[9 July/The Country]

As many as 1000 people could be left out of work by a collapse in the price of logs sent to China. It has also been reported that there may be more indirectly affected as logging trucks sit idle on the wharves at ports in China, not being sent to construction projects inland. The resulting fall in export revenue for logs has brought prices down by 15 percent on a take it or leave it basis demanded by Chinese log importers. Forest Industry Contractors Association president Ross Davis commented the problem in China reverberated down to rural New Zealand, as while bigger companies might continue producing logs, smaller ones would be affected. NZ Forest Owners’ Association chief executive officer David Rhodes blamed the problem on several factors, such as European growers cutting down their trees early to avoid an encroaching pest, the spruce beetle, and sending the logs en masse to China before they were infected. China’s trade war with the United States has also been cited as an explanation for the problem, lowering the value of the Chinese currency, making imports more expensive and harming business confidence in China.