'As always with any kind of blip or downturn, Gisborne is 1st cab off the rank for what I'd call 'evasive manoeuvers'! At least 10 crews have been given notice (ours included). Some have been stopped for a few weeks now and others finishing dates are rapidly approaching. Some have been given 90 days but I'd like to think that when the upswing happens, they will be reinstated. There are no current available jobs in the area, though corporates are looking ahead and planning for the future. I'd like to think that when everything rights itself, those crews hardest hit will find work again. Expectation for normal work resuming here is March. Quite a long wait and predicament for contractors and finance companies.
Harvesting employees are now finding themselves in a different position. Where before they could cherry pick a job, they are finding none available. This causes concern for restart as they could deploy into other industries and not return to logging. However, it looks as though Silviculture could benefit in the short term, with plenty of indication that some harvesting workers will go pruning.
The port took possession of their newest cranes in the last week. But unfortunately they didn't plan how to remove them from the ship that delivered them, to the dock itself. This caused further disruption to the waiting ships as they figured a way to do so. This means more demurrage fees will be implemented and no doubt filter down to an already strained harvesting industry. Port disruption will continue as they undertake adding another desperately needed berth, but will hopefully fix the breakwater so swells stop interfering with loading on a regular basis. Storage will continue to be an issue until the 2nd berth is operational and no doubt lack of truck and drivers when running normally will keeps things slow as well.
Covid looks like it will make its way here soon as it slowly spreads throughout the country. Vaccination rates here are very slow on the uptake despite extensive work and money injected to rectify this. Gisborne only has 2 HDU beds. Highly worrying. However, after lots of talk and education, all of our crew has has at least one dose. I can only hope that we don't get hit too hard here.'
This regional update from our Board Members was written November 2021 during the Covid pandemic and log price downturn. It featured in the December 2021 Christmas Update from Women in Forestry.