The key detail missing from National-NZ First coalition agreement on wool

Kiwi carpetmakers hope a new agreement between National and New Zealand First will see customers flocking back to wool.

Government agencies will now be expected to favour woollen fibre carpets over synthetic alternatives. But a key detail - where the wool can be sourced from - was missing.

Where there's shorn sheep, there's wool. A natural product that, through this process, makes premium carpets and rugs.

Bremworth products are 100 percent Kiwi wool, and CEO Greg Smith says New Zealand wool is "the best wool in the world".

"It's best because of the properties of the wool which is the whiteness of the wool," he told Newshub. "It's best because of the way it's processed. And it commands a higher price."

But even though sheep are part of our national identity, the wool industry is in decline.

The national sheep flock tallied at about 25 million last year - that was down 400,000 on the previous year. The ratio of sheep to people in New Zealand is now below five to one for the first time since the 1850s. Back then, there were 22 sheep for every person.

"Over the last six to seven years, you've seen the wool price progressively get lower and lower and that is just a result of other fibres being chosen ahead of wool that are cheaper," Smith said.

Our own Ministry of Education is guilty. Earlier this year, it chose American company Milliken to supply cheaper nylon carpet squares in 800 rural schools.

But that's all about to change thanks to an agreement between National and New Zealand First to "direct government agencies where practical and appropriate to preference the use of woollen fibres rather than artificial fibres in government buildings".

The only problem is, it hasn't specified New Zealand wool.

"If you don't stipulate New Zealand wool, there's really no benefit to the New Zealand farming community," Smith said.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters, when asked on Monday if it was an oversight, gave a brusque response.

"Oh, give me a break."

Was that a no?

"Of course it's New Zealand wool, for goodness sake!" 

Well, it may not be in writing, but there you have it.

"I think by default it will end up being New Zealand wool, but yes absolutely, we'll be watching very closely to make sure it is Kiwi," said Campaign for Wool NZ Trust general manager of advocacy Tom O'Sullivan.

"The coalition Government takes New Zealand's international trade obligations seriously, including the national treatment and non-discrimination clauses in our Free Trade Agreements," Nicola Willis, the new Minister for the Public Service, told Newshub.

"New Zealand wool is the best in the world. We are confident that our local industry will benefit from this commitment."

Because the Kiwi wool industry has an appetite for growth.