8 Sep 2014

Farmers told to question need for wool levy

5:39 pm on 8 September 2014

The farmer-owned Wools of New Zealand company, says sheep farmers need to question whether there is a need to bring back the wool levy.

Farmers will start voting this month on a proposal to resurrect the compulsory levy on their wool which they stopped paying about five years ago.

The farmer and wool industry group behind the proposal said it was needed to support industry good activities such as research, educational and promotional work.

Wools of New Zealand, a marketing and sales company with 700 farmer shareholders, has released a position paper on the issue.

Its chairman Mark Shadbolt said it was not telling farmers how to vote but he said they needed to think about whether another levy was necessary.

"The sheep industry is the sheep industry and it should represent wool and meat. Most of us farm animals that are dual purpose and again we question, is this just a further duplication of costs?"

He said the industry was already cluttered with organisations that could carry out the work, including the Wool Industry Research Consortium.

"Wool Research, or WIRL as everybody knows it, is a very, very well proven structure. It's got good leverage and respect from the Government and it operates successfully within the industry, representing all aspects of the industry including growers."

"So we are really questioning, why do we need one, a levy and two, another organisation which just adds further cost to the industry and which really is just going to cripple growers, actually," said Mr Shadbolt.