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Give Meat & Wool Asset, Levy Transfer Thumbs Down

16 December 2008


Wool exporters, wool brokers and private buyers are asking farmers to join them in a collective approach to revitalising the wool industry.

An 8-page tabloid newsletter under the banner of the United Wool Marketers Group highlights the need to recreate consumer demand for wool and shows some of the existing industry initiatives.

The newsletter also emphasises that Meat & Wool NZ and the Wool Industry Network had no mandate to create new companies or to oversee the transfer of wool industry assets and woolgrower money to a private company.

Also covered in some detail are the underlying reasons why the existing industry does not believe that Wool Partners International, the new company headed by Theresa Gattung, can succeed.

The new privately owned entity, mostly made up of PPG Wrightson wool broking business, announced that it eventually expects to launch a prospectus to raise capital of $20 million.

NZ Council of Wool Exporters president John Henderson said he believed Ms Gattung’s company will need a lot more than $20 million to succeed.

He said this raised serious concerns that Meat & Wool NZ will dip into other sources of money such as the WRONZ account and funds left over from the old Wool Board worth a combined estimated total of more than $36 million.

Wools of New Zealand including its Fernmark brand, along with $2.4 million of levy money has been transferred to the Theresa Gattung chaired Wool Partners International.

The United Wool Marketers Group represents a wide cross section of the industry and while recognising the very difficult plight being faced by sheep farmers, the Meat & Wool initiative will end up costing growers more money and lose more worldwide raw wool end-users to synthetics.

The group has offered a range of positive solutions that don’t involve an industry restructure or capital raising to buy or pay for assets.

Instead they want marketing initiatives that unite the world’s wool producing countries against the highly dominant synthetics industry, return of the still powerful Woolmark brand and re-education of the wonderful qualities of wool to a lost generation of shoppers.

The glossy 8-page tabloid newsletter is being distributed to sheep farmers this week.

Growers are being asked to contact farmer politicians through a post card or website and tell them they have no mandate to transfer the assets or provide levy money to Wool Partners International. Woolgrowers are being asked to vote with their feet by not selling wool through Wool Partners International.


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