Wider use of crossbred wools urged

Crossbred wool has a future - but its uses need to be diversified instead of just concentrating on carpets.

That is the belief of Arrowtown man Tom Murdoch, a former manager of the Alliance Textiles mill in Oamaru (now Summit Wool Spinners).

Mr Murdoch, who spent 28 years in Oamaru, has had a long involvement with the wool industry.

Before moving to Oamaru, he ran a factory in Mauritius which produced knitted Shetland garments. After leaving North Otago, he got involved in a spinning mill in Bangkok and then helped set up a dye-house.

These days, he was ''trading a bit'' in wool in some far-flung places.

''I sell wool in Iran, North Korea and a few places like that that people don't go to."

Mr Murdoch was interested in the capital-raising attempt by Wools of New Zealand. Strong wool growers have been asked to subscribe for shares at a ratio of one share for every 2kg of their annual strong wool production, with a minimum subscription of 5000 shares at $1 per share. The company's objective was to raise $10 million, although the offer would proceed with a minimum of $5 million. The offer closes at 5pm on Friday. The vision was to be the leading innovative sales and marketing company for New Zealand strong wool, while the mission was to progressively improve the profitability of grower shareholders.

Mr Murdoch described it as a ''brave attempt'' to do something and, after attending one of the roadshows, he believed chairman Mark Shadbolt had some good ideas in marketing.

Mr Shadbolt had the ''right idea'' for crossbred wool, but it was a pity that he wanted farmers to pay for it, Mr Murdoch said.

New Zealand crossbred wool could bebe used in a lot of things and it was a pity to concentrate on carpets. He believed more effort should be put into producing garments.

Wools of New Zealand has urged growers to ''seriously evaluate'' the investment offer and make a considered decision aimed at underpinning their wool returns and ensuring the long-term viability of the sheep industry.

In a statement, the company said it had spent considerable time meeting all sectors of the industry in New Zealand and internationally building strong collaborative relationships and it was now pursuing commercial opportunities with supply chain participants ''for mutual benefit''.

The directors were pleased with the co-operation andprogress made to date.