[18 January/ The Country]

Campaign for Wool NZ Trust chairperson, Renata Apatu, says the race is now on to reconnect consumers with products that maximise the incredible natural properties of wool.  He hopes for a new era of manufacturing, using robotic technologies to produce niche woollen goods for consumers hungry for sustainable products otherwise it is hard to see how returns from wool will justify farmers investing the time and money in growing the product.  He notes that returns for crossbreed wool have been in a kamikaze dive although merino wool was doing fine, but it represents less than 15% of the total clip.  Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre group chair, Miles Anderson, described wool as a wonder product – fire retardant, breathable, easy to clean, warm, non-allergenic and non-toxic to the environment – yet noted that crossbreed wools have not been promoted on the global stage, suggesting that the farmer decision to scrap the wool levy was in hindsight a mistake.  He said that without a viable wool industry much of what we currently consider sheep country would be likely used to finish cattle or grow pine trees with huge impacts on local communities and the environment.