New Zealand’s auto industry is short approximately 18,000 cars this month after shipments of Japanese imports had to be put on hold because the boats were full of dangerous stink bugs.
Look at a map and you will notice that New Zealand is an island, off in the ocean on its own, at peace with itself. This means the country has developed its own ecosystems while being barricaded by water from the dangers of other ecosystems, at least until us parasites started moving around.
The stink bugs found on the Japanese car import ships pose a serious threat, according to CNN Money, and New Zealand has been seeing a dangerous spike in the amount of bugs finding their way into the country.
Here’s more from CNN Money:
The critters could wreak havoc across the country’s farms. They tend to reproduce quickly, eat a broad variety of crops and resist most pesticides.
Protecting agriculture and the environment is coming at a cost to the auto industry. The three ships from Japan that were refused entry were carrying more than 10,000 new and used cars, according to David Vinsen, CEO of New Zealand’s Imported Motor Vehicle Industry Association.
“In my 15 years in this role, and probably 30 years involved in this industry, I have not seen anything which is as serious as this,” said Vinsen, who flew home early from a family vacation to deal with the crisis.
Since New Zealand stopped manufacturing cars itself in the 1990s, the country has relied on imports, particularly from the massive Japanese auto industry just up the way. An additional 8,000 cars are being held back in Japanese ports, according to the report.
The impact on New Zealand’s auto industry is more than just a few thousand cars being held back from lots, as the delay also impacts a lot of people’s jobs. Workers have already had hours cut or opted to take vacations, and the threat of temporary layoffs is looming.
New Zealand already has a plan to avoid this in the future, via CNN Money:
On Tuesday, it said it would start requiring all used vehicles from Japan to be cleaned and inspected at an approved facility before being shipped to New Zealand. Exporters of used machinery from Japan will have to prove their equipment has been adequately cleaned as well.
“Nearly 95% of used vehicles from Japan already go through approved facilities,” the Ministry for Primary Industries said. “The requirement will now be compulsory for all imports.”
Authorities aren’t sure about what has caused the bug infestation on the imports, and are hoping to overthrow their bug overlords as soon as possible.