WoodWeek – 26 August 2015

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Greetings from your WoodWeek news team. This week there are some very vital issues in the forest industry that business leaders need to pay attention to. From legal issues and radio technologies, to chainsaw allowances and regional forestry growth actions, there is a lot happening right now. Indeed a mixed bag – but everything is highly relevant to forest industry businesses and their leaders and owners.

This week a manslaughter case against a forest contractor is being heard in the Palmerston North court. The case is a first for the forest contracting industry but not for the wider contracting industry. In September 2000, a trial by jury saw a Wellington drainage contractor charged with manslaughter. On appeal the following year, Wellington drainage contractor David Walton Spencer had the conviction for manslaughter of one of his workers overturned.

The Court of Appeal ruled that the trial judge wrongly directed the jury. The court also decided that Spencer, 48, should not be tried again on charges relating to the death of Paul Kevin Rosson. Mr Rosson, 21, died in a trench collapse at Wellington airport on May 13, 1998. Occupational Safety and Health charged Mr Spencer's company with failing to protect Mr Rosson at work, and the company paid a $25,000 fine, of which $17,000 went to his widow.

In communications news, we have answers to questions being asked by the forestry industry about the confusion between “going digital” and narrowbanding. It’s a common misconception that, like analogue TV, your analogue radios are going to be switched off. In fact, although there are many compelling reasons to consider a digital upgrade, you don’t need to rush into a complete replacement of your radios just yet! Even though some manufacturers are pushing narrowbanding as a migration path for the new digital technology, it doesn’t mean that analogue radios will no longer be supported or have a place in the forestry industry.

Next up in the “must read and understand” department is that there is a period of public consultation open until 24 September on chainsaw allowance payments. Inland Revenue has asked for comments on a draft item for chainsaw allowances. We recommend strongly that you consult your accountant and consider making an individual submission.

Finally this week, mobile apps and data management is the focus for this year’s ForestTECH conference. This annual technology event from FIEA brings together everyone from forestry managers and planners to resource foresters. ForestTECH in November will provide in-depth insights into new data collection tools. The growing issue facing most forestry companies right now is how best to manage and analyse the quantity of field information being collected from a variety of sources.

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Forest contractor faces legal first charges

A legal first for New Zealand started in the High Court in Palmerston North on Monday when Foxton man Paul Robert Burr entered the dock.

Burr, 47, will become the first person in the country to stand trial in relation to a death in the forestry industry.

Lincoln Kidd was 20 when he died on a forestry block between Levin and Foxton in December 19, 2013. Kidd was the tenth person to be killed on a forestry block in 2013. He was crushed by a tree Burr felled while operating a tree-felling mechanical harvester.

It is alleged that Burr caused Kidd's death, thereby committing manslaughter.

The manslaughter charge has been laid under various sections of the Crimes Act, including those covering using something dangerous without taking reasonable steps to avoid danger to people, and culpable homicide by not observing a legal duty.

Burr also faces Health and Safety in Employment Act charges, laid by WorkSafe New Zealand, in relation to the incident. Palmerston North Crown solicitor Ben Vanderkolk will lead the prosecution, while Jonathan Temm is representing Burr.

It is alleged Burr did not take reasonable steps to avoid danger to people while using a harvesting machine, and also did not observe a legal duty.

Burr also faces charges laid by WorkSafe New Zealand in relation to the incident.

The jury was chosen in the High Court in Palmerston North on Monday morning, but were sent home while legal discussions were held.

It was expected that the trial would begin hearing evidence yesterday.

The trial is set down for three weeks.

More>>

Further developments from Tuesday's court session are available on this link: 'Forestry trial a marker for WorkSafe'

Click here for NZ Herald reporting on the case

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Icom NZ: Do I have to go digital narrowband?

Simon Green, General Manager of Icom NZ answers some of the questions being asked by the forestry industry about the confusion between “going digital” and narrowbanding.
It’s a common misconception that, like analogue TV, your analogue radios are going to be switched off. In fact, although there are many compelling reasons to consider a digital upgrade, you don’t need to rush into a complete replacement of your radios just yet! Even though narrowbanding is being pushed by some manufacturers as a migration path for the new digital technology, it doesn’t mean that analogue radios will no longer be supported or have a place in the forestry industry.

What is Narrowbanding?

The New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has announced that in order to allow for an increasing number of users in radio frequency bands, 25 kHz radio equipment needs to be phased out and migrated to more efficient Land Mobile Radio (LMR) technologies.

When does all this happen?

For licensed frequencies up to 470MHz the deadline is 1st November 2015 and for frequencies above 470MHz it’s December 2019. Some dispensation has been given to the forestry industry to allow for reprogramming work to be done up to the end of the New Year break 2016.

Who does it affect?

All radio license holders that operate on UHF or VHF channels – both simplex and using a repeater. If you’ve been in operation for more than 10 years, chances are you are operating on wideband channels and will need to change. Most licenses issued in the last 10 years or so are probably already narrowband. If you are unsure, Icom offer a free license check service to tell you quickly if you are affected.

Do I need new radios?

Major manufacturers such as Icom have been making narrowband capable radios for over 10 years now, so if your radios are less than 10 years old they probably only need reprogramming. If your radios are around 10 years old or more then you need to check with your radio supplier or the manufacturer. If your current radios are wideband only will you need to replace them.

Will I need a new license?

If your license isn’t a narrowband license then yes, absolutely. The cost of applying for a new license is only a few hundred dollars so there’s no reason to wait. Once you have your narrowband frequencies issued, your radio supplier can reprogram your narrowband radio equipment easily and quickly.

Should I “Go Digital”

Although digital radios provide clearer audio, greater range, longer battery life, with more features, a full digital switchover isn’t always the best solution. There are some areas of use, including forest type environments, where analogue is potentially a better solution. Analogue radios don’t experience the “digital cliff” where digital radios completely stop working and won’t transmit or receive after reaching a certain distance. Transmission from analogue radios gradually fade out where voices become static and hard to hear – it lets you know when you’re starting to move out of range so you know your distance limit instead of suddenly dropping out of communications range.

What should I do now?

Effective communication is vital for safety, especially when working in a hazardous environment such as the forestry industry. For example, a digital radio solution in vehicles operating alongside ground teams using analogue radios is potentially a better solution for forestry type environments rather than solely analogue or digital. Icom digital repeaters are capable of operating in mixed mode which makes communications possible between analogue and digital radios. Having an Icom mixed mode digital and analogue radio solution ensures the benefits of both digital and analogue are received simultaneously.

Right now you need to be talking to your radio supplier and checking if your radios are capable of operating at 12.5 kHz. If the answer is “No” then you will need to replace your radio equipment with a more modern analogue or digital radio.
Above all, don’t rush into putting up a new digital radio network that you don’t necessarily need right now.

For further information or to ask any other radio related questions, call Simon Green at Icom NZ on 09 274 4062.

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IRD opens public consultation on chainsaw allowances

Inland Revenue has asked for comments on a draft item for chainsaw allowances. We recommend strongly that you consult your accountant and consider making an individual submission.

PUB00234: Income tax - tax treatment of allowances paid to chainsaw operators
This draft “Question we’ve been asked” considers whether a chainsaw reimbursing allowance can be paid tax-free. It explains that, under s CW 17(2), an employer can pay a tax-free allowance to an employee for using a chainsaw in their work provided that the allowance reimburses an employee for expenses the employee incurs or is likely to incur in using their own chainsaw for work. It explains what an allowance is and what types of expenses a chainsaw reimbursing allowance can cover.

Comment deadline: 24 September

PUB00324 - PDF Format

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Mobile apps and data focus for ForestTECH 2015

Mobile apps and data management focus for ForestTECH 2015 ForestTECH 2015 is again running this year. It’s timely. This annual technology series run by the Forest Industry Engineering Association (FIEA) brings together forestry managers, planners and resource foresters from around the region. It will be providing local forestry companies with an insight into new data collection tools and the growing issue facing most forestry companies right now, how best to manage and analyse the quantity of field information being collected from a variety of sources.

Other key themes include new technologies to improve mobile connectivity and data exchange within the forest and also between the forest, and other parts of the business. Leading forestry companies, technology providers and software developers will also be detailing an array of practical forestry apps that have been developed, are available, and are adding value to forestry operations around the world.

“Since 2008, the ForestTECH series has firmly established itself as the principal technology event in Australasia showcasing new technologies for forest owners and technical foresters every year” says FIEA Director, Brent Apthorp. “Without doubt, remote sensing over the last couple of years has made a profound impact on how foresters are now planning and managing their forest estates. The interest and opportunities that exist in this space was evidenced late last year with around 300 technical foresters attending ForestTECH 2014.”

Last year’s ForestTECH series profiled new developments in remote sensing and analytical tools that were available for forestry companies. Results from recent research and the operational use of airborne and terrestrial LiDAR, UAV trials collecting high-resolution spatial data-sets and the integration of this information into forest inventory and planning systems was also covered. Case studies from the early adopters of remote sensing technologies outlined just how far they’d got with their trials, what tools are being used, how the technology is being rolled out and what impact – financially and operationally – it’s made to the forestry business.

ForestTECH 2015 runs this November. Again it will be running in both countries. Satellite imagery, the increasing use of UAV platforms and airborne and terrestrial LiDAR, data being drawn from harvester heads, in-field sensors and improved field data collection and reporting increasingly is being used by forestry operations. “Big data” is no longer only a concept. Leading forestry companies increasingly are appreciating the potential transformative value that data analytics can bring to their operation.

The issue of data collection and analysis isn’t only an issue being faced by forestry companies. A staggering 90% of the world’s data has been generated in just the last two years. Industries around the globe are investing heavily in “big data” and the expected productivity gains that will come from it. The forestry industry is just now grappling with how to collect, process and manage this data.

New processing systems are required to handle “big data” and to produce the right results at the right time. Cloud computing technology is already reshaping the resources that forest managers have at their disposal. With data and applications held in the cloud, processing times and the ability to get the right information into the hands of the managers, planners and field staff is essential.

Development of digital gadgets like smartphones and tablets and improved connectivity has also changed just how forestry companies are collecting and managing data. Forestry apps and the development of mobile forestry applications also continue to rise exponentially – from measurement of wood volumes out in the field through to scheduling and logistics of wood flows. As more and more companies migrate their data and applications to the cloud, the business itself is changing dramatically.

ForestTECH 2015 will be exploring with leading technology providers and forestry companies, new data collection tools, systems to manage, analyse, report and use the ever increasing volumes of field data being collected out in the field and mobile options for improving connectivity within forestry businesses.

ForestTECH 2015 will run in Rotorua, New Zealand on 18-19 November and again in Melbourne, Australia on 24-25 November. Further information along with the drafts of the two programmes can now be found on the event website, www.foresttech.events.

If you'd like to stay up with the play as ForestTECH 2015 is being developed you can sign up to the event blog by clicking here.


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Port of Tauranga continues developing

When the Port of Tauranga Annual Results were announced last week they included some interesting updates on their cargo trends and plans for operational developments.

Cargo Trends - Imports increased 8% to 6.9 million tonnes from 6.4 million tonnes last year. This reflected growth in cement volumes, up 55% to 165,503 tonnes in line with the strength of the New Zealand construction industry. Car volumes more than doubled to 11,607 units. General cargoes also increased 22% to 3.2 million tonnes, but were offset by grain imports being down 13%; bulk liquids down 6%, and coal imports down nearly 100% due to a decline in thermal electricity generation.

Export volumes were flat on the prior year at 13.3 million tonnes with strong rises in dairy commodities, meat, kiwifruit and general freight offsetting falls in logs, sawn timber, apples, onions and steel.

The number of containers crossing Tauranga’s wharves grew 12% to 851,106 TEUs from 759,587 in 2014. This growth was assisted by last year’s agreement with logistics provider Kotahi for the delivery of agreed volumes of container traffic to Port of Tauranga.

Operational Developments - This year, in anticipation of the arrival of larger ships, Port of Tauranga has continued to streamline all parts of the supply chain linking New Zealand shippers with the vessels that carry their freight to and from offshore markets.

The company has taken delivery of two brand new tug boats, the Tai Pari and her sister vessel the Tai Timu for its Tauranga port operations. The new tugs have a 74-tonne bollard pull capacity and features to make them highly manoeuvrable. The tugs are ideally suited to handling the new generation of ships.

The Port has also ordered two new super post-panamax gantry cranes, due for delivery late in 2016 which coincides with the completion of the dredging.

Meanwhile, the company will commence its long-awaited project to dredge Tauranga harbour’s shipping channels in October 2015. Danish dredging company Rohde Nielsen has won the tender for the work, and will widen and deepen the shipping channels to a depth of 14.5 metres inside Tauranga harbour and 15.8 metres outside the harbour.

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Regional growth study sees forest industry potential

Business development leaders across the Bay of Plenty have been working closely with economic development managers and ministers in government to identify key opportunities for sustained economic growth for the region.

In cooperation with central government a recent study was commissioned to build on previous regional leaders' ideas and input to put a real focus on where development opportunities could be actioned. The Toi Moana Bay of Plenty Regional Growth Study, now completed, was opened for public consultation with industry leaders and local government economic developers at the Tuhoe facility in Taneatua earlier this week.

An action plan document summaries action plans for various industries. Forest and wood products are among the top areas identified for significant potential growth. The follow excerpt from the action plan highlights where action in forestry is likely to yield wins for the regional economy.

The Central North Island, which includes the Bay of Plenty, is New Zealand’s centre for forestry and related processing. The combination of the region’s natural resources, emerging technologies, established support infrastructure (including clusters of highly-developed mechanical engineering), support services, research capabilities, and the increasing relevance of Maori as land and forest owners, present a unique set of opportunities to stimulate the industry’s future growth.

Potential revenue growth from the forestry/wood sector is estimated at $6 billion annually, which equates to 10% of the government’s economic growth agenda target. The significant majority of this increase will be from exports, as the domestic market is limited by scale and application. Current log exports are predominantly A&K grade, which lend themselves to engineered wood products.

With significant recent processing capability investment by operators within the region, combined with strong projected demand growth, particularly from Asia, India, Japan and Korea, the Bay of Plenty has the potential to compete internationally in processed wood product markets.

Growth will largely depend on improving supply chain efficiencies to market, with opportunities identified at most segments of the value chain. Achieving scale will require industry in the region to work collaboratively, in order to identify export market opportunities, develop suitable products, production systems, applied technology and R&D.

It will also depend on working closely with iwi, in order to activate the significant Maori economy, in particular facilitating the productive use of Maori land assets, and involvement in downstream processing and markets.

Bay of Connections is the economic strategy for the wider Bay of Plenty region. It includes industries and sectors from the Eastern Bay of Plenty, Rotorua, Tauranga and Taupo and the Western Bay of Plenty.

Bay of Connections is led by a Governance Group, supported by the region’s Economic Development Agencies, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and the Bay of Plenty Regional Council. It also works with local and national agencies, organisations and businesses.

Source: http://www.bayofconnections.com

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New regional wood council launch this week

The Southern North Island Wood Council is to be formally launched on Friday 28th by the Minister of Primary Industries, Hon Nathan Guy.

Based on the MPI Wood Supply region, the area covered stretches from Taranaki to Wellington on the western side and Southern Hawkes Bay to Cape Palliser in the east. It incorporates the territories of 3 Regional Councils and 17 Local Authorities.

The forest estate in this region totals 165,800 ha or about 9.6% of the national total. Of this, 31,000 ha are in corporate ownership; about 11,000 ha are in syndicated forests, and about 13,000 ha of forests are owned by overseas investment funds. A large area (about 110,000 ha) is in the form of small-scale forests and farm wood lots.

The region is notable for the large number of small owners, with 22% of the national total of forest owners holding between 40 and 99 hectares.

Harvesting this resource represents a significant challenge to the sector in terms of the planning and organising for the harvest, harvest crew availability and logistics. Regional coordination is required for such a disparate resource and geographically spread sector.

A dedicated and specific Wood Council was seen as an opportunity to address this, and the Southern North Island Wood Council was formally established in April 2014. It is a membership-based Incorporated Society. It has a Board and a CEO.

The SNI Wood Council has chosen to present itself as a broad-based organisation that represents the whole sector. It aims to collectively advocate for its members on key issues, allow members to congregate in a non-competitive environment, and also to lead the drive towards best practise in all aspects of forestry operations, particularly Health & Safety. It will also coordinate support for industry advocacy in District and Regional planning matters, as well as for NES-related issues, thus avoiding costly duplication of effort.

Through Wood Council membership, members will be able to access to industry networks and gather information through specific events, meetings and field days.

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Business Leaders warn Government

Classing farming as low risk a dangerous message says business leaders' forum - A coalition of big business leaders says the government "sends a dangerous message" by classing farming as a low risk activity as details emerge in the long-delayed Health and Safety Reform Bill ahead of its return to Parliament for further debate.

"This sends completely the wrong message to the farming industry” and was "very disappointing," said Francois Barton, the executive director of the Business Leaders’ Health and Safety Forum, representing 178 of New Zealand's largest corporations, government, health and education entities.

“It sends a signal that everything is okay in the farming sector – and that the industry can continue on with business as usual.

“That’s just not true," said Barton. "Farming is a dangerous industry to work in and the industry needs to own that problem and change its practices.”

Some 50 industries will be labelled high risk and be required to operate to a higher level of health and safety compliance than "low risk" businesses, which will cover a vast swathe of New Zealand's small- and medium-sized enterprises, including most office jobs. The bill was hotly opposed by the farming lobby, whose agitation in heartland National Party territory saw the bill's report back from Parliament's labour relations select committee delayed by four months. Its return for second reading was delayed again this week.

Among industries deemed high-risk are forestry and logging, road freight transport, hunting and trapping, fishing, electricity transmission, horse and dog racing and any industry "deemed to have potential for catastrophic risk in the event of accident", including oil and gas extraction, underground coal-mining and petroleum refining. In practice, the low risk categorisation means farmers are unlikely to have worker health and safety representatives, although they will still have to comply with other requirements, including engaging and involving their workers in health and safety. “However, telling farmers they work in a low risk industry can only undermine the agricultural sector’s motivation to change in response to the new law.

“We risk facing a situation where other high risk industries, like forestry and construction, are taking ownership and making improvements and farming gets left behind," Barton said.

Talking points circulated by Labour Minister Michael Woodhouse to National Party spokespeople, ahead of the bill's expected return to the House this evening, styles the new regime as placing "parts of farming" into high risk categories but provides no detail.

The talking points "acknowledge that dairy and sheep farming have a large number of accidents, but they are also sectors with a huge number of workers, and when measured against the other industries, constituted a lower risk profile."

"Too many people are injured on farms," the talking points say. "A large number of serious accidents and fatalities are from quad bike accidents", an issue being addressed by an "industry- led review of quad bike safety".

Statistics New Zealand industrial accident statistics show farming and forestry have consistently constituted the largest sources of workplace injuries since 2002.

Source: BusinessDesk

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New Komatsu model focuses on speed and reliability

Komatsu Forest is launching the MaxiPC X40, a brand new PC model that provides operators with more time for production and a more modern PC platform. It combines new features such as a modern Windows operating system, a faster and more reliable hard drive and an optional touchscreen.

The MaxiPC X40 is a new PC designed especially for demanding forest environments, with hardware built to withstand vibrations and hard knocks.

One major new feature of the MaxiPC X40 is its SSD-type hard drive. One benefit of an SSD over a traditional hard drive is that read and write times are much faster. What's more, the fact that an SDD has no moving parts makes it more reliable and durable.

The new MaxiPC X40 offers advantages such as a much shorter machine startup time, faster switching between operators and assignments and faster report printouts. The PC also has a newly developed power supply and fanless cooling, which together with the new hard drive further increase reliability.

The MaxiPC X40 is delivered with virus protection pre-installed. The operating system is adapted for use in forest machines and has been made more user-friendly by hiding unnecessary menus and functions. It is possible to equip the PC with a 12-inch touch screen in a stylish design. Another option is the large capacity backup solution for backing up machine data.

The MaxiPC X40 is designed for the ongoing market and forest industry transition from Windows XP to newer operating systems.

The first to be equipped with the new operating system is Komatsu Forest’s harvester line, where serial production starts from 1 September 2015.

Source: Komatsu

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New Timber Plantation Operations COP for Queensland

Queensland timber plantation owners and operators can now access the Timber Plantation Operations Code of Practice for Queensland, a guide that outlines how to comply with all laws and with accepted principles for sound plantation management. Rod McInnes, CEO Timber Queensland launched the Code last week at the Institute of Foresters of Australia Queensland Division Annual General Meeting.

Mr. McInnes said the new Code aims to ensure commercial timber plantations are profitable whilst being environmentally sustainable and socially responsible. “The Code complements all Acts, regulations, State government policies, local government planning schemes and local laws that relate to the development of new plantation areas, “said Rod McInnes.

“It really provides everyone involved in running an existing or establishing a new commercial plantation in Queensland with a level playing field,” he said. “Every person from the landowner, the plantation owner and the plantation manager to the harvest manager and any employees and contractors employed to work in a plantation can access the Code to understand the voluntary standards they should strive to meet.”

Mr. McInnes said that the Code is ‘tenure blind’ which means it can be voluntarily applied by plantation operators over any land tenure in Queensland. In his speech Mr McInnes acknowledged the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for their funding support through the Queensland Forest and Timber Industry Plan to develop the new Code.

The Timber Plantation Operations Code of Practice for Queensland is available to download from Timber Queensland’s website.

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Buy and Sell


... and finally ... this beats a seeing-eye dog!

As a butcher is shooing a dog from his shop, he sees $10 and a note in his mouth, reading: "10 lamb chops, please." Amazed, he takes the money, puts a bag of chops in the dog's mouth, and quickly closes the shop.

He follows the dog and watches him wait for a green light, look both ways, and trot across the road to a bus-stop. The dog checks the timetable and sits on the bench. When a bus arrives, he walks around to the front and looks at the number, then boards the bus.

The butcher follows, dumbstruck. As the bus travels out into the suburbs after a while he stands on his back paws to push the "stop" bell, and then the butcher follows him off.

The dog runs up to a house and drops his bag on the step. He barks repeatedly. No answer.

He goes back down the path, takes a big run, and throws himself -Whap!- against the door. He does this again & again. No answer.

So he jumps on a wall, walks around the garden, barks repeatedly at a window, jumps off, and waits at the front door. Eventually, a small guy opens it and starts cursing and shouting at the dog.

The butcher runs up screams at the guy: "What the hell are you doing? This dog's a genius!"
The owner responds, "Genius, my arse. It's the second time this week he's forgotten his key!"

-----------------

One weekend morning, a wife says to her husband, "We've got such a clever dog. He brings in the daily newspapers every morning."

Her husband replies, "Well, lots of dogs can do that."

The wife responded, "But we've never subscribed to any!"



That's all for our mid-week wood news roundup.

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John Stulen
Editor
PO Box 1230
Building X91, Scion Campus, 99 Sala Street
Rotorua, New Zealand
Tel: +64 27 275 8011
Web: www.woodweek.com

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