Sharing ideas with PM

South Canterbury wool classer Tim Black found an opportunity to share his passion for New Zealand...
South Canterbury wool classer Tim Black found an opportunity to share his passion for New Zealand wool with Jacinda Ardern. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
South Canterbury wool advocate Tim Black felt privileged to have the ear of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern last week, during her stop for a function in the region.

Mr Black, who classed wool for New Zealand Merino, took up an opportunity to express his concerns about the current and future state of New Zealand’s wool industry at the Prime Minister’s announcement of an $11.6million funding plan for the Theatre Royal and Heritage precinct redevelopment, at the Speight’s Ale House Timaru.

"I said I would love to push towards our locally produced wool fibres installed in state housing, KiwiBuild homes and government departments," Mr Black said.

While it was a brief encounter, Ms Ardern expressed support and shared the view that it was a "great idea".

"I only asked her one question and did not have time to get into the nitty-gritty."

A big advocate for wool education, Mr Black believed school children needed to learn the ins and outs of primary produce.

"Whether it be grapes, dairy, or meat, New Zealanders should be educated in what they produce locally more than they already are,” he said.

"Wool is New Zealand’s champagne, as it comes off the sheep's back — it is closest to the final product as anywhere.

"South Canterbury has a wool scour and a port.

"We are well poised to be the wool capital of the South Island."

Having recently installed a wool memorabilia display on Timaru’s Stafford St, Mr Black was emphatic about the past success and future potential of the natural fibre that was New Zealand’s first large export.

"The truth is that there are no young people in the wool industry.

"People have to retire eventually.

"We need to innovate it with new minds and support from our government."

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