NZ First leader Winston Peters has vowed to stop synthetic carpets being installed in government buildings - promising to cover the corridors of power with pure wool carpets.
Peters, who has been campaigning in Southland, said the Government's claims that it will build 34,000 houses in Auckland in the next 10 years should be a "bonanza" for New Zealand wool.
However, that won't happen because National is turning its back on wool, Peters said.
"New Zealand First will swing government procurement in behind natural, renewable and sustainable wool and natural fibres, both as floor coverings and as a material of choice for insulation."
Peters said in the six years since January 2011 the Ministry of Social Development had purchased no wool carpets, instead opting for synthetics. Parliament has installed more synthetic carpet than wool.
An Official Information Act response shows that Housing NZ has had a policy to use synthetic carpets in place since July 2011. Since that time it has purchased 2,025,023 metres squared of synthetic carpets.
"Whether a government office or a Housing NZ property, where carpet is specified, it will be natural wool or fibre from here on in and supported by the increased use of wool insulation," Peters said.
A spokesman for Parliamentary Service said synthetic carpet tiles were used in high wear, high traffic areas.
"Broadloom carpet does not wear well with roller wheel desk chairs and the density of staff who are accommodated in the modern office environment, which is why the end user community moved to synthetic tile products more than a decade ago. Conversely, Ministerial offices have been re-carpeted in pure NZ wool broadloom, befitting the Ministerial environment."
The carpet pledge was attacked by the Taxpayers' Union lobby group as a "fortress New Zealand" proclamation that was reflective of 1970s policies that stifled competition.
Act Party leader David Seymour called the carpet policy "absolutely nutty".