Sunday, March 5, 2017

More Rhetoric regarding the Wool and Meat Industry in New Zealand.

I am a passionate stud sheep breeder who obviously wants there to be a strong future for sheep farming in New Zealand, but what is the future, I don’t know?

I do know that I am sick to death of listening to commentaries on the topic which are just generalised generic crap, with no detail as to how we achieve these grandiose statements they make.

A perfect example of this recently was Damien O’Connor, the agricultural spokesperson for Labour, waffling in an interview with Jamie McKay on the Country along the lines: wool is a great sustainable product with health benefits, fire resistant blah blah, they need to get out there and market the product, too long nothing has been done by the government, by processors, by blah blah.  I don’t recall exactly what he said but it was along these lines: he uttered similar rhetoric regarding the meat industry.

I know from my own experience and involvement over the years that a lot of people and entities have endeavoured to get the message out about wool, they have tried to market a clean green traceable story behind it, they have emphasised the positive attributes of wool, but has any traction been made, given the price of wool currently you would probably say no.   Should more be done? Sure, but what do we do?   

I did a quick search on the internet:  wool versus synthetic carpet,  some key differences:  Price, synthetic carpets generally much cheaper: synthetic carpets generally much more fade resistance (solution dyed nylon carpets carry warranties for this) an issue if have large windows or doors where carpet is exposed to sun; wool better insulator, warmer in winter and cooler in summer and good for those with asthma; wool generally more resilient, but will wear more in heavy traffic areas compared to some synthetic carpets.  Wool is a natural sustainable renewable product.  There is a lot more on the internet for consumers to digest before determining what carpet to buy. 
However like most things today I would imagine the biggest obstacle for wool carpets is Price!  Clearly anything made of wool is a niche product that needs to be aimed at the wealthy consumer, a generic statement made by me!  However I really don’t know how we gain more traction in this market.

Citing Icebreaker as an example is pretty tiresome, given this is a fine wool clothing product produced by a private company that focuses on a very small niche market, in theory it should be easy to replicate, but I suspect the bigger the niche market you are trying to target the harder it is! Moreover clothing is a product that appeals to people’s vanity and in terms of the price to carpet a home, is a very small sum to pay and such I would presume it’s much easier to market an expensive sweatshirt to a person than a wool carpet.

Others waffle on about how we need to bring back a Wool board and a Meat board:  to do what?  If they were so fantastic the first time around why is the sheep industry in the present predicament it is today.  If these boards are the answer, could the advocates please state why they will make a difference, give specifics of how and what they will and can do, including the amount of funding that may be required to achieve what they are suggesting, not simply we need to bring back the Wool Board to market generically around the world.

I think many people forget that while we as New Zealanders consider ourselves big players in the market, we are not, we are just a drop in the ocean and as such to create the sort of brand recognition that the “Wool board would do” is so far beyond the resources we have its ludicrous.

I applaud those who publicly air their opinion, as arguably without it, nothing would ever change or improve.  However those who simply regurgitate what has been said for the last 20 years, without providing specifics or detail as to how we achieve these stock standard generic statements, I, for one, would rather not have to read or listen to any more of their dribble!!!