7 Sep 2016

Lower tariffs would help Fiji's cyclone rebuild

8:42 am on 7 September 2016

New Zealand timber suppliers say delays in responding to orders from Fiji are due to local demand.

Fiji timber for export

Photo: Supplied

Fiji is trying to reconstruct homes and school buildings after many were completely destroyed by Cyclone Winston in February.

Suppliers in New Zealand say there is a squeeze on the industry, with the domestic construction boom getting the lion's share of the timber, however efforts have been made to prioritise orders from Fiji.

Fiji lowered its tariffs to assist, but suppliers said it was only for one month, when there's currently a three-month turnaround.

The Sales Manager of Max Birt Sawmills, Shannon Birt, said continued lower tariffs would help planning.

"Even our own log forecasting, it needs extensive planning, and we are operating three to four months in advance of trying to predict what the market needs," he said.

"It would help the forward planning and it would help us look at longer term supply options."

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