16 Oct 2014

Compulsory wool levy rejected

8:10 am on 16 October 2014

Final voting figures in a referendum on a compulsory wool levy have confirmed the preliminary result, with sheep farmers rejecting the proposal.

In the final result released yesterday, individual farmer support for the levy fell slightly to 42.81 percent, while the number opposed rose to 57.19 percent.

The weighted vote based on sheep numbers was 40.12 percent and 59.88 percent against.

Some 47.22 percent of eligible sheep farmers voted, well up on the 39 percent response five years ago when they voted to ditch the levy.

Voting packs were sent to 12,201 sheep farmers.

Meanwhile, there are calls for the wool industry to look for other ways of achieving what the group promoting the levy was seeking.

Mark Shadbolt, chairman of the farmer-owned marketing and sales company Wools of New Zealand, was one of those who questioned the need to resurrect the levy to fund more research as well as activities such as education.

However, he commended the efforts of the wool levy group and said the industry should look for other ways of funding some of its proposals.

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