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Disappointment at FRST wool consortium decision

Media Release
4 December 2009

Disappointment at FRST wool consortium decision – WRONZ

The Wool Research Organisation of New Zealand (WRONZ) is disappointed that the Foundation for Research Science and Technology (FRST) has decided not to proceed with funding for a Wool Consortium.

WRONZ Chairman, David Douglas said the decision was a significant blow to an industry that depended on research to help it regain its economic potential.

“WRONZ has been investing up to $1.5 million a year in research projects beyond the farm gate for the post harvest wool industry, and it is extremely disappointing to hear now that we will not be able to attract government funding alongside that of industry.

“It appears FRST has turned down the application for consortium funding for wool research on the basis that farmers voted down the wool levy in the Meat & Wool New Zealand Referendum in August.

“If this is the case, then those who campaigned for a no vote have ensured the sector will be poorer as a result. With the loss of the grower levy of $6.4 million, plus the $5 million of matching government money per annum, this additional loss of $1.5 million will make it even more difficult for the sector to return to prosperity.

“If the wool levy and the FRST funding had been successful, the industry would then have had $6.5 million of Government funding on top of grower levy funds of $6.4 million. This is a total loss of $12.9 million not now available to the wool industry each year.

“The question I am asking is where are the people that have said others will fill the gap left by no grower levy money? Their silence is deafening. Welcome to the real world.

Mr Douglas said on the basis of the Government’s decision to walk away from wool research, WRONZ would need to revisit its planned investments for the coming year and decide whether the loss of government money will mean that cuts will have to be made to existing activities.

ENDS

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