Synthetic carpet deal 'the height of hypocrisy' by NZ Government

Synthetic carpet deal 'the height of hypocrisy' by NZ Government

A petition has been launched this week, calling on the government to use wool carpets in all its buildings and former CEO of the NZ Food & Grocery Council, and former National MP, Katherine Rich, has also weighed in with an opinion in The Post.

She told REX hosts Rebecca Greaves and Hamish McKay she was appalled to find out NZ Wool Growers didn't even get a chance to pitch a woollen alternative to the synthetic carpet deal.

"I think it is just next-level disgraceful," Rich said.

Five years ago the Government made a statement with the promise of broader outcomes on procurement as a way of reflecting the environmental and social issues New Zealand was largely focused on at that time. Five years later, Rich said it appears the Ministry of Education didn't get that memo.

"On all grounds putting synthetic tiles into 800 schools doesn't make sense, particularly when the Ministry of Education has spent so long lecturing schools about what it is about being a sustainable school right down to the little stuff like what sort of bin liners schools should use.

"It's the height of hypocrisy."

The steady flow of public displeasure that followed the decision does not surprise Rich and she told Greaves and McKay the Ministry of Education's response shows how unprepared they were for the reaction.

"I think the Ministry has been caught flat-footed and I bet they are really surprised by the outrage tornado that has come their way.

"They've sent out some of their representatives that are pretty low-level mumble about the synthetic tiles being more flame resistant. Anybody with half a brain about wool knows that's a key selling point of wool."

The fact that the Ministry for Primary Industries have been co-funding education programs for school children to learn about natural fibres and the benefits of products like wool.

"They are going to be learning all this good stuff and then suddenly they are going back to sit on plastic tiles.

"We should keep the pressure on and we should not allow this decision to be forgotten. People just need to keep talking about it and keep using it as a platform to remind the government that there are these new procurement rules in place and they should jolly well stick to them."

Listen to the full chat between Business Advisor & Director Katherine Rich, Rebecca Greaves and Hamish McKay above.

To check out more episodes listen to the REX Today Podcast anytime on your favourite streaming platforms including Spotify, Apple Music and Rova or tune in to REX Mornings live on Magic from 5 am to 6 am every weekday.

Visit the Rural Exchange Facebook or Instagram page for more information and regular updates from the REX team.