Tuesday, 18 December 2012 11:08

Woolly or wishful thinking?

Written by 

WE SHOULD give thanks for those fearless souls who still believe they can save the strong-wool industry. As those who have gone before have found, the path to this salvation can be unforgiving.

The latest rescue plan is driven by those who seem to have access to Wools of New Zealand's intellectual property. To those who have watched the tragic demise of the Wool Board the latest call to arms may sound familiar.

There is a recycled look about those promoting what will be called the Wools of NZ Trust. The story that accompanies the promotional document could prompt a 'same-old same-old" response. But this may be unfair.

Many of those involved with Wools of NZ Trust were enthusiastic supporters of Wool Partners, which started out brilliantly but failed to get the numbers. If nothing else the Wool Partners campaign should have shown potential flaws in any exercise aimed at getting farmers to voluntarily front-up with money.

Wools of NZ Trust's and Wool Partners' mission aimed at uniting strong-wool growers from the wool shed through to the marketplace. The back-up information is extensive (85 pages), emphasising the likelihood that time is running out.

Strong wool, in the lucrative flooring market, now makes up about 2% of the world's wool; New Zealand wool makes up about 0.6 % of this market. However, there are huge opportunities to expand New Zealand wool in countries such as China with a growing, wealthy, middle class who are prepared to pay extra for quality.

The Wools of NZ Trust prospectus lists a range of considerations; the key requirement seems to be how to activate strong-wool growers. While noble visions and fine mission statements all sound great, farmers, are the ones to be persuaded to buy into something that isn't revolutionary, but evolutionary.

Timing can be essential. It was unfortunate timing that helped sink Wool Partners. Before its prospectus came out, prices in the market place increased. Out in the other world there were wool brokers and exporters handling about two thirds of the country's strong-wool clip. They could claim to have helped lift prices.

Sadly, after the failure of Wool Partners plan, prices for strong wool declined. But for some there were still some good bits worth revisiting and instead of failure the approach should be seen as an industry at the crossroads.

So the new model is born with Wools of NZ on the letterhead. My mates are generally negative, possibly because there is still a cost. Growers will be expected to buy a minimum 5000 $1 shares in Wools of NZ, based on one share/2kg of greasy wool produced. There will also be an annual 15c/kg levy (called a commitment) on all wool produced.

Wools of NZ Trust aimed initially to collect $10 million. It could still get up and running on $5 million.
However, there are some mates who congratulated Wools of NZ Trust on their efforts and who already have their chequebooks out. These positive folk know it is a long shot, but are reassured to find people out there still who feel passionate about wool. They agree this may the last chance for strong wools to move out of the bargain basement market and into the high value sector where they belong. Failure to act now will mean more dairy conversions and forestry blocks.

My positive mates suggest the amount of money involved is not onerous and will be an excellent investment if the Wools of NZ Trust succeeds. - John Stirling

More like this

Wool group raises $500k

A new group established to revise the fortunes of New Zealand’s struggling strong wool sector says it has already raised more than $500,000 and is starting to roll out its work programme.

Carpet maker's blast from the past

Following its announcement earlier this year of quitting synthetics and only using 100% NZ wool, carpet manufacturer Cavalier Bremworth has now also changed its name.

Dispelling wool's myths

Paul Alston believes that when comparing wool and synthetic carpets, wool wins every time.

Keeping shearing sheds safe

With safety at the forefront of all farm activity, there is no better time than now to assess the safety in your shearing shed.


New apple proves to be hot item

The first apple to be commercially released from the Hot Climate Programme is receiving rave reviews from growers in Italy, France and the UK, according to horticultural company T&G.


Wool group raises $500k

A new group established to revise the fortunes of New Zealand’s struggling strong wool sector says it has already raised more than $500,000 and is starting to roll out its work programme.


Machinery & Products

Good growth year for Claas

While many sectors of the agricultural machinery were hit by the ravages of Covid-19, the effects of the pandemic did…

Green machine frugal on fuel

According to the industry respected independent DLG PowerMix test, John Deere appears to be the best choice of tractor for…

App takes pressure off

TRS Tyre & Wheel, owned by Trelleborg Wheel Systems, has introduced the TLC Plus App to the New Zealand market.

New MF 5S series arrives

Just before Christmas, Massey Ferguson quietly released details of the successor to its popular MF 5700S range in the shape…

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

Poor snowflakes

This old mutt understands the country’s trendy, woke, vegan community (all four of them) is taking time out from being…

Any charges?

Your old mate wonders if the over-reaching do-gooder who set up a North Canterbury cow sanctuary “to save retired dairy…

» Connect with Rural News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter