The new owner of Waverley Sawmills has had a major rethink and binned plans to breathe life back into the plant less than a year after buying it in March 2019.

Spectrum Group managing director Wade Glass confirmed yesterday the sawmill was back on the market as his company refocused its energy and finances on its core business of forestry.

"A lot has changed since we bought the Waverley Sawmills - she's pretty tough out there," Glass said yesterday.

Spectrum Group bought the mill and closed it in March last year. Glass said at the time its resource consent and surrounding forest maturing in 10 to 12 years made it an ideal site for a modern, automated mill that would process higher volumes of timber.

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His focus for last year was acquiring more local forests to supply the mill with timber.

However, that did not occur as New Zealand's timber industry went into cardiac arrest, driven by several factors, including the exit of China from the marketplace.

"Everybody in the industry I talk to is hunkering down."

The Spectrum Group owns forests, sawmills, logging trucks and a log trading business and has grown from nothing in about six years.

Its two focus areas are South Taranaki/Whanganui and Gisborne.

"We have shut down two thirds of our mill at Te Kuiti and our intention was always to focus on our start-up mill in Gisborne - that was always our plan even before we did anything at Waverley. But like everyone else we are divesting our assets that are not paying at the moment. The industry is in dire straits. There is something like 7 million cubic metres of surplus logs sitting there and nobody knows when things will come right."

Glass said forest owners were their own worst enemies charging local processors more for product than they charged overseas players.

"Local processors are essentially subsidising their overseas competitors. We don't want subsidies ourselves, all we want is an even playing field."

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Waverley Sawmills is being sold by Bayleys Real Estate Whanganui agents Russell Duggan and Jordan Davies with tenders closing on March 4 unless it is sold beforehand.