7 Dec 2009

Wool organisation reviews research consortium

6:35 am on 7 December 2009

The board of the Wool Research Organisation will be reviewing plans for a research consortium following the rejection of an application for Government funding.

WRONZ, an incorporated society, has been providing up to $1.5 million a year for post-harvest wool research.

Wool industry representatives, under an independent chairman, had developed a plan for a consortium combining the WRONZ funding with money from other industry sources, with the aim of attracting a matching government contribution.

But the Government science funding body, FORST, turned down the application, after farmers decided not to renew a wool levy they pay Meat & Wool New Zealand for research and other uses.

WRONZ chair David Douglas says the organisation's annual contribution will continue, but wool representatives now need to figure out what to do about the issue of wider research funding.

He says the financial effects of the farmers' anti wool levy vote go far beyond the loss of Meat & Wool New Zealand's levy income.

Mr Douglas says the loss is very significant and the wool industry will not be getting a total of $12.9 million per annum taking into account wool levy funds which end in April of $6.4 million, $5 million from the Government and the $1.5 million that FORST will not be providing.