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Possum Based Export Markets There for the Taking

Wednesday 28 May 2008

Possum Based Export Markets There for the Taking

Independent MP Gordon Copeland today called on the Government to make a definite commitment to the export of possum pelts, fibre and leather as a major new export earner for New Zealand.

"Yesterday I spent an hour or so with Teresa Platt who is the Executive Director of the Fur Commission of the USA," said Mr Copeland. "Since the 1980's it has been clear to me that New Zealand's massive possum population represents a major commercial opportunity for New Zealand however my conversation with Ms Platt was a real eye opener.

"The international fur market is now the best it has ever been, with new opportunities emerging daily for fur based products, but possum has yet to establish even a foothold in this burgeoning and massive global market. Be it plush toys, fashion garments or just humble socks made of a merino-possum blend, international markets are crying out for possum derived products."

Mr Copland pointed out that New Zealand's estimated 50-70 million possums are, like other wild animals, owned by the Crown so that Government has a responsibility to provide leadership if we want to see these markets developed.

"However it will not be completely straight forward. We need the existing industry players to come together and work cooperatively along the lines of the Fonterra model. They will need Government assistance with start up costs and the all important marketing and public relations effort which will be required. I for one however have no doubts at all that this is an enormous opportunity for our nation."

Mr Copeland added that the creation of a viable possum based exporting industry would also provide a basis for the complete phase out of the deadly 1080 poison which he strongly opposes.

"How much better to control possum numbers though hunting and trapping thus eliminating the present $80 million per annum 1080 poison cost while at the same time creating new jobs and a high value export revenue stream for New Zealand."

ENDS

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