Shifting half of New Zealand’s crossbred wool clip to higher value fine wool contracts could boost the economy by about $2 billion, says NZ Merino Company (NZM) chief executive John Brakenridge.
“It is a start. The problems haven’t been solved yet, but the intention and the goodwill gave me some confidence for the next stage,” he told Rural News.
Three working groups are being formed.
“I am not holding my breath, but I am certainly more optimistic about the process than I was going into the summit,” Anderson says.
“There is a sense of urgency about those who attended; they realised that if we don’t do something meaningful in good time it might be the last chance for the industry, more particularly on the strong wool side of things.”
Telling the wool story internationally needs to be done, he adds.
“We assume people know that wool comes from a sheep and it is shorn off and they grow a fleece every year. But the reality is a lot of people seem to think the animal has to die for the wool to come off it. There have certainly been campaigns in developed countries by PETA and others who like to give the impression the animal dies for the wool to come off it.”
Anderson says work is also needed on where the wool goes and what it is turned into.
“We don’t know because a lot of it leaves in wool form and we don’t know what it gets turned into and where it is sold. We are not even 100% sure of that. Whether that information is available and hasn’t been collated or whatever, the work needs to be done to define that.”
Anderson reckons there was a willingness and openness by all at the Wool Summit and representation from a large cross-section of the value chain from growers to manufacturers.
“There was certainly a positive attitude taken by everybody. “