WoodWeek – 29 July 2015

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Greetings from your WoodWeek news team. The big news for our industry this week is the first meeting for the board of Forest Industry Safety Council (FISC). Coincidentally, FISC has announced the appointment of Fiona Ewing to the position of National Safety Director. The new organisation has a wide stakeholder mix and meets the highest priority recommendation made by the Independent Forest Safety Review panel back in October 2014.

Ms Ewing has 30 years' experience as a health and safety professional in a wide range of industries including energy, engineering, construction, agriculture and forestry in the United Kingdom. Her most recent position was Group Manager Health Safety Environment and Quality for Powerco. Her career began with the UK regulator, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), where she worked in the Forestry National Interest Group. This involved working with the forest industry to develop and implement best practice guidelines.

Meanwhile, the Forest Industry Contractors Association is continuing its most popular workshop series in the regions in years. Tokoroa was the venue for the most recent "Managing Risk in Forest Contracting" workshop. Both members and non-members are welcome to register for the next regional workshop in this series in Whangarei on 20 August.

Changes to the Health and Safety Reform Bill announced this week will help small businesses, farmers and others provide safer workplaces, BusinessNZ Chief Executive Phil O’Reilly said. The Bill had been delayed over concerns including the workability of the law in workplaces where non-employees are present, and over compliance issues for small businesses required to have worker participation processes. Given the high level of interest in the changes made, there will be a lot of discussion before this Bill goes to a vote in Parliament to become law.

Staying with political issues, there is work being done to reduce the tendency over the years for ACC Ministers of different Governments to tinker with the ACC. Proposed legislation is now being debated to reduce the risk of this in future. More on that as the debate continues in weeks to come.

On to the regions – a levy on the forest sector for the cost of clearing woody debris and forestry slash operations has been put on hold by Gisborne District Council after pleas from the forest industry not to make a hasty decision.

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FISC appoints National Safety Director

A National Safety Director, Fiona Ewing, has been appointed to advance the work of the Forest Industry Safety Council (FISC).

This is a key role in the recently-formed Council, set-up to lead safety culture change and to drive improvement in safety performance across the sector.

Ms Ewing has 30 years' experience as a health and safety professional in a wide range of industries including energy, engineering, construction, agriculture and forestry in the United Kingdom. Her most recent position was Group Manager Health Safety Environment and Quality for Powerco.

Her career began with the UK regulator, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), where she worked in the Forestry National Interest Group. This involved working with the forestry industry to develop and implement best practice guidelines.

FISC chair, Dame Alison Paterson, welcomed the appointment. “Fiona is a health and safety leader who has the practical capability, strategic skills and vision needed to pursue FISC’s goal of zero harm and I look forward to working closely with her.”

FISC is a not-for-profit organisation that includes representatives of all those who can influence forest safety – forest owners, farm foresters, contractors, workers, unions, government and WorkSafe NZ. Establishing the council was a key recommendation of the Independent Forestry Safety Review Panel that reviewed forest safety in 2014.

The council has been set up with an establishment board, which will step aside at the first meeting of the full board on 28 July. It is funded jointly by forest owners and the government.

Ms Ewing will start work for the council in early October, following an orientation period during which she will meet many of the major players in forest safety.

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New safety bill more practical says O'Reilly

New legislation for health and safety is being made more practical, says BusinessNZ.

Changes to the Health and Safety Reform Bill announced today will help small businesses, farmers and others provide safer workplaces, BusinessNZ Chief Executive Phil O’Reilly said.

The Bill had been delayed over concerns including the workability of the law in workplaces where non-employees are present, and over compliance issues for small businesses required to have worker participation processes.

The draft legislation continues to require those controlling a workplace to do everything reasonably practicable to keep it safe.
However, among other areas, it now clarifies that:
· The area where work is being undertaken on a farm will be categorised as a workplace, while areas where work is not being undertaken will not be categorised as a workplace. This addresses the concern of farmers being liable for e.g. hunters or trampers present in non- working areas of a farm.
· Small businesses with fewer than 20 employees, in lower risk occupations, will not be required to have safety reps.

Mr O’Reilly said the amended provisions helped address concerns about unfair liability and compliance for small business.

“The new draft Bill also makes clearer the issue of control over a workplace. The ‘person conducting a business or undertaking’ (PCBU), with the primary duty for safety under the new law, will usually be a business entity, such as a company, but may be an individual in the cases of sole trader or self-employed person. This makes it clearer where the primary duty for safety is.

“The new Bill also responds to concerns about the weight of penalties where an accident results in death, with provision for guidance to courts requiring them to consider this serious charge when sentencing.

“It is positive that the new legislation has been drafted from a sound base and has been further improved in responding to issues raised by business.

“Before this Bill goes to a vote in Parliament it will be important that the Government works with those who expressed concerns to ensure that the new Bill does properly address these.

“It will also be important for WorkSafe to work with business in a non-bureaucratic way to put in place systems to ensure business can actually comply with the new rules.”

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ACC transparency welcomed

More transparent management of ACC levies is strongly supported, says BusinessNZ.

Speaking to the Transport and Industrial Relations Select Committee today BusinessNZ economist John Pask said the ACC amendment Bill* would help prevent political manipulation.

Mr Pask said BusinessNZ had for many years made submissions pointing out the deficiencies of the annual ACC levy consultation round, and it was pleasing that the Bill addressing those deficiencies had finally made it to Parliament.

“There has been a tendency over the years for ACC Ministers of different Governments to tinker with the ACC Board’s recommendations and the proposed legislation will reduce the risk of this in future.”

Mr Pask said BusinessNZ recommends further changes to the Bill, including requiring:
· that the Government’s fiscal position not be a consideration when setting ACC levies;
· independent reviews of ACC Ministerial policy statements;
· any cross-subsidies within ACC accounts to be made transparent;
· that the need for levy stability must not override the need for true price signals; and
· discontinuing residual claims levies in ACC accounts that are fully funded.

*Accident Compensation (Financial Responsibility and Transparency) Amendment Bill

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CHH fined after man banned from site

CHH ordered to pay fine after illegal drug test - The Employment Relations Authority has ordered Carter Holt Harvey to pay the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union $10,000.

The union said the company was penalised after it used the pretext of a random drug and alcohol test to deny access to one of its sites in Nelson to a local union organiser.

The union said Corey Wallace was asked to take the test while he was conducting a union meeting in a disused administration building. They said he was then banned from the site after he refused to take the test.

The union's South Island director of organising Alan Clarence said there were no grounds for the test and Carter Holt Harvey was fined because of their misuse of power.

"Employers don't have that unfettered right to declare all of their workplace a safety sensitive area and subject to random drug testing, a safety sensitive area has to be justified."

More >>

Source: Stuff News
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Council backs off forestry slash levy

A LEVY on the forest sector for the cost of clearing woody debris and forestry slash operations has been put on hold by Gisborne District Council after pleas from the forest industry not to make a hasty decision.

The levy or rate was one of five options considered for adoption by the Future Tairawhiti committee (the full council) along with identifying land where clearfell forestry is not a suitable activity, strengthening resource consent conditions, and requiring a bond as part of resource consents for clearfell harvesting.

Instead, the committee adopted a recommendation that staff be instructed to work with the consent holders, representatives of the forestry industry and the community, and bring recommendations back to the council.

Mayor Meng Foon successfully moved an amendment to an original motion from Pat Seymour that added the community to the consultation process.

The council will also make a submission on the Government’s new national environmental standards for forestry, seeking to have recognition given to the unique soils of this district.

Before discussing the issue the committee heard a presentation from shared science manager Lois Easton, veteran forester Sheldon Drummond and chairman of the Eastland Wood Council Iain McInnes.

Graeme Thomson said the council should consider taking the focus off clear-felling. There were areas with steep slopes that would have to be clear- felled.

Chief executive Judy Campbell said the council was not considering banning clear-felling. If the national environment standards went through, none of the recommendations the council was considering would happen.

It was her intention to mount a campaign saying the district’s soils were different and all the other councils agreed with that.

Lois Easton said unproductive Wharerata land had been planted to control erosion. This was the land that was being harvested. When this started to move in a storm, the whole thing went.

Council monitoring showed that the latest storm in the Whareratas was a one-in-25- years frequency event, but in fact this level of event was now likely to happen every year.

This was a thorny issue. If there was an easy solution, it would have been applied by now. It was in everybody’s interest to reduce the slash.

Mrs Campbell said the issue of slash was brought up at every public meeting they went to on the Coast and now Muriwai too. If they did decide to impose a new rate, it would be a year before it could come into effect.

Craig Bauld said he had been attracted to the rates/levy option in a sense but at the same time he had worried about it. This was classic competing interests — you had foresters wanting to make a bob and beach users who wanted a pristine beach. Who should pay, the exacerbators or the beneficiaries?

Mrs Seymour moved that the staff be instructed to consult with the forest industry and bring back a report.

Judy Campbell said she would like to consult with the community as well as forestry interests.

Mrs Seymour said she believed that could come back in the staff report. Mrs Campbell said she considered that to be a prejudicial process. The council should not be seen to be in the forest company’s pocket.

Roger Haisman said if the council consulted with the community they would want to shut forestry down.

Amber Dunn said the amount of slash on beaches was huge.

No one wanted to take the forest industry down. These trees were planted for permanent erosion protection.

Mr Foon’s amendment adding the community to Mrs Seymour’s motion was carried and became the final motion.

Source: Gisborne Herald

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Public input on forestry rules

Representatives from the Ministry for Primary Industries heard the concerns from land owners, environmental protection groups and council staff from Marlborough and Tasman at a public meeting last night on proposed national environmental standards on plantation forestry.

Motueka Valley land owner Roger May, who has worked in forestry for almost 30 years, said a national standard would remove public input into decision making around land use.

It would also reclassify erosion risk levels, so that resource consents would not be needed for forestry activities such as harvesting.

He said that was bad news for places like Nelson, which had steep hillsides prone to erosion. The Ministry for the Environment aimed to create a nationally consistent standard by removing the huge variations in forest management currently caused by different council rules.

Plantation forestry was currently managed under councils' district or regional plans, which govern land use. Each council around the country had a different plan.

Mr May said the Resource Management Process provided a forum for public input into decisions around forestry, but that wouldn't happen under National Environment Standards.

"I can see the industry's interest in wanting to see consistency of rules across the country - it makes sense. It doesn't make sense though to have different rules where the environmental issues are identical.

"My interest is in seeing that a set of rules is developed that has a better chance of meeting environmental constraints, while allowing the industry to manage their forests and make a profit. "I don't think these guidelines will achieve that."

New Zealand Forest Owners Association chief executive David Rhodes said the consultation process run by the Ministry had been "robust" and had given rise to regional issues around the country. He said planned new rules around the way forests are managed would mean better protection measures, and not worse as some feared.

Mr Rhodes said a proposed national environment standard could lead to tighter controls around where and how trees are planted.

He said councils would be obliged to put better controls in place, which could make forestry unviable in some areas.

Source: Stuff News

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Oiling supply chain wheels

Shaping supply chains into value chains is something Dr Carel Bezuidenhout and his team excel in.

Carel is Scion’s Science Leader for Value Chain Optimisation, a small dedicated team of systems’ analysts who specialise in ironing out the complexities of supply chains, analysing market opportunities and making operations run more efficiently. Or, as Carel terms it, fine-combing the details and connecting the dots.

“A supply chain is about making money by producing, moving and marketing products,” says Carel. “On the other hand, a value chain is more about alignments where companies with similar business models synergise and innovate to create unique win-win opportunities.

“Our team has a strong mathematical modelling background, but the real key to driving value chain optimisation lies in creating teams with the right skills across Scion’s broad range of disciplines, and appreciating the different business realities along the supply chain. A considerable amount of value chain research involves understanding the people who make the decisions along the supply chain.”

Although it’s early days for the team, they have already begun to analyse data that describe product flow and stockpiling to quantify the forestry supply chain’s degree of leanness and agility. As Carel explains, this should fit the business models and the nature of the markets, otherwise the supply chain may not be fit for purpose.

“On one hand we have lean operators who try to reduce all forms of wastage. They operate in a commodity market with a high turnover and small margins, so the focus is often on volume and consistency. At the other end are some manufacturers that need a greater choice in timber because they make a range of products for different markets and need to adapt to suit market demand.

“The best way to measure how well a supply chain is working is by evaluating the size and fluctuations of the stockpiles. There are always going to be fluctuations due to the variability in log prices, market demand and upstream variability, but it’s how well that variability is managed that makes the difference.”

Although the drive is towards increasing domestic processing, log exports form a substantial component of the forestry industry. The various port and shipping logistics activities happen independently of each other, and often no single entity assumes responsibility for streamlining port activities as a whole.

According to Carel, there is significant scope to benchmark and simulate port activities in order to ensure operations are world class. Likewise, there are opportunities for individual log exporters to evaluate the efficiency of their multi-port operations. The VCO team has already initiated work in this area.

More >>

Source: Scion Connections

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FICA Managing Risk Workshops

The Forest Industry Contractors Association (FICA) is continuing its series of workshops on Managing Risk in Forest Contracting. The next workshop will take place on Thursday 20 August 2015 in Whangarei.

The feedback from the first two workshops in Gisborne and Tokoroa has been very positive, with a number of people saying that it was the best and most worthwhile workshop run by FICA that they had ever been to.

Garth Beker from Beker Findlay Allan will be leading these workshops, along with key speakers from TLC, Vero and UDC Finance and a presentation from SafeTree.

Garth specialises in the business of forestry, business systems, tenders, costings, pricing a proposal and the emissions trading scheme. He does evaluations of forest investment options, and forest industry contracts. Garth is also experienced in road transport contracting, information systems and driver management.

Anyone from logging contractors, to silviculture contractors to log cartage contractors would benefit from these workshops. You can expect to get interactive learning from the examples being discussed for your benefit, as well as tools to take back to your own company.

Included in the topics covered over the day will be market risk, forest demographics, geographic location, business management, insurance risks and risk through the eyes of a finance company.

Registrations are open now so make the most of this opportunity and register today. Call the FICA office on 07 921 1382 or download the flyer and registration form here.

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Workers transition to new forest owner

In South Australia last week, workers in the state's south-east were told OneFortyOne Plantations would assume full management of plantation forestry assets.

South Australian Forests Minister Leon Bignell travelled to Mount Gambier to tell more than 70 workers the news.

He said about 60 staff would be offered new employment deals with the company and it should achieve greater job certainty.

"We think a lot of them have probably seen the writing on the wall and thought this will happen and for a lot this is not going to be a scary thing," he said.

The rest of the jobs will remain with state-owned ForestrySA.

More >>

Source: ABC News

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Serco's NEW Prison Plan (Warning - May Contain Satire)

Satire: Serco To Outsource Prison To Public Sector - In response to high-profile failings, multinational omnicorporation Serco will introduce public management in its prison system.

Serco's New Zealand manager, speaking on condition of anonymity, has announced plans for managers from the Department of Corrections to run the Mt Eden Correctional Facility.

"The State Sector has solid local connections and a long history of providing core crown services. The innovative decision to appoint Corrections managers will bring in new ideas and best practice which will benefit the entire sector. Maybe even including Wiri, the other prison we run."

The spokesperson denied claims Serco was simply using the Public Sector to avoid responsibility for the troubled prison.

“Some naysayers might think the public sector has no business running core crown services and seem prepared to misrepresent or downplay serious private sector failings. I say, we can do better. I’m confident that Corrections will bring the high standards of professionalism, safety, rehabilitation and security expected by Serco to Mt Eden/ACRP.

“I mean, that's not a high bar. We have video of prisoners playing with a staff radio. They might as well have had keys. Maybe they did - I've no idea.”

As well as not letting prisoners have the guards' equipment, other possible innovations include finding out how people keep falling over those balconies even though the rails are quite tall and maybe reporting all the incidents, not just the ones you're likely to be caught for.

The spokesperson emphasized the arrangement will not affect staffing levels. "There will be just as few staff as we have currently."

The prison will continue to operate within the current Serco framework, though Public managers might turn out to be “less sue-able” than private providers. The State will receive a number of one-off payments and Serco will meet the cost of the Public managers. "But that's a small price to pay. I mean literally not a big price: we have a $300 million, 10-year contract. This money comes out of performance bonuses – apparently we're still getting those – and in return we don't have to manage the prison we are still being paid to manage."

Responding to claims the nature of the contract would encourage a box-ticking approach by the State provider, or even deliberate concealment of failings, the spokesperson was firm.

"At its worst that would be fraud, and if that happened we'd terminate the contract immediately. Not just because we couldn't trust them, but because we'd clearly be incapable of properly running a contract for services."

Besides, it was clear both parties had "the same goals".

"And I don't just mean 'making private providers look good'. For instance, we've just seen what happens when these things go wrong: people suddenly start caring what happens to prisoners. I don't think either of us wants any more of that."

Source: Scoop News (Satire section)

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Buy and Sell

... and finally ... Orientation to higher learning ...

While visiting a posh American university, a lady tourist noticed several young students on their hands and knees assessing the courtyard with pencils and clipboards in hand.

"What are they doing?" she asked the tour guide.

"Each year," he replied with a grin, "the upperclassmen ask the freshmen how many bricks it took to finish paving this courtyard."

When they were out of earshot of the freshmen, the curious lady asked the guide: "So, what's the answer?"

The guide replied: "One."


There were two sophomores who were taking Organic Chemistry at Duke University and who did pretty well on all of the quizzes, midterms, labs, etc. Going into the final exam, they had solid "A's."

These two friends were so confident going into the final that the weekend before finals week (even though the Chem. final was on Monday), they decided to go up to University of Virginia to a party with some friends.

So they did this and had a great time. However, they ended up staying longer than they planned, and they didn't make it back to Duke until early Monday morning.

Rather than taking the final then, they found Professor Aldric after the final and explained to him why they missed it. They told him that they went up to Virginia for the weekend, and had planned to come back in time to study, but that they had a flat tyre on the way back and didn't have a spare and couldn't get help for a long time. So they were late getting back to campus.

Aldric thought this over and agreed that they could make up the final on the following day. The two guys were elated and relieved. So, they studied that night and went in the next day at the time that Aldric had told them.

He placed them in separate rooms, handed each of them a test booklet and told them to begin.

They looked at the first problem, which was something simple about free radical formation and was worth 5 points. "Cool" they thought, "this is going to be easy." They did that problem and then turned the page.

They were unprepared, however, for what they saw on the next page.

It said: (95 points) "Which tyre?"

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

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John Stulen
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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