Wool carpet and rug manufacturer Bremworth wants to support any school in Hawke’s Bay that wishes to install woolen carpet as part of its Bremworth Wool in Education Initiative.
Bremworth CEO Greg Smith told BayBuzz the initiative was launched following reports small and rural schools were unhappy with the Ministry’s ‘Ngā iti Kahurangi’ proposal and were instead turning to community fundraising to pay for woollen carpet – rather than accepting the free synthetic alternative.
Under the initiative, schools that are due to replace their existing flooring can apply to carpet manufacturer Bremworth for a product subsidy equivalent to at least 30% of their flooring needs to help make wool carpet more accessible to New Zealand schools.
For a school requiring 400sqm of carpet, this would equate to savings over $10,000.
“New Zealand wool carpet has a history of performing for decades in Australasian schools prior to the introduction of imported synthetic alternatives,” Smith said.
“Unlike most other commercial settings, what we know about schools is that the students tend to spend a lot of time sitting on the floor.
“We believe in creating the optimal environment for learning and their comfort is a significant part of this.”
Smith said the decision to use petrochemical-based carpet fibres flew in the face of the government’s commitment to reduce the amount of plastic in our lives.
“What is needed now is for the Ministry to amend their current offer to allow schools to take the cash equivalent of the plastic tiles, which they can then put towards wool carpet,” he said.
The discount offer to schools comes despite the future of Bremworth’s Napier branch hanging in the balance, post-Cyclone.
“While the future of our operations in Napier is undetermined, it was essential for us to provide our Napier team with an opportunity to move forward in their careers and lives,” Smith said.
“Almost all staff have accepted an offer of voluntary redundancy and found new employment in the Hawke’s Bay region. We are also offering to reinstate them if the decision is made to reopen our local operations.”
In a company announcement on August 29, Smith said while Bremworth’s Napier facility remained offline following the impact of the cyclone in February, to date, the company received $35.5 million of progress payments from its insurers, helping to lift the company’s profit by $8.8 million over the previous year and increase cash on hand by 164% to $39.3 million.
Cyclone related expenses incurred by the firm totalled $14.5 million while write offs of cyclone-damaged assets totalled $7.6 million.
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