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If The Hat Fits Meat & Wool Chairman Must Wear It

18 December 2008

If The Hat Fits Meat & Wool Chairman Must Wear It

Exporters deny they are taking their wool industry issue to a personal level saying Meat & Wool NZ chairman Mike Petersen is being overly sensitive for an elected farmer politician and needs to “harden up”.

Mr Petersen claimed that the United Wool Marketing Group was making “outrageous allegations and a personal attack on me”. But Nick Nicholson said the United Wool Marketers Group was attacking the policies and actions of the organisation and not Mr Petersen personally.

“He is the head of Meat &Wool NZ and as such must take responsibility for the actions of that organisation and for the various groups and companies that have been formed under its wing. Meat & Wool NZ has embarked on what it refers to as a new industry strategy for wool, but they have largely excluded the existing industry,” Mr Nicholson said.

“Mr Petersen had again claimed that information we circulated to farmers and the media was wrong. Over the last few months we have seen a series of statements from Mr Petersen, Wool Partners International chair Theresa Gattung and chief executive Iain Abercrombie claiming that the exporters are issuing misinformation.

“None of them has ever identified one statement or fact we have made as being incorrect. They are using a blanket claim that we are wrong or are using misinformation as a way of not having to respond in detail to the information we have been producing. It is a weak attempt to discredit the existing industry without having to justify their actions,” Mr Nicholson said.

Mr Petersen has said the money being used by exporters to publicise its opposition to the Meat & Wool NZ policy would be better spent on promotion.

“That’s a bit rich coming from someone who has openly opposed wool promotion for the last five years or so and the money we are spending is a drop in the bucket compared to the millions Wool Partners International would lose when it inevitably fails,” he said.

“We actually see the money we are spending – and it is all out of own pockets – as an investment on behalf of wool growers. Meat & Wool NZ is using growers’ money without a mandate to set up structures and organisations that will in fact undermine wool growers’ traditional markets and customers.”

“Mr Petersen’s claim that no wool grower levy money has gone to Wool Partners International is simply not true. Mr Petersen has publicly said a number of times that $2.4 million of levy money has been given to the new company to support Wools of New Zealand which was recently sold to it for an undisclosed sum,” Mr Nicholson said.


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