NZ Herald – 13 July 2020.
National Council of New Zealand Wool Interests chairman Craig Smith says the big thing missing from the wool working group’s report is an action plan to deliver the recommendations.
Mr Smith, who is general manager of Devold Wool Direct, was part of the working group in the early stages when it was set up in 2018.
“We all know the wool industry is in a bloody tough space but we didn’t want it to be just another report.”
But the report that had been produced reiterated the industry was in a bad place, and something needed to be done about it — “and here’s a few ideas”, he said.
The wool industry was “in big trouble”.
“We can’t be sitting around waiting for more reports to be written. We need to get on and get stuff done,” he said.
The Government also recently announced a primary sector plan Fit for a Better World but, despite the two reports, there was still no confirmation of the Government using 100 per cent New Zealand-produced wool products in public buildings, Mr Smith said.
South Otago farmer Amy Blaikie recently launched a petition calling on the House of Representatives to ensure all publicly funded buildings and KiwiBuild homes were built or refurbished with New Zealand wool carpet and insulation.
Mr Smith said that was his challenge to the Government — focus on “that one thing” — and while it would not change the price of wool overnight, it least it showed it was prepared to “walk the talk”.
He disputed suggestions the industry was fragmented, saying it was “totally united”. He suggested that the remaining funding of a Primary Growth Partnership programme between the Ministry for Primary Industries and The New Zealand Merino Company — aimed at delivering higher premiums for the strong wool sector — should be redirected to the entire wool industry.