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Home > Media> 1999

21 January 1999

Media Release
Rural Media

Farmers warned off Australian wool packs

WoolPro and exporters are asking farmers not to use Australian polyethylene wool packs.

The packs which have two narrow blue stripes are significantly heavier than New Zealand standard packs which have one broad blue stripe.

WoolPro quality manager Kelvin Whall and Wool Exporters Council executive manager Nick Nicholson say the packs will cause conflict between buyers and sellers, both in New Zealand and overseas.

The Chinese-made packs have appeared on the New Zealand market following changes to Australian legislation which requires all Australian wool to be packed in nylon.

Wool packs are covered by a joint Australia/New Zealand standard. The Australian polyethyelene pack has been entirely excluded from the standard.

In New Zealand, the Wool Board lost its power to legally enforce standards for wool packaging when the Wool Board Act became law in December 1997.

Farmers now have unlimited choice as to how they pack their wool, but all industry players strongly recommend that they comply with industry standards.

“WoolPro has adopted these standards as part of the Fernmark Quality Programme, so participants in the programme must continue to use New Zealand standard packs,” said Mr Whall.

“We strongly urge other farmers to do the same.”

Mr Nicholson said standard packs, which weigh 1.4-1.6 kg, are the basis of all industry transactions, both in New Zealand and in export contracts.

“Buyers allow a nominal tare of 1 kg for the pack. But they consider themselves short-changed when they are supplied wool in 2.5 kg Australian packs.

“In effect, they get 1.5 kg less wool per pack than they have paid for.”

Making adjustments for packs of different weights is not practical, according to Mr Nicholson. Most of the more than 1.5 million bales handled in New Zealand each season are not actually sighted by exporters who buy on the basis of wool samples or specification.

“Some international markets can be very quick to make claims against exporters on technicalities. Consignments of wool in differently weighted packs provide a tailor-made pretext for claims of under-supply,” he said.

“Exporters who are aware that wool is being supplied in these packs will discount the price they are willing to pay the farmer, or alternatively they will buy elsewhere.”

Mr Whall said it would be in the best interests of the New Zealand wool industry if the Australian packs were not sold here.

“We urge the importers to do the right thing and sell them somewhere else.”


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