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What Disrupted a Shipment of Cars From Japan? Oh, Stink Bugs

Yes, stink bugs are preventing a pretty sizable shipment of cars from Japan getting to New Zealand. Really.

Try this one on for size: three cargo ships worth of cars from Japan heading to New Zealand were refused entry at ports after an epic amount of stink bugs were found aboard.

According to CNN Money, the reason why the ships were not allowed to dump off the cars from Japan was because of New Zealand's natural ecosystem and its efforts to stave off foreign threats.

Eating Crops and Eating Profits

Stink bugs themselves are known to destroy the country's farms by producing quickly, eating through a variety of crops, and resisting pesticides.

But protecting agriculture is one of New Zealand's top priorities since it's disconnected from other countries. This, however, is cutting a huge chunk out of the auto industry, as three ships with cars are nothing to shake a stick at.

More than 10,000 new and used cars from Japan were denied in total. More than 8,000 more vehicles are waiting in the wings (er, waves) to be delivered, and unless this issue gets resolved quickly, temporary layoffs may be in order for workers. New Zealand stopped manufacturing cars in the late '90s and relies solely on imported cars, mostly from Japan.

This Isn't The First Time


By Ton Rulkens, CC BY-SA 2.0,

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Unfortunately this isn't anything new, according to New Zealand authorities. In fact, in 2012, another shipment of cars from Japan brought with it a horde of eggs of the Asian gypsy moth, a destructive insect hell-bent on tearing up crops.

The importers in New Zealand are trying to find the best way to get the latest ships cleaned, cleared, and unloaded to make way for the same problem floating behind it. Authorities are trying to clean the ships this week, but the stink bug epidemic has already brought on new rules. The New Zealand government said it would start requiring all used vehicles from Japan to be more thoroughly cleaned and inspected.

Maybe it was just a hiccup in the usual system, but how could you miss the aroma of billions of stink bugs just floating along with you?

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