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Wool Growers Must "Get It Right"

Friday 20th Oct 2000 Gerry Eckhoff Media Release -- Other

Wool growers have “one last chance to get it right” at the upcoming Wool Board meeting in Dunedin on October 30, ACT MP and high country farmer Gerry Eckhoff said today.

The meeting will see an end to the current structure of the board yet Mr Eckhoff said the future was “far from clear.”

“There is a wide divergence of opinion as to future options for the board,” Mr Eckhoff said. “Farmers must give up a day or so at a busy time of year to make their views known to the meeting.

“If they do not express these views by either proxy votes or attendance, they will only have themselves to blame for the potential resurrection of the Wool Board which should be finally laid to rest,” he said.

Mr Eckhoff said growers were only too well aware of the $1 billion of levies paid over the last 20 years for “little or no result.”

He also said the proposal to establish a new organisation (OVITA) for research was considered by some sheep farmers as a “very dubious idea.”

“Established research organisations already exist to achieve the very things needed by the industry. I can not see how anyone can justify the cost of establishing a duplicate one.

“The Mckinsey Report stated that 'Strong Wools New Zealand Ltd' is a potentially viable business. Do growers wish to invest compulsorily into a business that may or may not succeed. Or would they prefer to have the option of alternatives ?”

Mr Eckhoff said the realities of commercial viability must drive the remaining or new entities and they must be viable without guaranteed levy income.

“Performance and not just accountability must be the motivation for any future structure in the New Zealand wool industry.

“We have little to thank past leaders of this industry for, however well meaning they may have been. Growers must now take control by ensuring their views are heard,” Mr Eckhoff said.

ENDS

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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