17 Dec 2008

Campaign against wool industry joint venture

7:57 am on 17 December 2008

Wool industry interests opposed to a new joint venture have launched an all out bid to get farmers on their side.

Wool Partners International, formed by PGG Wrightson and a farmer co-operative, intends to issue a prospectus next year to raise $20 million to set up an integrated farm-to-market selling structure.

However wool exporters, brokers and private merchants who make up the opposing United Wool Marketers Group are asking farmers to reject this and instead join them in a collective approach to revitalising the wool industry through a new promotion plan.

It is distributing an 8-page tabloid newsletter to sheep farmers outlining why it thinks the WPI initiative, headed by Theresa Gattung, will fail.

It is also running a postcard campaign which Nick Nicholson of the Wool Exporters Council says questions whether Meat and Wool New Zealand and the Wool Industry Network have the right to oversee the transfer of industry assets and grower money into the new company.

Meat and Wool chairman Mike Petersen said no farmer levies have been used in setting up Wool Partners International, or its operational costs.

He said levies have been used to fund the Wool Industry Network's development of a sector strategy.