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“Stay Alert” Call To Business As Coronavirus Impacts Spread Across NZ Economy

Importers and exporters should talk to their shippers – both sea and air – and keep informed as knock-on effects of China’s coronavirus hit New Zealand.

Auckland Business Chamber head Michael Barnett said the plight of the education sector and its impact on many NZ communities was acknowledged.

With around 6500 Chinese students enrolled to study here still in China, the flow through will have a wide impact on many small and medium businesses in New Zealand.

“Other than the education sector the Chamber has seen some mixed outcomes so far where in some cases there are significant reductions in volumes but in others there has been an almost panic buy and distribution where access is still available,” said Barnett.

Staying alert and flexible to the shifts was important:

  • Perishable goods export orders and some airfreight flights had been cancelled.
  • About 1000 forestry workers were out of a job amid supply chain disruption.
  • On the China side there are less people working so there are delays in processing imports at the border and delays in distribution.
  • Shipping congestion at the ports is a reality – which may impose a cost on NZ exporters. However, some shipping companies were offering destination changes at no cost in order to assist exporters.
  • For NZ importers, supplies are being delayed out of China which may have an impact on local manufacturers.
  • For those associated with medical products there is an increase in demand but a difficulty in distribution on the distribution side.

Barnett noted comments of Finance Minister Grant Robertson that agencies were assessing the potential economic impacts of the coronavirus outbreak. “We are taking this very seriously,” Robertson told the expenditure select committee. “We are in a very strong position to respond.”

It was important that business keep good records, said Barnett.

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