A number of local Sawmills are back up and running as part of a phased sector restart of parts of the forestry sector.

The phased restart has been necessary to ensure the continued supply of essential services during Alert Level 4, says Deputy Director-General of Te Uru Rākau Julie Collins.

“This includes the supply of essential services including fuel for heating, chip for animal welfare and pallet material for the pharmaceutical and food and beverage supply chain.”

The Ministry of Primary Industries and Te Uru Rākau have been working with the industry over the last few months and providing the all Government response team with the latest information about what is happening in the sector.

“I want to thank the sector for their patience, sharing of information, and commitment to ensuring the forestry and wood processing sectors are in a position to recover from the impacts of COVID-19. There is a lot of work ahead of us, but I am pleased we have been able to take this first step in getting the sector back to work”.

“Te Uru Rākau has also been working with industry to assist in the development of sector-specific guidelines and protocols for safe operation concerning COVID-19,” Collins says.

Each company must develop their health and safety practices specific to their site before operating under Alert Level 4. All primary sector companies that are operating under Alert level 4 must have registered with MPI, outlining their company’s COVID 19 protocol.

Under Alert Level 3, all primary sector businesses will be able to operate so long as they can meet COVID-19 safety guidelines.

New Zealand will remain in Alert Level 4 until next Monday at 11:59 pm.