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Federated Farmers backs wool levy vote

Federated Farmers backs wool levy vote

Federated Farmers welcomes the opportunity wool growers will have to vote on whether to reinstate a levy on wool. It urges its members to engage in the process to come, to talk with the Wool Levy Group we’ll help to set up meetings with and above all, to vote.

“Wool has been the quiet export achiever worth $700 million to New Zealand in 2013,” says Jeanette Maxwell, Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre chairperson.

“At that level, it easily eclipsed the exports of personal, cultural, and recreational services, which, by the way, includes motion pictures.

“We are here now because the pan sector Wool Levy Group has learned from history. It is defining what the levy will fund and do but boy, do we need to crack some industry good issues that are holding wool back.

“The growth in wool exports to China has been explosive but there’s no industry good body fighting our corner for trade access in agreements coming forward. The Trans Pacific Partnership is potentially massive as will be other agreements but wool’s voice is missing.

“Nor is there an industry good body ensuring that wool’s intrinsic values are recognised in construction codes both here and abroad.

“We need to have a body focused on getting us access to all potential markets. When a major New Zealand retirement village operator specifies only nylon carpet for villages, there’s something seriously amiss.
“The new levy is not about commercial adventures because, frankly, that put more than a few nails into the old levy’s coffin. The old levy fell over because farmers had become so disconnected from what it was doing that they saw it as an irrelevancy.

“No more because the pan sector Wool Levy Group has farmers front and centre. Its chair is Sandra Faulkner, who is on Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre Executive, while other members include current Federated Farmers President, Bruce Wills and of course, myself.

“We’ve got breeders represented as well as the manufacturers and the marketers too.

“We give big ups to Merino NZ, Primary Wool Co-op and Wools of New Zealand because their shareholders and owners have true skin in the game.

“They’re the sellers and marketers and that’s a space the levy won’t go near, yet half of all wool growers are not connected to these companies. The levy could help pull the industry together so that it heads positively in the same direction.

“A levy body is positioned to ensure we can grow our position as the world’s number three wool exporter,” Jeanette Maxwell concluded.

The Wool Producers Referendum is set to take place on 10 October 2014 and will ask sheep farmers to fund a new industry body by approving a levy of between 2 and 5 cents for each kilogram of greasy or slipe wool at the first point of sale.


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