30 Oct 2009

Job cuts to be made at Meat and Wool head office

6:04 am on 30 October 2009

Meat & Wool New Zealand will shed about a third of the positions in its head office in Wellington as a result of restructuring forced on it by the end of the wool levy.

In a referendum in August, farmers voted to continue funding sheep meat and beef research and market related activities for another five years but voted not to pay a wool or goat meat levy anymore.

That means the organisation has to cope with a loss of more than $6 million per year in income.

Chairman Mike Petersen says the cuts will mainly affect the Wellington office, but it will boost its presence in the regions to connect more closely with farmers.

Mr Petersen says the loss of the wool levy will also mean cuts to sheep research projects and these will be announced next week.

The future of the shearing and wool handler training programmes funded by that levy is unclear as Meat & Wool is still talking to commercial organisations about alternative funding.

No decision has been made yet about a name change for the organisation once it ends its wool functions by April next year, when the current levies expire.