13 Aug 2009

Meat and Wool labels levy opposition "bizarre"

7:39 am on 13 August 2009

Meat and Wool New Zealand has questioned the logic of a sheep breeders' group which is opposing the renewal of its wool levy.

Romney New Zealand has taken its stand as farmers vote on whether to allow Meat and Wool to charge them levies for another five years.

The levies relate to wool, as well as sheep and goat meat and beef.

The Romney group has dismissed programmes funded by the wool levy as a failure.

It is pointing to a United States consumer survey that shows an almost complete lack of awareness of the Fern Mark, which was set up by the former Wool Board to help promote New Zealand wool.

Romney New Zealand chairman Hugh Taylor, says Meat and Wool has spent $30 million on wool programmes over five years but the strong wool price has halved in that time.

Meat and Wool chairman Mike Petersen has described the group's opposition to the wool levy as bizarre.

He says despite there being no promotional wool funding from levies for the past five years, the Fern Mark is still carried on carpets and rugs made from most of the wool exported from New Zealand.