Why does NZ have a structural timber shortage?
Friday 20 Aug 2021If you want to build a house in New Zealand, you'll likely want timber. But in a country that cuts down around 40,000 hectares of trees, there is a shortage of the stuff. National Correspondent Lucy Craymer explains why trade is affecting our ability to produce structural timber.
Builders are struggling to get hold of basic building materials and there are warnings that prices – already high – could rise as much as 35 per cent this year. It’s an ugly forecast for builders charged with tackling a chronic shortage of housing. And it is not easily fixed without the government doing a U- turn on the country’s entrenched devotion to free trade.
The problem has its roots more than 10,000km away in Chinese provinces like Shandong and Hebei, known for wood processing - and also in a trade agreement that has heralded significant benefits to our economy while at the same time undermining the country’s wood manufacturing sector over the course of a decade.
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