WoodWeek – 15 March 2017

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This week the forest and wood products industry is getting positive coverage in the mainstream media for our growth of LVL and CLT in homes to multi-storey commercial buildings. It follows extensive and successful promotion of this year’s NZ Wood Resene Timber Design Awards. This gala event showcased modern applications of wood that are providing cost-effective solutions for asset owners. Winners were announced at a gala function in Auckland last Thursday night.

As anyone attending last week’s Safety Summit in Rotorua and Melbourne earlier this week will have heard, the country’s biennial logging event HarvestTECH 2017 is running in Rotorua, New Zealand on 20-21 June 2017.

For the many leaders and operation team members from across forestry in both Australia and New Zealand who attended the Forest Industry Safety Summit series over the last couple of weeks, special discounted registration rates were offered to delegates. The offer closes today! There has been an excellent response already and seats are selling very fast.

Also, this week the new Associate Primary Industries Minister Louise Upston announced the opening of the 2017 Afforestation Grant Scheme (AGS) funding round. The government’s goal is to increase the planting of new forests and the rate of afforestation, Ms Upston says. A large area of land is at serious risk of erosion, and forest cover is the best form of erosion control. We are on track to meet our goal of planting 15,000ha of new forest by 2020 through the AGS.

While BC forestry companies face a long-term decline in the annual allowable cut in the Interior thanks to the mountain pine beetle infestation, BC companies on the coast have been exporting raw logs, mostly to China, in record volumes in recent years. According to a public report, one in three trees cut on the BC coast was exported in 2016 making a total of 6.6 million cubic metres exported that year.

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Timber Design Award winners

From extensive use of LVL and CLT in homes to multi-storey commercial buildings, this year’s entries for the NZ Wood Resene Timber Design Awards showed modern applications of wood are providing cost effective solutions for asset owners, says Wood Processors and Manufacturers Association (WPMA) Promotions Manager Debbie Fergie. Winners were announced at a gala function in Auckland last night, Thursday 9 March.

Entrants competed within nine categories covering residential and commercial architectural excellence, innovation and a new section for student innovation. Not surprisingly, Christchurch entries dominated this year. Timber’s lighter weight on fragile, liquefaction-prone soils with comparable structural performance, its ability to flex in an earthquake and its superior fire resistance make it an ideal structural material beyond its natural aesthetic.

The Resene Supreme Award went to Cathedral Grammar Junior School in Christchurch (photo), submitted by Ruamoko Solutions with Andrew Barrie Lab, Tezuka Architects, Ohno Japan and Contract Construction.

“Cathedral Grammar stands out as an example of what can be achieved with effective collaboration and innovation in timber design, fabrication and construction,” said judges. “The expression of the structural timber frames at a human scale is inviting, and promotes a tactile response from young occupants.” This entry also won Timberlab Solutions Ltd’s Commercial Architectural Excellence section and was highly commended in the XLam NZ/Nelson Pine Industries’ Excellence in Engineered Wood Products section.

Innovative uses of engineered timber featured strongly throughout the competition, and the NZ Timber Design Society-sponsored Engineering Innovation category provided many examples. Bealey Avenue Lodge in Christchurch was the eventual winner.

Submitted by RM Designs, judges pointed out this was the first large scale commercial application of cross-laminated timber (CLT) in New Zealand. It was considered ground breaking in terms of its application of solid timber and structural engineering while complying with the NZ Building Code and local construction practices.

For a full list of winners and highly commended entries, see attached.

Keynote speaker at the awards was Daryl Patterson, Head of Operational Excellence, Property at Lendlease, Sydney. He spoke about the benefits of using CLT in tall timber buildings and is also presenting on mass timber construction at events in Christchurch and Auckland next week.

Radio NZ's Kathryn Ryan interviewed Daryl on Monday on the opportunities CLT and LVL can offer our forest products industry. Click here to listen

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Forestry just got 'sexy'

Forestry is the new 'sexy' sector - The forestry sector is thriving, but a lack of tech- savvy workers is hampering growth. Yvonne O'Hara from the Otago Daily Times investigated.

Forestry workers are more likely to work in a multimillion-dollar, air-conditioned computerised cab on haulage or processing equipment with access to advanced and sophisticated technologies than on the ground as they did a few years ago.

However, Forest Industry Contractors Association (FICA) president Ross Davis said while the industry was growing rapidly, a shortage of people with the right technology skills was affecting forestry contractors nationwide, including those in Otago and Southland.

Mr Davis said the industry and Government must re-examine how school leavers were being prepared for employment and work and improve funding and access to technology skills training to meet the demand.

'Students and their parents don't yet understand that technology skills are now the key to getting good forestry jobs,' Mr Davis said. 'We need early risers and hard workers. For highly skilled young people, the jobs are there now to run multimillion-dollar forest harvesting machines.'

The Southern Wood Council's Brent Apthorp says working in forestry is quite different from in the past.

'Now, agriculture [including forestry] is quite a sexy subject because of robotics and sensing equipment,' Mr Apthorp said.

'Forestry now requires quite a different skill set than it used to. That is why folk with a technology background have become attractive to the forestry industry.'

Balclutha contractor Mike Hurring has nine crews, and struggles to find enough young people to fill vacancies. He often gets calls from other contractors who are also short of skilled workers.

He has invested in simulator equipment to train his and other contractors' staff to operate the multimillion-dollar machinery on forestry work sites. But other businesses cannot afford to spare staff for training and once he trains his own staff, they are often poached.

He looked at applying for funding from Work and Income to run short courses but would only have been given it if he took on the people they supplied.

'They sent guys who failed drug tests. They have to be drug-free [to work in the forestry industry].

'We do random drug tests all the time because of the industry standards.'

When he advertised for staff, he would get people replying from all over the world, he said.

'All with immigration dramas, so I just push delete.'

Part of the problem was the perception the industry wanted people in the lower end of the labour market, Mr Davis said.

'Our industry has changed quite dramatically in the past five years and we are looking for operators with computer literacy,' he said.

'About 80% of staff are in air-conditioned cabs, driving multimillion-dollar machinery.'

The industry had increased its emphasis on health and safety, he said.

The Christchurch rebuild added to the shortage as it had 'sucked up a lot of guys who operate similar machinery'. Also, forestry planted 25 years ago was maturing and coming on-stream, which also put pressure on operators.

Schools needed to have a rethink, as careers advisers tended to suggest pupils go to university, rather than promoting sectors such as forestry, Mr Davis said, a sentiment with which Mr Hurring agreed.

Mr Davis said the shortage of skilled workers would eventually stifle the amount of logs that could be harvested.

Some of his best employees were those who had not done well academically but were intelligent, he said.

Men and women starting in the industry could earn between $20 and $25 an hour and 'if they show any promise they will be pumped up pretty quickly."

Sources: Otago Daily Times, SWC & FICA

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Logs for Jobs - Filling the worker skill shortage

“Wood is going to be bigger than dairy – more sustainable and provide the jobs for our future.” Pamela Bell, CEO PrefabNZ.

New Zealand is experiencing an affordable Housing crisis – 30,000 more houses are required each year. Rural New Zealanders are the underdogs to the development of our cities. Young people can’t afford to buy a home, start families or start businesses. Everyday NZ exports its rural resources - raw logs - to China. The valuable logs are gone, our timber mills are closing. Manufacturing the logs into panels or components of houses adds value, profit and creates jobs. This is innovative construction - turning logs into houses utilising digital technology and creating work.

New Zealand has a shortage of skilled workers and this problem will only get worse. Statistics New Zealand estimates a growth in employment of 107,800 jobs in primary industries, manufacturing and construction by 2023. Number of new people needed by 2020 in Building and Construction: 64,000.

It is the skilled jobs within these areas which will see the biggest growth. Technical operators, Business Managers, Architects, Planners, Designers, Surveyors, Engineers.

Women are the untapped workforce able to fill the future skilled worker shortage. Under worked and underutilized, women make excellent employees – they are more safety conscious and more productive.

  • Raise the awareness of young people, especially females, of the work opportunities
  • Normalise females in Primary Industry, Manufacturing, Design and Construction
  • Alert employers to the ability and value of females
  • Highlight the range of rewarding jobs involved in turning logs into houses
  • Demonstrate that these roles are high-skill and involve technology
  • Demonstrate that our natural resources – forestry, can become a higher value product by undergoing innovative construction methods

More >>

Source: Prefab NZ

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Funding opens for planting

Funding round for forest planting opens - Associate Primary Industries Minister Louise Upston has announced the opening today of the Afforestation Grant Scheme 2017 funding round.

“The goal of the Afforestation Grant Scheme (AGS) is to increase the planting of new forests and the rate of afforestation,” Ms Upston says.

“New Zealand has a significant amount of land at serious risk of erosion, and forest cover is the best form of erosion control. We are on track to meet our goal of planting 15,000ha of new forest by 2020 through the AGS.”

Through the AGS, the Ministry for Primary Industries provides grants to growers to plant new small to medium-sized forests.

Launched in 2015, the AGS has so far resulted in contracts of just over $10 million to plant around 7700ha of new forest around the country.

“The AGS enables positive economic outcomes for farmers and landowners while also reducing some of the high costs associated with marginal land by increasing forest cover. The AGS will also boost regional economies by improving underutilised land so it can be used productively,” Ms Upston says.

“New forests will also deliver environmental benefits such as reducing soil erosion, improving water quality, and absorbing an average of 400,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide every year over the first 10 years of growth,” Ms Upston says.

Applications for the Afforestation Grants Scheme are open until 28 April 2017.

For more information about the AGS go to: www.mpi.govt.nz/ags



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HarvestTECH conference early bird finishes soon!

As anyone attending last week’s Safety Summit in Rotorua and Melbourne earlier this week will have heard, the country’s two-yearly logging event HarvestTECH 2017 is running in Rotorua, New Zealand on 20-21 June 2017.

For the many from industry in both Australia and New Zealand who attended the Forest Industry Safety Summit series over the last couple of weeks, special discounted registration rates were offered to delegates. These are scheduled to close today, Wednesday 15 March.

“We’re anticipating again that this year’s event will again be one of the largest gatherings of logging contractors, forestry managers, forest owners, suppliers and harvest planners in New Zealand this year” says FIEA Director, Brent Apthorp.

In addition to advances being made since 2015 in steep slope logging, this year we’ll be covering new technologies and operating practices in small wood lot harvesting (particularly around some of the unique challenges being faced harvesting the increasing number of woodlots on steep and more remote sites), harvest planning, advances in the mechanisation and automation of harvesting operations and some of the key issues around attracting people and new skills into the industry.

Some truly innovative harvesting operations are also going to be profiled. From Tasmania, delegates will hear about an Australian company that’s strapped a harvesting head onto an excavator and is working from a moored barge. They’re currently harvesting up to 26 metres under water and extracting high value specialty hardwood timbers from Tasmania’s waterways. From New Zealand’s West Coast, a company involved in large scale helicopter extraction of storm damaged timber since April 2014 will be outlining some of the issues around felling, extraction, logistics and safety with heli-lifting operations.

“The practical use of data collected from harvesting operations, improving data exchange and communications in more remote locations, eliminating log sorts and landing sizes and international developments in new harvesting equipment have also being built into HarvestTECH 2017”, says Brent Apthorp.

Full details of the two-day conference can be found by going onto the event website, www.harvesttech.events. Copies of the just completed brochures are being direct mailed to many of you this week.

Note: Two full-day field tours to local logging contractors profiling some of the new innovations on the ground are being run either side of the Rotorua event. A minimal charge is being levied but numbers will need to be restricted at both. Registrations to both will need to be taken on a first in-first served basis. Registrations can be made on the event website, www.harvesttech.events.



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Nominations closing soon for East Coast awards

The Eastland Wood Council (EWC) is celebrating their eighth annual awards. They are looking forward to recognising the region’s top performers, industry heroes and the EWC – Skilled Professional of the Year. Nominations opened in February.

What’s NEW this year is that the Council offers a mentor to assist you with getting your nomination together. Your selected mentor will be able to guide you through the nomination process and make sure that you have completed it with the right information before sending it through to the event manager. Read more about this process in the attachment.

The Eastland Wood Council is an incorporated society established to provide a collective voice for the forestry industry in the Eastland region encompassing Gisborne and Wairoa District Council areas and stretching from the Mohaka River in the South to East Cape in the North. The group was originally formed in 2001 as the East Coast Forestry Industry Group (ECFIG).

For more details on Awards Criteria click here.

To download the Nomination Booklet, click here.

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Tasmania moves to end forestry subsidies

The forestry industry in Tasmania will stop receiving government subsidies worth more than $100 million under proposed new laws. In Tasmania the state government is introducing legislation in parliament this week that it says will end $100 million in subsidies to Forestry Tasmania.

"Our legislation will end the subsidies by making available for harvest trees formerly locked up ... which can be harvested more economically," Resources Minister Guy Barnett said in a statement on Sunday.

Read more >>

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News update: Industry group prepares opposition campaign

Tasmania's peak forestry industry body will today launch a campaign against legislation designed to open up forests to logging earlier than planned, but a minister has said "it is no surprise" they are opposed to the move.

It will be the latest step in the industry's rejection of the Tasmanian Government's plan to allow 356,000 hectares of previously reserved forest to be logged, ahead of the 2020 moratorium date.

The areas were protected under the now defunct forest peace deal and were re-classed as future potential production forests by the Liberals.

Later today the Forest Industries Association of Tasmania (FIAT) will launch the campaign against the legislation in "its current form".

While that will leave open the possibility of the industry body changing its position, sources say the Government would have to "rewrite" the bill to garner support.

It's understood that senior industry players will now focus on lobbying Upper-House MLC's against the plan.

More >>

Sources: 9News and ABC

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NZU update from Carbon Match

NZUs last traded at $17.90 and have been at that level this week. Currently our best offer is $17.90, but bids have rolled back to the $17.65 level.

Stage 2 of the ETS review is ongoing and MfE should just about be wrapping up their roadshow to the people, which they've held over the last two weeks. While we saw plenty of carefully considered thinking, a preferred approach (in terms of how to engage with international markets, potential auctioning and price stability mechanisms) has yet to emerge.

There's no doubt that the post 2020 architecture of our NZETS (still our main policy tool for reducing national emissions) is challenging. Particularly when half the equation - i.e. agricultural emissions - appears to remain firmly out of scope, despite almost certainly being set to claim the lion's share of our Paris carbon budget.

Can this approach persist though? Or might we see a change in focus? Nobody doubts the difficulty of addressing agricultural emissions, but we have nonetheless committed, through the nature of our Paris target, to reducing them. And that surely means not only monitoring and reporting them, but also pricing them in some way.

It might be tempting to think of emissions within our Paris budget as being made at zero cost, but this is a mistake. There is an opportunity cost to every tonne emitted within the budget, and, for any business, the value of being allowed to emit is clearly not zero just because it receives a free allocation.

Last week in Australia's parliamentary enquiry into the four major banks, NAB CEO Andrew Thornburn got a grilling over its assessment of risks to its business from climate change, and in particular was asked questions about how a bank might look to justify financing the construction of a new coal-fired power station in a post-Paris world. The line of questioning appeared to follow a speech given by regulator APRA to the Australian Insurance Council, in which it was clearly set out that the regulator considers climate risks to be distinctly financial in nature, and to require systematic monitoring, disclosure and discussion.

More >>

Source: Carbon Match Ltd

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BC log exports to Asia soar

While BC forestry companies face a long-term decline in the annual allowable cut in the Interior, thanks to the mountain pine beetle infestation, BC companies on the coast have been exporting raw logs, mostly to China, in record volumes in recent years.

According to a recent Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) report, one in three trees cut on the BC coast was exported in 2016 – 6.6 million cubic metres – which is slightly short of the 6.9-million-cubic-metre record in 2013. Log exports between 2013 and 2016 generated $3 billion.

So, should the BC government ban or severely restrict raw log exports?

While log exports are not new, their volume and value have increased in recent years, thanks to demand from China, and raw log exports now promise to become an election issue.

The CCPA is recommending a ban on log exports from old-growth forests and higher export taxes on second-growth log exports.

If the NDP has a firm election plank position on the issue, party leader John Horgan won’t say what it is.

“We’re not going to lay it all out at this moment,” he told Business in Vancouver.

Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver said he doesn’t support a ban on log exports. He would rather see incentives given to the pulp and paper industry, which could use some of the low-value logs currently being exported.

Much of the timber that is exported in raw log form is hemlock, which is a lower- value wood.

“I don’t think banning is the way to go,” Weaver said. “But differential taxes between logs that export, versus logs that stay, is one way. Appurtenances is another way.”

Under appurtenance rules, which the Liberal government scrapped, trees cut in a given region had to be used in that region to feed local mills.

Once those rules were scrapped, logs could be sold to anyone anywhere. Buyers in China are willing to pay higher prices for hemlock logs than are local mills, which can block export sales, if they want the logs.

If coastal sawmill owners aren’t blocking export sales, it’s because they can’t compete, Horgan said. Forestry companies can get much better prices for their logs in China.

“The large tenure holders are basically preventing them from getting access to these logs by driving up the prices and selling them offshore,” Horgan said.

While in the past, most log exports came from private land owned by TimberWest and Island Timberlands from their vast private holdings on Vancouver Island, more export logs are coming off of publicly owned forests.

“It is public lands that [are] supplying the bulk, and that is increasing,” said Ben Parfitt, who authored the CCPA report.

BC Forestry Minister Steve Thomson insists that only 7% of the trees cut on coastal Crown land are exported.

Asked if an NDP government would bring back appurtenance rules, Horgan hesitated, saying that any regulatory changes need to be considered within the context of ongoing softwood lumber negotiations with the United States.

Increased restrictions on log exports could be viewed as protectionism by American lumber producers and give them even more ammunition in their fight against a Canadian system that they already consider to be unfairly subsidized through Canada’s Crown tenure system.

An estimated 25 sawmills have closed since 2006, mostly in the Interior. The mountain pine beetle wiped out half of the Interior’s timber supply, and it will take half a century for replanted trees to mature.

“If you believe – and the writing clearly is on the wall – that there are going to be significant declines in available log supply in the Interior of the province, then the future of the forest industry – at least the immediate future – is going to be much more dependent on coastal forest industry activity,” Parfitt said.

An average sawmill produces 300,000 cubic metres of lumber annually, so the amount of logs exported in 2016 would have been enough to supply at least a dozen sawmills for a year.

“If we continue down the road that we’re on, we run a very real risk of fewer and fewer sawmills, and more and more log exports, which means more forgone job opportunities,” Parfitt said.

But forest-sector organizations like the Coast Forest Products Association (CFPA) and Truck Loggers Association (TLA) argue the reverse is true. Log exports help to subsidize logging operations, they say, which benefits local mills.

“Log exports are a very important part of the economics of the coast, ensuring that we can harvest the entire profile of the allowable cut, and that means getting into some of the harder, more economically challenged areas into the lower-quality stands,” said CFPA president Rick Jeffery.

“Log exports help you do that, and they help you do that in a manner that puts logs in front of domestic mills.”

If new mills aren’t being built on the coast, it’s not because there is a shortage of coastal timber, says TLA executive director David Elstone.

“There is a surplus; you have the ability to access that surplus,” he said. “It’s not log exports that are restricting that investment.”

As for the Interior’s shrinking timber supply, Weaver thinks there are opportunities to free up more fibre in northeastern BC, where the annual allowable cut is underused.

“There are examples,” he said, “like up in the Fort Nelson area, where we have large timber lots that aren’t being harvested and there are local mills that would like to harvest it.”

Source: Business in Vancouver

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Government product recall website

From the editor: While the following article is not forestry-related we thought it may be something useful for our readers.

Over 160,000 people have accessed the government’s product recall website to help keep themselves and their families safe since it was launched one year ago today, says Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Jacqui Dean. “The site is a whole-of-government, one-stop-shop simplifying the product recall space. It is an accessible, easy-to-use website that brings together all product safety information in one location,” says Ms Dean.

“People can get overwhelmed with the amount of information out there. The aim of this site is to be a one-stop-shop for product recalls making it easier and faster for people to get the information they need to make safe and informed decisions.

“In 2016, there were a number of high-profile recalls that meant people were actively seeking information on faulty products. The recalls website proved to be a valuable resource for them to go to find trusted information.

“Because of its usefulness, the government will continue to grow the site with the aim of becoming the single site where both people and businesses can turn for product recall information,” says Ms Dean.

The recalls website is a collaboration between the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment; the New Zealand Transport Agency; the Ministry for Primary Industries; and the Ministry of Health.

The Product Recalls website is available at: www.recalls.govt.nz

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Thanks to FICA Sponsors

We would like to thank all of the organisations who support FICA, which in turn works to promote business growth and improved safety and efficiency amongst forestry contractors for the benefit of New Zealand's Forestry Industry.

STRATEGIC PARTNERS
















MEMBERS' BENEFITS – BUSINESS PARTNERS
Blackburne Group (Accountancy & Management Services)
UDC Finance (Banking & Asset Finance)
Sweeney Townsend Insurance Brokers (Insurance Services)
TLC Insurance (Insurance Services)

GOLD SPONSORS
Cableprice NZ Ltd
Mini-Tankers (Z Energy)
Komatsu Forest NZ
Shaw's Wire Ropes
Pirtek
Crediflex
STIHL
Woodsman Pro
Madill
Beker Findlay Allan
Minter Ellison Rudd Watts
Ensign
Bridon Cookes
EMS
DC Equipment
Makita

SILVER SPONSORS
Blackwoods Protector
Trinder
Timbersaws (Levin Sawmakers)
Total Lubricants
Active Equipment
Manage Company
Aegis Oil

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Jobs


... and finally ... it's autumn now

Time for some autumn jokes ...

How the legal system works (well, hopefully not!)

Taking his seat in his chambers, the judge faced the opposing lawyers. "So," he said, "I have been presented, by both of you, with a bribe." Both lawyers squirmed uncomfortably. "You, attorney Leon, gave me $15,000. And you, attorney Campos, gave me $10,000."

The judge reached into his pocket and pulled out a cheque. He handed it to Leon... "Now then, I'm returning $5,000, and we're going to decide this case solely on its merits."

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Three contractors are bidding to fix a broken fence at the White House in Washington, DC: One is from New York, another is from Tennessee, and the third is from Florida. All three go with a White House official to examine the fence.

The Florida contractor takes out a tape measure and does some measuring, then works some figures with a pencil. "Well," he says, "I figure the job will run about $900: $400 for materials, $400 for my crew and $100 profit for me."

The Tennessee contractor also does some measuring and figuring, then says, "I can do this job for $700: $300 for materials, $300 for my crew and $100 profit for me."

The New York contractor doesn't measure or figure, but leans over to the White House official and whispers, "$2,700."

The official, incredulous, says, "You didn't even measure like the other guys! How did you come up with such a high figure?"

The New York contractor whispers back, "$1000 for me, $1000 for you, and we hire the guy from Tennessee to fix the fence."

"Done!" replies the government official. … and that, my friends, is how government contracting works!

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Oops just remembered - it's St Patricks Day on Friday ... so here goes:

Last year, I went out drinking on St Patricks Day, so I took a bus home...That may not be a big deal to you, but I'd never driven a bus before.

What's Irish and stays out all night? Paddy O'furniture! (Hint: Say it out loud ... ! )

How did the Irish Jig get started? Too much to drink and not enough restrooms!

Why do people wear shamrocks on St. Patrick's Day? Regular rocks are too heavy.



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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