25 Jul 2008

Proposal could destroy wool industry, say exporters

5:24 pm on 25 July 2008

The Wool Exporters' Council says the industry may be destroyed by a proposal from New Zealand's new strong wool company to restructure the industry and do away with the auction system.

The new entity, The Wool Company, is jointly owned by rural servicing company PGG Wrightson and a growers' co-operative, Wool Grower Holdings.

The Wool Company says it wants to establish a strong New Zealand wool brand and to partner recognised international players to improve returns to farmers.

Wool Exporters' Council chairman John Henderson says doing away with the auction system would end pricing transparency, as growers would not be able to compare their offerings.

He says if the existing infrastructure and selling system is demolished there will be no going back.

Wool Grower Holdings, the farmer co-operative that half owns the Wool Company, says its disappointed by the exporters' attitude.

It says The Wool Company wants consolidation for the industry and has already offered to work with all exporters.