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Regional leaders meet to discuss impacts of coronavirus on Tairawhiti and its industries

'Wellbeing of affected residents is the key priority': Mayor Rehette Stoltz

Regional leaders met yesterday to discuss impacts the coronavirus outbreak and other factors in China are having on local industry, particularly the export sector, and to plan how they can support those affected.

The implications for the forestry sector were highlighted by Andrew Gaddum, chief operating officer of local port operator Eastland Group.

“We understand several companies in the region will soon temporarily stop all log exports. Several others are planning to keep sending product through Eastland Port to markets, including Korea.

“There may be some product going to China, although at significantly reduced volumes. Eastland Port remains open and we continue to work closely with our customers.”

Other exporters from the fisheries and horticulture industries will likely be impacted, with the Chinese borders being effectively closed for at least the next week.

Mayor Rehette Stoltz says the wellbeing of affected Tairawhiti residents is the key priority.

“This is a very uncertain time and we want to ensure our residents are supported. Several organisations are working together to make sure the right support is in place.”

Gavin Murphy, chief executive of Trust Tairawhiti, the regional development trust, said his business team was already working with affected businesses from a range of export sectors.

Meeting attendees agreed to gather information on those affected in the forestry industry to ensure the right support be put in place.

This initiative is being led by the Eastland Wood Council.

The group will also collate broader employer and employee information, along with links to central government plans regarding support to affected sectors.

UNCERTAIN TIME FOR MANY: 'This is a very uncertain time and we want to ensure our residents are supported. Several organisations are working together to make sure the right support is in place', said Mayor Rehette Stoltz.