30 May 2013

Move to create new integrated fibre industry body

7:25 pm on 30 May 2013

Moves are afoot to form an integrated fibre industry body that would knit together wool and other fibre producers, with processors, textile manufacturers and exporters.

The Fibrenz initiative comes from Textiles New Zealand which has been holding discussions with representatives from other fibre groups, encompassing natural products as well as synthetics.

It's taking that further on Friday with a meeting in Wellington, where it's looking for a commitment to establish Fibrenz as the administrator and communicator for the New Zealand fibre sector.

Textiles New Zealand chairperson Stephen Fookes says the aim is to pull together all the related industries that have been divided and fragmented.

He says there are a whole series of creative and innovative sectors and companies within the industry, but there's no service to allow members to capitalise on their skills and the market opportunities for them.

Mr Fookes says one solution that is being presented to the industry is to establish a clear, consolidated information base.

He says there are also limited education facilities and that needs to be addressed in every sector of the industry to encourage people to come in with a high degree of permanency and security in the industry.

Mr Fookes says they are aiming to bring the key parts of textile manufacturing and processing back into New Zealand.

The farmer owned investment company Wool Equities is one of several bodies that have already committed their support to the Fibrenz concept.

Wool Equities chair Cliff Heath says one of the issues is that wool and textiles have been treated as separate industries when in fact they are one and the same.

"That is to say that wool is in fact the raw ingredient and component for much of the New Zealand based textiles industry, that has not been fully understood by either the textile industry, or wool growers or the wool industry."

Mr Heath says it's also never been recognised by Government.

He says it's about bringing the whole sector together into some united body and then to represent that position to Government in particular.