13 Jun 2011

Wool promotion campaign gains momentum

6:36 am on 13 June 2011

An international promotion campaign to restore the fortunes of wool is gathering momentum.

The campaign, started by the Prince of Wales in Britain last year, has since been launched in Australia and now, New Zealand.

Chair John Thorley says the programme to re-establish wool as the premium clothing and furnishings fibre is rapidly gaining support through the world.

The New Zealand Council of Wool Interests says the domestic industry will contribute about $500,000 per year to the running and promotional costs of the campaign.

Spokesperson Stephen Fookes says for the first time in his experience key parts of the industry are all cooperating and donating their time.

He says even those companies that are not contributing financially are providing people to coordinate and plan the process.

Agriculture Minister David Carter says the Government is considering some backing too.

Some farmers are also contributing to the campaign, including those supplying wool to the new Just Shorn carpet and rug range recently launched in top end stores in the United States. They are paying a small voluntary fee.

But farmers supplying wool to the separate Laneve carpet range, through the Wool Partners International company, are not contributing to the campaign at this stage.

Farmer director Mark Shadbolt says they are already paying a voluntary 3% market development fee to fund the world-wide promotion and advisory work of the company's own marketing arm, Wools of New Zealand, which was set up by the former Wool Board in the 1990s.

He says they are waiting on a business plan from the Campaign for Wool organisers and they will then review their position.