Forestry lessons from Covid lockdowns

It’s been almost a year since New Zealand had a 4-week nationwide lockdown due to Covid-19. We caught up with some of our WIF members on specific things they learned during the disruptions, so that should it happen again, we’re better prepared to face the challenge.

Forestry was one of the first industries to feel the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic in early 2020, with the log price falling in late 2019 and into 2020.

Then before we knew it, New Zealand was having our own lockdown in March, putting huge pressure on our forestry contractors to stay afloat while parked up.

One year-on, and we have seen a couple more low-scale lockdowns in the Auckland region, with the potential for more business disruptions to come.

Here are some key lessons our members learned from last time:

1. Make contact with your accountant, finance and insurance people immediately.

Do what you can to minimise your costs while parked up. Contact your key advisors and make them aware of your situation. See if you can go on interest only payments and see if you can pause your insurance premiums while not working.

2. Make a plan with your forest owner.

Contact your forest owner and discuss the implications to your business. Find out what exemptions apply in your forest and understand how your business will be impacted. If there is a border restriction that may impact you (for example the Auckland border if Auckland are in a higher level lockdown) see what they’re doing to get the appropriate paper work to allow you to keep working.

3. Make sure you understand the terms of your personal insurance.

If you do pause your personal insurance, make sure you understand the terms of your policy. Most policies will only allow you to pause your policy for a certain time period over the lifetime of the policy, so ensure you understand your terms and conditions.

4. Claim your laid-up insurance credit for any machinery.

Most machinery insurance policies will have a clause allowing you to claim back a laid-up credit when you’re parked up. Make sure you understand your entitlements and get any credits you’re owed.

Summing Up

In conclusion, hopefully there won’t be any more lock downs in our future. But, if there are, hopefully our Government has heard our industry advocates and forestry will be reclassified as an essential service. Either way, let’s get prepared and ensure you understand what you can do to weather the storm as best you can.

PLUS, check out these WIF Covid-19 harvesting operating protocols too:


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