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Giant Leap Forward For Wool Industry

The release of the McKinsey report into the country’s ailing wool industry is being welcomed by ACT with the Party saying it is a ‘giant leap’ towards allowing New Zealand growers to take control of their own products and industry.

Rural Spokesman Owen Jennings said that while he was concerned that the Report was being sold as the only solution to lifting the returns and competitiveness of New Zealanders growers, it did represent huge progress with the dissolution of the monopoly wool board.

“Ultimately growers need to be free to pursue their own options rather than continue to be dictated to,” he said.

“Wool Growers have been forced to pay the 5% wool levy to the Wool Board to fund promotions that have seen their returns tumble through the floor. The waste is crippling,” said Owen Jennings.

Owen Jennings said the McKinsey Report removes much of the politics that has be-devilled the industry for decades recommending a much more commercial approach and giving farmers choice.

“The reduction of the compulsory levy will leave more money with farmers. However, we are going to be questioning the way the 1% levy will be retained to set up ‘SheepCo’. We will be asking whether farmers will have the opportunity to vote on that option or withdraw from it,” he said.

“There are some clearly well thought out and exciting options contained in the Report. The exercise has been worthwhile and growers need to apply themselves vigorously to its recommendations,” he said.

“This should be seen as a starting point not as an ‘all or nothing package’. Growers are quite capable of providing amendments and alternatives to get the very best blueprint for the industry’s future. Growers should have time to carefully consider the report and any changes. They should not be forced into a rushed decision,” said Owen Jennings. ENDS

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