20 Oct 2011

Claim wool is losing ground to nylon carpets

6:27 am on 20 October 2011

A textile industry representative says resurrecting the fortunes of strong wool is going to take more than the wool sector has come up with so far.

Carpet makers say there has been a significant drop in carpet sales, which have been blamed on unsettled world economic conditions and the rapid rise in wool prices over the past year.

New Zealand is part of an international campaign to revive interest in wool furnishings and clothing, by promoting its natural advantages.

But Textiles New Zealand chairman Ian Barbour says wool is rapidly losing ground in the carpet trade to solution-dyed nylon carpets, which are displacing woollen products in retail showrooms.

He says it's not just because of price, because some nylon carpets are as expensive as woollen ones.

Mr Barbour says synthetics have overtaken wool in research and innovation and can now offer things like stain resistance, durability and colours that don't fade.

He says to overcome that, there needs to be a fundamental change so New Zealand becomes the world innovator in wool processing.