Queenstown’s winter wood crisis hits home


Keeping the home fires burning is difficult in Queenstown because dry firewood stocks
have run out.

Three local suppliers say they’ve completely exhausted their dry wood stocks - another two merchants aren’t returning calls.

“We’ve got plenty of wood but it won’t burn,” veteran Terry Sothern of Queenstown Firewood Supplies says.

Sothern ran out of dry wood two weeks ago – the earliest in his 48 years in the game, he says.

Last year he didn’t run out until November.

Sothern’s warning customers he’s only got wet wood.

“I’ve got a good reputation - I don’t want to spoil it.”

Mark Paddon of Queenstown Alpine Firewood confirms he can’t supply dry wood so he’s not selling wet wood either.

After running out of dry stuff in April, he’s been fielding up to eight calls a day from desperate customers ever since.

Superior Firewood’s Elbert de Koning confirms there’s no dry firewood in the Wakatipu: “Totally correct; absolutely.”

De Koning’s back-up plan is to haul dry macrocarpa in from out of town – but it’s 200km away so the cost will be far higher.