A summit in Wellington yesterday aimed to offer innovative solutions for the future of New Zealand's wool industry.

Federated Farmers' Meat and Wool Chair Miles Anderson spoke to The Country's Jamie Mackay about the summit and how it tackled the problem of strong wool.

The strong wool industry continues to struggle in New Zealand and Anderson says "there was a sense of urgency amongst all the participants yesterday that something has to be done."

"There was a consensus that we need to tell our story better. People who we're trying to sell our product to don't understand where wool comes from," says Anderson, who reports wool has been out-competed by synthetics and the oil industry.


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Mackay suggests it is difficult to tell wool's story when without the wool growers' levy or the backing of an industry-good organisation.

"Long-term it's probably something that needs to be addressed," agrees Anderson who says Federated Farmers' Meat and Wool section looked into reintroducing a wool levy at its latest AGM.

Another issue facing the strong wool industry is a 25 per cent pay increase for shearers, which could result in the cost of the wool harvesting process exceeding the end-product.

Anderson says this is a "tough" situation, as it puts pressure on strong wool growers, but shearers deserve the pay rise.

"I guess the idea around the increase in the cost of shearing is to try and attract and retain staff in the industry because we're looking at a crisis."

The shearing workforce is also ageing which poses another problem for the wool industry says Anderson.

"If we don't address that issue now, we aren't going to get sheep shorn at all."