as possible it ends up back in the grower's pocket."

Primary Industries Minister David Carter says setting up the Wool Unity Group was worthwhile as a means to try and bring the industry together. However he admits it is not easy.

"There are still a lot of strong personalities in the industry with their own ideas about how the industry should operate. It is an industry with diverse views and I think the discussion that flows from the KPMG report will be healthy for the industry.

"What I want to see from that Wool Unity Group is a method now by which we continue to be involved in the international Campaign For Wool because it is certainly a mechanism to increase the awareness internationally of the value of wool as a natural, sustainable, fire-resistant product."