Wednesday, 25 May 2016 14:55

Call for more wool levy

Written by  Peter Burke
Renata Apatu. Source: BLNZ Genetics. Renata Apatu. Source: BLNZ Genetics.

An extra half cent will make a huge difference for wool growers.

That's the view of Renata Apatu, a major wool grower and trustee of the International Campaign for Wool. The campaign is set up to promote wool internationally and is headed by Prince Charles. Other countries participating include UK and Australia.

At present, New Zealand wool growers pay a voluntary levy of 0.5c/kg of wool, but Renata Apatu, one of the owners of Ngamatea Station in the central North Island, says he's going to pay 1.0c/kg and is urging other wool growers to do likewise. On Ngamatea, on average, they shear 50,000 sheep and produce some 170,000kg of greasy wool each year.

Currently about $500,000 is raised by the 0.5c voluntary levy, of which two thirds is sent to the international body in UK to promote wool to markets overseas.

"In NZ we also have a couple of really smart domestic campaigns, such as wool in schools in which a mobile display shows the attributes of wool and lets young people touch wool and see some of the great products made from this natural fibre," Apatu explains. "At Ngamatea Station we recently hosted a very successful weekend for young architects and designers to make them aware of what wool has to offer. We have very little money for such projects but we do our best with the little we have."

Apatu says they could do a lot more domestic flag waving, but he reckons it doesn't help NZ growers because at least 90% of our wool goes offshore.

Hawkes Bay wool broker Philippa Wright, who is also a trustee for the Campaign for Wool, says NZ collects $500,000 by way of the levy now, but of that $360,000 goes to the global fund. Now a new problem is looming because of the NZ$ exchange rate, she says.

"Because the international levy is based on pounds sterling NZ will have to pay an extra $50,000 next year to meet its obligations to the international campaign. That combined with the drop in sheep numbers means we will have very little – if any – to spend on domestic awareness programmes apart from what we get from sponsors."

Though Wright has not spoken to clients about paying more in line with Renata Apatau's decision, she believes growers in the past have noted how little they are paying.

"It's not like we are asking for a lot and we are definitely going to be down on the money we can spend at home because of the exchange rate and because of sheep numbers being down. We are getting to the stage when we won't be able to have any projects at all in the coming year unless we get extra funding," she says.

Wright says the present levy means a woolgrower producing 100 bales of wool is paying about $120 a year to the Campaign for Wool.

More like this

Getting on top of a lousy problem

For strong wool sheep, lice infection is a nuisance more than a hefty financial cost. But, for fine wool sheep the financial toll is much greater. 

Small profit for Wools NZ

The Wools of NZ board considers its 2019 financial outcomes to be satisfactory given “the first year as a fully commercial company, operating in a very challenging wool market”.



Celebrating healthy food

Mark Ross, chief executive of Agcarm on the work that goes into providing safe and healthy food to New Zealanders. 

No more coal-fired boilers

Canterbury-based Synlait Milk has reaffirmed its policy of building no more coal-fired boilers, with the official opening of the country’s first large-scale electrode boiler at its Dunsandel headquarters.

A slice of farming paradise in Auckland City

Livestock grazing on a farm with a good view of Auckland’s Sky Tower is the story behind the latest Dairy Women’s Network visual story telling project Our People, Their Stories.

Synlait unveils tree-planting scheme

Synlait Milk is establishing an industrial-scale native plant nursery at its Dunsandel headquarters as the centrepiece of a wide-ranging environmental initiative.

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound


Your canine crusader reckons it is ironic – and highly appropriate – that Shane Jones’ $3 billion electoral slush fund…

Funny names

Over the years, a mate of the Hound’s has always been quick to point out to him people in roles…

» Connect with Rural News