WoodWeek 5 March 2014
Before we head into the main monthly market news that dominates this issue – it is fantastic to see such a strong response to our industry call for nominations for worker representatives for our Industry-ACC injury prevention committee. Click on www.fica.org.nz to download voting forms and read the impressive profiles of our 15 candidates – 10 for the North Island representative and 5 for the South Island.
First up the good news – a combined Iwi group has invested in the Kaingaroa wood basket making their purchase from its largest investor – the NZ Super Fund. Readers may recall that Harvard University's super fund beat out China's Citic to buy the Kaingaroa cutting rights from receivership in 2004. The price was not disclosed but was believed to be near US$650 million. The same forest was sold by the Crown in 1996 for $2.2 billion. The NZ Super Fund first acquired 20 percent in 2006, a further 10 percent in each of 2007 and 2008 and a final 2.5 percent in 2012. Now it has sold 2.5 percent to the Kokano Group.
Now the bad news – another disturbing outcome in wood processing. While log exports continue at pace it appears that a major wood processor could not. Southern Cross Forest Products, now in receivership, was a major wood processor - with facilities in the Thames area and Mosgiel, Rosebank, Millstream and Millburn in the South Island. Indications are that it will be sold as a going concern.
While New Zealand is enjoying the economic sunshine more than many other countries, it clearly comes with risks attached. Our forest products (okay... logs) export prosperity depends almost completely on China, much like our dairy exports do. So this news of yet another large wood processing company in financial strife is not a good sign for our industry diversification. On the other hand it is reassuring for Kawerau that SCA are investing a further $60 million currently.
With our monthly market update we have news that China imported logs and lumber for a record nine billion dollars in 2013, with North America, Russia and New Zealand being the major suppliers.
Meanwhile politics and forestry are set to come together for debate later this month with the ForestWood Conference in Wellington in mid-March. Almost as if on cue, Winston Peters, potentially this year’s political king-maker, has waded into the debate with comments on log prices and sawmilling capacity in this country. It’s interesting, but hard to see how his comments can have any effect, with the free market being a stark reality that forestry has faced since the original forest asset sales so many years ago now.
What do you think?
This week we have for you:
Election opens for ACC Worker RepresentativesFollowing a very successful nomination round for forestry workers to put themselves forward to work with our industry-wide injury prevention steering committee the election period is now open until the end of March. 15 candidates have put their names forward - 10 in the North Island and 5 in the South Island.
Candidate profiles and voting forms can be found here for download (see below) or on the FICA website: www.fica.org.nz
Candidate Profiles - Click here
- The voting is required to select two worker representatives for the Forestry Sector Injury Prevention Steering Committee.
- Therefore, your vote as a forestry worker is needed.
2. Who can vote
- Any person working in a non-managerial role in the forestry or logging sector at the opening of elections is entitled to vote.
3. How to vote
- Read the criteria, and confirm that you are eligible to vote.
- To vote in favour of a candidate, mark the box next to his/her name.
- A ‘tick’, ‘cross’, or circle are accepted marks.
- Mark one North Island and one South Island candidate.
- Return voting form by one channel by the closing time.
4. Return of voting forms
Return completed forms to:
- Forestry Industry Contractors Association (FICA) by 4:00 pm on 31 March 2014
Select ONLY ONE of the following ways to return your voting form:
1. Email - Send scanned copies of the completed form to: firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Fax - Fax copies of completed forms to fax No: 07 921 1381
3. Post - Post completed forms to: Returning Officer PO Box 1230, Rotorua 3040
Export Log Market UpdateIn-market logs prices have lifted another 1-2% in February. A-grade logs are now at US$157/JAS in China, which is a 13% year-on-year lift. Prices in China are starting to threaten the in-market record highs reached in 2011. Though there has been lifts in inventories during the Chinese New Year period, levels never got as high as they did last year. This means that most are expecting that inventories will be reduced quickly once activity increases again. Currently demand is outstripping supply, which is leading to the increasingly large price jumps. China has to raise prices to compete for wood supply out of the Pacific North West (PNW) where domestic demand is growing. Canadian SPF lumber which is a major source of wood fibre for China is increasing in price as less and less beetle killed wood is harvested.
In the near term there is unfulfilled demand for logs in China. PNW production has slowed due to the harsh winter there. This is drawing wood out of smaller supply sources such as Ukraine and Australia. Russian supply typically increases in March, April and May and so this should take some pressure off supply in the short term, but it will still depend largely on Radiata pine from NZ.
Demand is very strong for domestic logs, despite rising costs due to the export price. February domestic prices are up 1-3% for all log types over January. Pruned log inventories are becoming tighter, as there is a renewed interest in this log type offshore. Prices have not had much in the way of increases, and so mills are still willing to buy. The smaller pruned log types are under price pressure from the utility log export price now.
Structural log types have had a slight lull in demand in some cases in the Central North Island, but this is compensating for a bit of a push from mills that were anticipating price lifts this month. Elsewhere demand is described as excellent. There is no suggestion that demand will ease from this sector as it is supported by high building rates and despite export prices still rising there is still a willingness to pay from these processors.
Most forest owners and managers are currently describing domestic log demand as the highest since before the global financial crises. Despite big increases in harvesting, the volume of logs going into the domestic market was down by about 8% on 2007, but domestic processing capacity has been reduced since then.
The increase in the Agrifax Log Price Indicator this month was the biggest lift since June 2012, but it was over an already record level. The indicator remains at its highest level, now at 103, a 15% year-on-year lift. It was pushed up this month by domestic logs increasing 1-2% year-on- year, and export logs moving up by 4-6%.
Supply of pruned logs to China has now rebalanced after quality issues caused by high inventories caused a drop in demand there last year. This has brought more demand in China for these log types and the pruned indicator lifted by 1.5 points in February. Unpruned logs had the biggest lift of 4 points. This was caused mostly by the record export prices. Demand in China is outstripping supply, which is leading to increasing demand for NZ logs.
Iwi Group Invests in KaingaroaSix central North Island iwi have joined forces to buy a 2.5% stake in New Zealand’s largest forestry business, Kaingaroa Timberlands. The investment is one of the biggest ever involving an iwi collective.
The six iwi representative organisations, Ngati Rangitihi, Ngati Whakaue Assets and Te Arawa River Iwi Limited Partnership, Ngati Whare, Raukawa, Te Arawa Group Holdings Limited and Tuwharetoa, have formed Kakano Investment Limited Partnership (Kakano) and purchased the stake from the New Zealand Superannuation Fund (NZ Super Fund) for an undisclosed price.
Raukawa chairperson Vanessa Eparaima has been appointed chairperson of Kakano. Ms Eparaima said the investment was a major strategic and commercial step forward for iwi, and a win-win that ensured iwi were involved in the forestry business itself as well as being the land owner.
Ninety per cent of the Kaingaroa Timberlands tree crop is on the 176,000ha of land returned by the Crown to eight central North island iwi in 2008, in the largest single Treaty settlement to date between Crown and iwi.
“Kaingaroa Timberlands is a successful enterprise which provides not only significant annual returns to shareholders, but which now, through our investment, also further enhances iwi participation at all levels of the forestry business,” Ms Eparaima said.
She said there was excitement and pride among iwi in investing collectively with neighbouring tribes in a commercial venture that provides significant ongoing benefits for the tens of thousands of iwi members that the collective represents.
“This investment shows the value in working collaboratively with like-minded and appropriately structured and resourced iwi,” Ms Eparaima said. “Individually we could not make this deal happen - collectively we have.”
Ms Eparaima says that, unlike most forestry investments, the size and maturity of the Kaingaroa Timberlands forestry operation means immediate cash returns will be generated for Kakano from its investment – a key investment advantage for the collective.
Adrian Orr, Chief Executive of the NZ Super Fund, said he was delighted to welcome Kakano as a co-investor in Kaingaroa Timberlands.
Mr Orr said there was a strategic benefit to Kaingaroa Timberlands in having the underlying landowners take a stake in the forestry business itself.
“The involvement of Kakano is also consistent with the NZ Super Fund’s strategy to co-invest alongside partners with similar objectives and long time horizons. Iwi are natural investment partners for the NZ Super Fund and our hope is that this deal opens up further domestic co- investment opportunities with iwi and iwi collectives.”
“By pooling their capital and capability, these six iwi have been able to access a sizeable, highly strategic investment opportunity that will benefit future generations,” Mr Orr said. This is an exciting and ground-breaking step forward for New Zealand and for the Maori economy.”
The deal, which was settled on 28 February 2014, reduces the NZ Super Fund’s stake in the forest from 41.25% to 38.75%. The Fund remains the largest Kaingaroa Timberlands shareholder. The other shareholders are the Public Sector Pension Investment Board (30 per cent), a Canadian Crown corporation investing funds for the pension plans of the Canadian public service, the Canadian Forces, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Reserve Force; and an affiliate of the President and Fellows of Harvard College (28.75 per cent).
Kaingaroa Timberlands is New Zealand’s largest forestry operation, covering 190,000ha of land located east of the area between Lake Taupo in the south to the Rotorua Lakes in the north. It is widely recognized as one of the world’s premier softwood plantations with attractive growth rates, close proximity to the Port of Tauranga and extensive infrastructure. Kaingaroa is managed by Rotorua-based Timberlands Ltd to international Forest Stewardship Council certification standards (www.fsc.org)
Large Sawmiller in ReceivershipSouthern Cross Forest Products, which operates five sawmills throughout the country, has been tipped into receivership as wood processors continue to struggle with global demand that has pushed up log prices.
Earlier this week KordaMentha’s Brendon Gibson and Michael Stiassny were appointed receivers of the Dunedin-based company, and will look to find a buyer for the profitable parts of its operations.
“The core business is profitable, but as with others in the sector, Southern Cross has suffered in a difficult industry environment,” Gibson said in a statement. “We are working with a very strong management team to keep the business trading profitably while we run a sale process.”
Some 40 sawmills have closed since 2003, according to the New Zealand Forest Owners Association. In October, the Tachikawa Forest Products sawmill in Rotorua was put in receivership with the loss of 120 jobs.
Southern Cross Forestry Products had borrowings of $17.7 million as at Dec. 31, 2012 with ANZ Bank, UDC Finance, 321 Ltd, Hunter Finance and Heartland, according to its latest financial statements lodged with the Companies Office. Its loans with ANZ and 321 were in breach of certain covenants at the time, and the 2012 accounts were tagged by auditor Deloitte over the company’s ability to trade as a going concern.
After the balance date, Southern Cross Forest Products negotiated a new funding facility with ANZ which it said would be reviewed in March, 2014.
The company narrowed its annual loss to $1.58 million in calendar 2012 from $2.92 million a year earlier, as it booked a $2.34 million gain on the value of a 2009 acquisition. Revenue climbed 16 percent to $95 million in 2012, though the gross margin was squeezed to 4.6 percent from 8.6 percent in 2011, as the cost of sales rose at a faster pace.
Southern Cross operates wood processing facilities in Thames in the North Island, and in Mosgiel, Rosebank, Millstream and Millburn in the South Island.
KordaMentha’s Gibson said the receivers will be seeking new owners “who can continue to build on the company’s strengths” and expect to start the process in the next few weeks.
NZ Contractor Key IndicatorsCheck out the latest changes in diesel prices, interest rates and exchange rates for New Zealand in this week's Key Indicators.
*Note:The LCI has been re-expressed on a June 2009 quarter base (=1000).
NZ LoggerKobelco, which is now distributed throughout New Zealand by Mimico, is making a push to sell more machines into forestry and two of its 35-tonne excavator loaders have recently gone to work with Juken in Gisborne. One of them is the subject of an Iron Test in the March issue of NZ Logger magazine. Whilst in the Gisborne region, NZ Logger also visited the team at RAD Logging, which runs a 7-day, extended hours operation in-land from Te Puia Springs. They are managing to pull impressive numbers in very difficult country, yet with an excellent approach to safety, and their experience would be worth studying by other contractors.
And speaking of safely harvesting in difficult situations, the big wind-throw clean-up after the Canterbury storms last Spring is still a long way from being completed, and there’s an update on what’s happening in the March issue.
This month also sees industry leaders get together for the ForestWood 2014 conference in Wellington, with much speculation about how and IF we can meet the objective of more-than doubling our exports by 2022 – there’s a realisation that it will require some political assistance to help make it happen, but the magazine asks whether that will make much difference, judging by past experiences. One wood processing company that has invested big money on upgrading its added-value business in New Zealand is the SCA Hygiene tissue plant at Kawerau, which is covered in magazine’s quarterly NZ Timber section.
The March 2014 issue of NZ Logger is now on sale at selected service stations, or to subscribe, visit www.nzlogger.co.nz, where we also have video clips of our latest Iron Tests, with more being added each month.
Record China Log and Lumber ImportsChina’s importation of softwood lumber was 19 percent higher in 2013 than in 2012, reaching a new record high. The unprecedented increase in lumber shipments to the Chinese market that began in 2008 is continuing. In 2008, the country imported 3.6 million m3 of softwood lumber valued at US 700 million dollars, according to the Wood Resource Quarterly (WRQ). Two years later, in 2010, the volume had increased to 9.4 million m3 and in 2013, China imported close to 17 million m3 of lumber, valued at a bit over 3.6 billion dollars.
Canada and Russia are the two major suppliers of lumber to China, with Canada having overtaken Russia as the largest supplier in 2010. Together, these two countries supplied almost 80 percent of all imports. However, this year Europe, Russia, Chile and New Zealand have all increased their shipments to China at a higher pace than has Canada. Sweden, for example, more than tripled its export volume from 2012 to 2013 to reach 370,000 m3, or just over two percent of the import volume last year.
This trend, where countries that just a few years ago were virtually non-existent in the Chinese market are now expanding is likely to continue in the coming years both because China’s continued hunger for more wood and because Canada is not likely to increase exports much more than the levels seen over the past few years.
Importation of softwood logs to China really took off during the second half of 2013. In the 1H/13, import volumes were about 14.8 million m3, and in the 2H/13, China imported 18.1 million m3, an increase of 23 percent in just six months, making 2013 a record year for Chinese log imports. The total value of imported logs reached just over five billion dollars. During the past year, all major log suppliers to China increased their shipments except Russia, which in 2013 shipped the lowest volume since 2004. New Zealand shipments were up by 32% year-over-year, the US increased volumes by 55% and interestingly, Ukraine, which just a few years ago did not export any logs to China, shipped 1.4 million m3 in 2013, a tripling from the previous year, as reported in the WRQ.
(Note: Currency is US dollars)
SCA's $60 Million Commitment to KawerauA NZ$60 million expansion of the SCA Kawerau Tissue Facility in New Zealand was officially opened by Prime Minister John Key last month, marking a new era for the iconic Bay of Plenty facility.
The Kawerau site has a long history of manufacturing Tork® tissue products, including toilet paper and hand towel for the Australian and New Zealand market. The expansion includes a new 14,500 square-metre tissue conversion hall, a 50 metre long state-of-the-art ‘wide-winding’ machine and robotised packing and dispatch. These investments increase production of tissue products at the site by the equivalent of 22 forty foot containers each week. This follows the company’s investment in converting the site’s electricity-driven turbines to geothermal steam in 2009, contributing to a 45 per cent reduction in annual C02 emissions.
“We have a long history of supplying locally made Tork tissue to Australians and New Zealanders, and our $60million investment to upgrade the Kawerau site will ensure we continue to provide world-class Tork products for years to come,” Executive General Manager for Tork Professional Hygiene said. In addition to the expansion of the Kawerau facility, SCA has also invested $65million in upgrades to the production facilities at its Box Hill site in Australia.
Political Crunch Time for ForestryThe forest industry will be listening intently to what the country's political leaders have to say at a major election year conference coming up in mid-March.
"There are hundreds of thousands of hectares of marginal farmland that would deliver greater long-term returns to the land owners and the New Zealand economy if they were planted in trees. Similarly, New Zealand should be processing more of its logs at home and our nation's public buildings should be exemplars of the wonderful attributes of wood as a construction material," says conference convenor Jon Tanner.
"But they are not. And the answers to the "why not" ultimately lie in the policies adopted by successive governments. They create the playing field on which our industry plays a very long- term game."
The biennial ForestWood conference attracts the leaders of the country's forest and wood products industries. This year's event, which is being held in Wellington, will focus on the policies needed for the industry to achieve its economic and employment growth potential.
Politicians, industry leaders and political analysts will elaborate on what they plan to do to make the New Zealand forest and wood products industry more successful domestically and in a highly competitive international marketplace.
The conference is hosted on 19 March at Te Papa, Wellington, by the Wood Council of New Zealand in association with the Wood Processors' Association, NZ Forest Owners Association, Farm Forestry Association, Pine Manufacturers Association and Forest Industry Contractors Association.
It will follow two high-profile NZ Wood events on 18 March at the James Cook Hotel, Wellington: A seminar on the use of engineered wood products in commercial construction, held in conjunction with the NZ Timber Design Society, followed by the annual NZ Wood Resene Timber Design Awards dinner.
Politician Wades in on Wood WoesPolitical hopeful calls for set New Zealand log price - New Zealand First Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters is calling for a log price to be set to end the regional devastation that is occurring as sawmills close.
“The jobs of another group of 400 workers are hanging in the balance with the announcement that Southern Forest Products has gone into receivership leaving workers, including 120 at Thames, nervously awaiting the outcome of a sale," he said, “In the past decade more than 20 big sawmills, and many smaller ones, have closed with the loss of more than 1700 jobs. Meanwhile, the value of log exports has tripled in the same period."
“It is the export log price that is killing local industry, with Kiwi sawmills unable to buy logs for processing. A set log price for Kiwi firms will arrest the decline of sawmills."
“The domino effect from sawmills continuing to operate is huge. It is estimated that between 2.2 and 5.8 jobs are created outside the industry for every one fulltime forestry or timber processing worker.
“A set price on logs would also allow New Zealand to keep its capacity as a log processor, which has been built up over many decades. At present New Zealand relies on a few countries to buy logs. If these markets dry up, and we have saved our sawmilling industry, we still have the ability to turn logs into products for use domestically and for export."
“Towns around New Zealand have been hit with sledgehammers as sawmills have closed, it’s time to come up with a measure that will give the local economies a chance to thrive,” says Mr Peters.
Source: Scoop News
Innovative New Wood Treatment LaunchedAn engineered wood product that has the potential to transform building construction has been included in the New Zealand Building Code. Laminated beams made from glued veneers of radiata pine are well known for their strength, stability and uniform sizing. Now improved durability can be added to the list.
Laminated veneer lumber (LVL) treated with Azotek, a novel product developed by New Plymouth-based Zelam Limited, has been included in the NZ Building Code as an acceptable solution for internal framing.
“This is a world-first,” says Zelam marketing manager Noel Coxhead. “It essentially makes wet solvent treatments for LVL and plywood obsolete and opens the door to much wider use of LVL framing in building construction. “LVL is the key to precision construction using wood. But because of the well-known difficulties associated with wet solvent treatment of LVL, wood processors have been reluctant to go down that track.
“It is difficult to get traditional treatments to penetrate the glue layers that bond the layers of LVL and plywood. The liquids involved also affect the dimensional stability of the finished product – which needs to be dried after treatment.
“In contrast, our new treatment takes place during manufacture, so the finished timber is dry and ready for use as soon as it rolls off the production line. Because the treatment compounds are present from the surface to the core of the timber, it can be drilled, sawn and notched during building construction without any loss of integrity or need for retreatment.”
Azotek-treated LVL has been available on the NZ market for more than 12 months, enjoying a steadily growing market share from designers and builders seeking precision wood products. Its first commercial use was in Christchurch’s cardboard cathedral, where LVL beams were used for the main structural elements.
But despite having Standards approval as a treatment, the previous lack of formal Building Code approval has been a barrier to the wider use of Azotek-treated LVL, says Nelson Pine Industries (NPI) Australasian sales engineer Andrew van Houtte.
Coxhead says Azotek is made up of two fungicides that are widely used on food crops, but are new to wood treatment – triadimefon and cyproconazole – plus bifenthrin, a standard wood treatment insecticide. Although Azotek-treated LVL has New Zealand and Australian Standards approval for H1.2 treatment, it is sold only in New Zealand, because the H1.2 standard does not apply in Australia. Trials of Azotek H2 and H3-treated LVL and plywood are now underway and Coxhead says these are looking very promising.
H2 treated framing is widely used in Australia, because this standard of treatment provides termite protection. When approvals come through for Azotek H2 and H3-treated LVL and plywood, these are likely to be well received by wood processors and builders on both sides of the Tasman.
“But the bigger prize is likely to be the United States, where a lot of engineered wood is used in housing construction. Already wood processors there are showing a lot of interest.”
New wood treatments including wood preservatives will be a focus for this year’s Wood Innovations 2014 event being run in both Australia and New Zealand in September. Early details on the event can be found on www.woodinnovations2014.com
Carbon Units Info for TransparencyMore info on carbon units to help decide value - Associate Minister for Primary Industries Jo Goodhew and Minister for Climate Change Issues Tim Groser have today announced changes to the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) which will allow for greater transparency.
“From April buyers and sellers of carbon units will be able to see where the unit has come from, so they know how the unit was generated,” says Mrs Goodhew.
“New Zealand units can be either generated by forests registered in the ETS or the Permanent Forest Sink Initiative (non-harvest forests). Or, they can be allocated by the Government to eligible sectors to reduce the impact of the ETS rules.
“By giving greater transparency over how the units were generated this Government is allowing buyers to decide if one is worth more than another. For example, some registered forests have added environmental benefits, or could be regenerating native forest.
“Although there is not expected to be a significant shift in the price of units, this Government believes buyers should have as much information as possible so they can decide whether they want to pay a premium,” says Mr Groser.
How the unit was generated will be listed in the New Zealand Emissions Unit Register. The change follows discussions with account holders. For further information and a summary of feedback received regarding this proposal can be found here www.eur.govt.nz
Source: New Zealand Government
Labour Would Close ETS LoopholeLabour-Green Government Would Close Loophole - Last week Carbon News reported that "A loophole allowing heavy industrial emitters to coin it at the expense of taxpayers by selling free carbon credits is likely to be closed under a Labour-Greens government."
This was in reference to the free allocation received by emissions intensive and trade exposed entities with an obligation under the ETS, an allocation that under current settings is certainly more attractive to bank or monetise, when an ERU will do the same job.
They went on to say that Labour Party finance spokesman David Parker, who as Climate Change Minister in the Labour Government brought in the Emissions Trading Scheme in 2008, told Carbon News that the situation should be dealt with. “It’s wrong that New Zealand Units which are worth more than these Russian hot-air units are being sold by the people who are allocated them, who are then importing cheaper hot-air".
While the "loophole" was in fact one of Labour's own making, subsequent attempts by the party to see the role of UN offsets constrained have come to nothing and at this stage current polls appear to indicate that they will be unlikely to get the chance to fix it following the election later this year.
Nonetheless, because the current government's international negotiating positions has seen us cut off the hand that's been feeding us this cheap Kyoto fodder as of May 2015, perhaps there's still something for Parker to be happy about.
Source: Caron Match Weekly
South Australia Fires Threaten Mill JobsThe owners of a sawmill in South Australia's mid-north are calling for State Government help to save the local forestry industry. Morgan Sawmill, the largest private employer in the region, relied heavily on supply from the nearby Wirrabara forest, 90 per cent of which was damaged by the recent Bangor fire.
Co-owner Ed Morgan says the fire spells the end for their business, with only two years worth of salvageable timber left.
"We won't be able to survive," says Ed Morgan. "Hopefully the salvage will be managed in such a way that gives us two years, and after that our plan is to go through and source as much as we can from the local areas."
Beyond then, the future of the sawmill, and it's 44 full-time workers, is not known.
To read the full story click here
Source: ABC News
Snippets - Forestry Less Stressful + IKEA RumoursIn recent years, stress and job burnout are the topic of numerous investigations. It is known that the professions that bring the most stress are surgery, psychiatry and journalism. Unlike them, there are professions in which the degree of stress, as shown by research, is reduced to a minimum.
Ten years ago the World Health Organization has declared stress in the workplace worldwide epidemic. Do professional stress occurs when our capabilities, desires and expectations are not in accordance with the requirements of the workplace and the environment. According to research, surgeons, psychiatrists and journalists were subjected to great stress.
However, numerous studies have shown that the least stressful forestry profession.
Employees are less focused on relationships with colleagues, and thereby reduced the space for bickering, mutual gossip. Also, since the work carried out in the open air, the influence of nature and fresh air, acts to reduce stress.
This week a Bring Ikea to New Zealand Facebook page is humming with comments after a weekend post saying that Ikea NZ will be located in Hobsonville in 18-24 months. The page moderator, Justin Flitter, said he was messaged through the page that a store was planned for west Auckland near Hobsonville.
"The person said their friend was working on the building designs for the new site which is yet to break ground," he said. "These claims are unsubstantiated and I have not seen resource consent from the council or heard any official word from Ikea franchise owners in Australia to confirm or deny this."
Ikea Australia, which has five stores across the Tasman, did not deny the rumour, saying only that "IKEA Australia has no news regarding IKEA stores in New Zealand". The company has previously said it reviews its store sites annually.
Ikea is popular overseas for its large mega centres, which stock cheap furniture and designer goods.
Tristram Whimp, manager of Auckland shop Myflatpack - one of New Zealand's major stockist of Ikea products - had heard nothing from Ikea. "As New Zealand's first and largest reseller of Ikea products, we have a very close understanding of what Ikea's expansion plans are likely to be."
To read more click here
Before Chainsaws...Before chainsaws were invented, the logging industry in the United States & Canada was a seriously challenging occupation and we are only talking about 125 years ago. In the Pacific Northwest there were forests full of monster trees and cutting them down was done by hand. A friend sent me these photos and I had to share them with you....
… almost finally … It BUGGED him for 40 yearsA Tennessee man whose Volkswagen Beetle was stolen while he was having dinner with a group of friends in 1974 never thought he would get his Bug back.
Joseph MacDonald says he's the owner of the 1965 car, which authorities say was recently discovered in Detroit, 40 years after it was stolen.
Federal border agents in Detroit who checked the paperwork discovered that the 1965 Beetle was reported stolen. The last owner, a Michigan resident, didn't know that history. The vehicle was being sent overseas to be restored.
The car was found in January before it could be shipped to Canada and then to Finland. The car now is white but was red in 1974.
Knoxville, Tenn., police spokesman Darrell DeBusk said a man named Joseph MacDonald reported it stolen in 1974. He said a phone number left by MacDonald no longer works.
On Friday, MacDonald showed WBIR-TV the title for the car, which he said he purchased in 1973 while studying at the University of Tennessee campus in Knoxville.
"I knew exactly where I had parked it, right on Highland Avenue, and when we came back there was just an empty spot there. Just poof. It just vanished," he told the station.
After reviewing photos released by federal border officials, MacDonald said he was sure the car is his stolen Beetle.
"She's got a new paint job, the same top. I know that's the bumpers. That's original bumpers. And that top stayed down. It didn't matter how cold it was," he told WBIR-TV.
"I had always hoped to be reunited with that thing. I've actually told my youngest daughter about that car and she said, 'Boy I wish you still had it,' and I said, 'I do too. I loved it.' And I never dreamed in my wildest dreams that I might get it back."
The Knoxville Police Department told the station MacDonald will have to present the title to investigators in order to get the car back.
Buy and Sell
… and finally … The dangers of texting
A man received the following text from his neighbour:
That's all for today. Have a safe and prosperous week.
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