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Federated Farmers VP says 'yes' to fine wool levy
Sep '09
After this week's 'no' vote in the Meat & Wool New Zealand wool levy referendum, Federated Farmers vice president Donald Aubrey is suggesting a fine wool growers organisation be developed.

"I say yes to the collection of a levy that can be used to undertake industry good work for the benefit of all fine wool growers," says Donald Aubrey, Federated Farmers vice president.

"Fine wool growers remain optimistic that their returns can be improved and I believe they are committed to making this happen. As well as ensuring political support, I am currently consulting other fine wool growers over the development of a potential referendum and industry good body.

"The organisation would focus on research and training and its funding would be held and distributed by a tightly focussed group, similar to Merino Incorporated. But whatever shape the organisation takes, it must be lean and mean and under the firm control of the farmers it represents.

"That is because fine wool growers would not want to fund a large bureaucratic structure in order to achieve benefits for their production. Instead, we want an organisation that is solely focussed on benefiting the fine wool sector.

"This is not a criticism of Meat & Wool, which lost its right to represent the fine wool industry after this week's referendum result. Meat & Wool provides an important service for promotion and the development of new initiatives such as fine wool meat as a niche product.

"But the fine wool industry needs a service of its own, as it has its share of needs that must be addressed. Federated Farmers is considering its overall position now that wool is to be developed separately. It is likely that a fine wool organisation would require a levy of four cents a kilogram not including dag wool. It would have a strong focus on training, research and development," Mr Aubrey concluded.

Mr Aubrey farms a high country property in the heart of the South Island at the headwaters of the Rangitata gorge where he has grown merino wool since the early 1980s.

Federated Farmers of New Zealand

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