Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Govt backs new wool project

The Government is supporting a new project with all-wool New Zealand carpet company, Bremworth, which has its sights on developing more sustainable all-wool carpets and rugs, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor announced today.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) will contribute $1.9 million towards Bremworth’s $4.9 million sustainability project through its Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures (SFF Futures) fund. Bremworth is a subsidiary of Cavalier Corporation Limited.

Minister O’Connor said the three-year programme will involve research and development of natural and green chemistry-based alternatives to the few remaining synthetic components of woollen carpets.

“The rise of synthetic carpets has overtaken wool dramatically in the last few decades, which has severely affected the wool industry,” Mr O’Connor said. 

A huge heard of sheep in New Zealand about to go into the shearing shed. There are 40 million sheep in New Zealand and 4 million people! sheep out number people 10 to 1.

“I’m told that an average Kiwi household laid with synthetic carpet is estimated to have the equivalent weight of 22,000 plastic shopping bags on its floor. That’s a compelling reason to use sustainable wool wherever we can to make healthy homes for Kiwis and the world.

“More than ever consumers are considering the entire life-cycle of products. We believe this programme will spur demand for New Zealand strong wool and enhance our manufacturing competitiveness through strong environmental credentials that challenge industry norms.”

 He said New Zealand wool was 100% biodegradable, renewable and sustainable.

“It aims to keep New Zealand woollen yarn and carpet manufacturing capacity in New Zealand, preserving jobs, and protecting local communities and supply chains.”

Mr O’Connor said revitalising the strong wool sector was a key part of delivering the Fit for a Better World – Accelerating our Economic Potential Roadmap, released last year. It included bringing forward $84 million of SFF Futures funding for innovative and creative projects.

“This new project is a great example of an initiative that aims to create a step change in the wool products manufactured in Aotearoa, and deliver on the Fit for a Better World vision,” he said.

“Ultimately we hope it will benefit New Zealand’s strong wool sector, with better returns for our farmers and manufacturers, and supporting their communities.

“If we get this right, then that’s a compelling yarn we can sell to our markets abroad.”

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