2 Mar 2010

Organisations push for more unified wool industry

2:39 pm on 2 March 2010

Meat and Wool New Zealand and Federated Farmers have teamed up to put their combined weight behind the push for a more unified wool industry.

The two organisations are backing the recommendations of the Government-initiated task force on measures to restore profitability to the struggling strong wool sector.

They include forming a new body to speak as a single voice for the divided industry.

Meat and Wool New Zealand will give up most of its wool-related activities from next month, as a result of the farmer vote last year to discontinue a wool levy.

But the chair, Mike Petersen, says sheep farmers will still be funding it with a meat levy, and that's why it is joining forces with Federated Farmers to represent the producers in the wool reform process.

Mr Peterson says Meat and Wool New Zealand will not be investing in the sector, but will contribute in other ways, such as using the data it is still collecting on farm activities to feed into any discussions on industry restructuring.

He says Meat and Wool New Zealand has completed its own restructuring, following the wool levy vote, but is still considering a name change to reflect its changed role.

Federated Farmers meat and fibre chair Bruce Wills says they'll be encouraging the farmer co-operatives associated with two competing strong wool marketing ventures, Elders and Wool Partners International, to continue their merger discussions.