WoodWeek – 5 July 2017

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Greetings from your WoodWeek news team. Export log markets continue to perform well with year on year export values to China from New Zealand up 30 per cent. Meanwhile back at the port, C3 is the successful bidder to operate Tainui's inland port at Ruakura in Hamilton. This facility is well placed to become a big player for both import and export freight from central North Island producers and manufacturers.

With this week’s good news on log export performance comes a similarly positive forecast from Ministry for Primary Industries in their latest report on the Situation and Outlook for Primary Industries (SOPI). In their latest update, increases in harvesting and global prices are expected to drive forestry exports. “Record harvest volume of 30.7 million cubic metres for the year ended 31 December, 2016, was driven by relatively stable and record high log prices and a large supply of harvestable wood,” the report says. "Export revenue is forecast to reach $6.3 billion by 2021, underpinned by strong global demand."

In September, FIEA's popular WoodTECH conference series is running again. It has already attracted some of the world’s leading scanning and sawing technology specialists, innovators and leading practitioners from around the globe. Conference programmes for both Rotorua and Melbourne have just been published. Full details are also easy to access on our event website - www.woodtech.events.

Also this week, government funding will be used to investigate solutions to hazardous treated timber waste through Scion.

In Australian news, the Victorian government will take the unconventional step of buying the Heyfield timber mill in eastern Victoria in a bid to protect 250 jobs. In Tasmania the Liberals won’t alter their course on forestry, even after their plan to open more forests to logging failed to pass in the Upper House.

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Export log market report - good news again!

Thanks to the great team at Champion Freight we've got the latest export market activity update for you in a series of really self-explanatory charts. They have some easy-to-read labels on the charts so they are readily identifiable even when printed in black & white.

Of note this month is that "Log Export Values" to China for the year to date (end of May 2017 vs May 2016) are up by 30 percent (1,872 vs 1,437) (Units: NZD million).

The same figures for Japan are up 18 percent (68 vs 58 (NZD million).





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C3 chosen for inland port

C3 picked to run Tainui's Ruakura inland port - C3, the local on-wharf logistics firm owned by Linx Cargo Care Group, has been picked out of seven bids to operate Waikato-Tainui's inland port at Ruakura on Hamilton's city limits.

Tainui Group Holdings, the commercial arm of the North Island iwi, has signed up to a joint venture with Linx, which will take a 30-year lease on the inland port land, and use C3 to run the port's day-to-day operations. The deal will also see C3's own business go through the inland port, which aims to service the country's two biggest import and export hubs in Auckland and Tauranga as a complementary service to their own logistics operations.

Contractor Fulton Hogan has already started construction on the first stage of the port development, which is expected to be completed in the first half of 2019 at a cost of $50 million. Ultimately, the port operations would span 30 hectares and a logistics precinct another 60 hectares, out of the 485 hectare site returned to Tainui in its 1995 settlement with the Crown.

"C3 has a strong and loyal customer base. they have deeply integrated relationships with forest owners, primary wood processors, importers, manufacturers and shipping lines," TGH chief executive Chris Joblin said. "These are among the sectors Ruakura is designed to service, by providing customers with a supply chain that will deliver a choice of port and shipping providers; efficiencies gained from Ruakura's significant scale; multiple transport options; and a site that offers the ability to scale up and meet future and current needs."

Waikato-Tainui will continue to own the land underneath the port, which will attract rental fees, and also the rail sidings.

TGH sought expressions of interest for the port operator last year, which it said attracted seven potential port operators.

C3 was half-owned by Port of Tauranga until 2012 when Australia's Asciano bought out its Kiwi partner, and its ownership changed hands more recently when a consortium led by Brookfield Asset Management took Asciano private last year.

Linx chief executive Anthony Jones says that private ownership means the logistics firm can take a longer-term view on investments, matching the horizon taken by Tainui.

The inland port will look to use its location on the East Coast rail main trunk line and the Waikato expressway upgrade, and TGH's Joblin said they negotiating with prospective customers and tenants for the port and logistics hub.

Tainui's investment also has social goals in that it will regenerate wetlands in Ruakura site, generate jobs in the local economy, and remove trucks from the country's roads by shifting more freight on to rail. Joblin said they were working with Kiwirail to figure out how best to access the rail network.

Source: BusinessDesk via Scoop

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NZ Logger - Here Now!

Some of the technology discussed at the recent HarvestTECH conference in Rotorua is very close to being launched in New Zealand, including the much-anticipated Falcon Felling Carriage, remotely-operated backline machine and much more. Read about some of the innovation you could soon be using in the latest issue of NZ Logger magazine, along with some of the highlights from the conference itelf.

Also, the magazine profiles a crew that found a way to get around purchasing a yarder to harvest steep slopes near Wanganui, thanks to an enlightened forest manager.

Plus much more, in the July 2017 issue of NZ Logger, now on sale at selected service stations, or to subscribe for either the printed version and/or the digital version, visit www.nzlogger.co.nz.

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Positive primary growth predicted

Primary sector exports gain 2.4% this year: MPI – Growth in exports of dairy products, forestry and horticulture are projected to drive a 2.4 percent increase in New Zealand's primary sector exports in the June 2017 year, up from the 1.4 percent growth seen three months ago, according to the latest edition of the Situation and Outlook for Primary Industries.

Dairy exports are forecast to rise 10.2 percent to $14.6 billion in the 12 months ending June 30, the Ministry for Primary Industries' SOPI says. That's followed by a projected 6.4 percent gain in forestry exports to $5.5 billion and a 5.9 percent gain in horticulture exports to $5.3 billion, which will drive total primary sector exports in the current year to $38.1 billion from $37.2 billion a year earlier.

Forecast growth in dairy exports was upgraded for 2017 and 2018, compared to the March SOPI, with next year's estimate lifted to $17.3 billion from the $16.8 billion forecast three months. The report was released about the same time as gross domestic product data for the first quarter, which showed agriculture, forestry and fishing expanded 2.8 percent, the fastest pace of any sector, driven by increased milk production.

The rebound in dairy “represents a recovery of global dairy prices as supply and demand rebalanced over the year,” MPI said. "Export revenue is forecast to continue to rise through to 2021, provided butter prices remain strong and overall global supply and demand remain balanced for most dairy products."

Growth in dairy is being driven by prices for whole milk powder (WMP), the biggest dairy export, with exports forecast to rise about 13 percent this year to $5.2 billion and to $6.1 billion in the June 30, 2018, year. Growth is also seen in butter, anhydrous milk fat and cream ($2.9 billion this year, $4 billion in 2018) and to a lesser extend skim milk powder and butter milk powder ($1.4 billion in 2017 and 2018) while exports of casein and protein products is expected to weaken to $1.75 billion this year before rebounding to $2 billion in 2018.

Infant formula exports are expected to rise 12 percent to $770 million this year and reach $1 billion in 2018.

"China’s demand for imported dairy products remains strong due to a combination of lower domestic production and rising consumption," MPI said. "Increasing demand for WMP from other markets, like Brazil, Indonesia, Algeria, and Russia, will help support global prices during the year ending June 2018."

Meat and wool exports are forecast to fall 9.8 percent this year to $8.2 billion, before edging up to $8.5 billion in 2018, MPI said.

"A fall in beef and sheep meat volumes compared with last year are driving a fall in meat and wool export revenue for the year to June 2017," it said." Prices for lamb, beef and venison are finishing the year much higher than previously expected, which has helped to offset some of the lost volume."

Forestry exports are expected to be driven by increase harvesting and global prices. “Record harvest volume of 30.7 million cubic metres for the year ended 31 December, 2016, was driven by relatively stable and record high log prices and a large supply of harvestable wood,” the report said. "Export revenue is forecast to reach $6.3 billion by 2021, underpinned by strong global demand."

Growth in horticultural exports would be led by apples and wine and a pickup in kiwifruit as the result of increased planting of new gold varieties, it said.

Seafood exports are projected to be little changed, edging up 0.1 percent to $1.77 billion in the year ending June 30 and rising to $1.8 billion next year. However, by 2021, exports are expected to reach $2.1 billion "driven by rising prices in the markets of China, Australia and the US."

Arable exports are projected to weaken 9.7 percent to $184 million this year and pickup to $195 million in 2018, MPI said. “The vegetable seed export market remains steady while high international stocks have reduced demand for herbage seed exports,” it said. "The domestic market for arable products has improved alongside rising dairy prices.

Exports of other primary sector products, which include innovative processed foods, confectionery, honey, cereal products, live animals, soups and condiments, are forecast to fall 6.3 percent to $2.5 billion in 2017 after surging 37 percent over the previous two years.

"Lower volumes are being shipped to Australia, China and Hong Kong, and poor weather is limiting honey production and exports," MPI said.

Source: BusinessDesk via Scoop

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WoodTECH features practical workshops

In September, FIEA's popular WoodTECH conference series is running again - It’s already attracted some of the world’s leading scanning and sawing technology specialists, innovators and leading practitioners from around the globe. Conference programmes for both Rotorua and Melbourne have just been mailed and emailed to everyone. Full details are also easy to access on our event website - www.woodtech.events. Two years ago with 350 delegates this event SOLD OUT. Get in quickly to secure your places.

Our series of tailored presentations and exhibitions designed with key global technolgy suppliers will make it easy for sawmillers and their staff to learn the latest techniques in wood scanning, sawing, and mill optimisation technologies.

What makes WoodTECH 2017 special this year is the series of practical workshops. We've set them up specifically with local sawmillers in mind. For the first time here, a series of troubleshooting workshops have been designed for a wide cross section of sawmill production and operational staff.

WoodTECH will provide a unique insight for mill managers and staff to extract the best performance from saws, machine centres and sawing operations. The workshops are designed to encourage your teams – managers, production staff, saw-doctors and maintenance specialists – to take advantage of the line-up of world class international specialists being brought in for this series. It will help put the learnings into practice back at the mill site.

Workshops ranging from 60-120 minutes include:
- Quality & lumber size control
- Troubleshooting and improving band-mill, gang and board edger performance
- Selecting, operating and maintaining log carriage and optimiser (softwood and hardwood) operations, and
- Saw-guide selection, installation, operation and maintenance.


For full event details including our line up of presenters, exhibitors and programme details check out: www.woodtech.events.


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Seasonal employer scheme celebrates success

$15 million boost for Pacific labour mobility - The Government has today announced $10 million in new funding to expand Pacific labour mobility, as the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme celebrates ten years of success.

Foreign Minister Gerry Brownlee and Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse say the RSE scheme is an innovative immigration policy that fulfils a labour need in New Zealand while giving Pacific workers the chance to earn an income and gain skills. “Due to the scheme’s success, the Government has approved $10 million over an initial five-year period to explore what other sectors of the economy – where there is continued high demand for labour – RSE workers are well placed to make a contribution to,” Mr Brownlee says.

“In particular, the Government will be exploring employment opportunities for Pacific women and develop prospects in semi-skilled, higher-income occupations. “The new funding is in addition to $5 million for the training of Pacific workers in New Zealand and forms a significant component of the recently-signed Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations Plus,” Mr Brownlee says.

Mr Woodhouse says 10 years on, the scheme is still regarded as ground-breaking and among the most effective development policies in the world.

“During its 10 years, the RSE scheme has more than doubled from 5,000 seasonal workers in 2007, to 10,500 in 2017, and has played a key role in supporting industry growth in New Zealand’s horticulture and viticulture sectors,” Mr Woodhouse says.

“It has also played an integral role in supporting economic growth, with RSE workers contributing more than $40 million every year to the Pacific.

“At the heart of the scheme’s success are the strong relationships that have been forged over the last decade with government and industry, and with the highly valued Pacific workers who are welcomed into our communities each year,” Mr Woodhouse says.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment are partners for delivering the scheme.

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Government grant for CCA study

Funding to investigate solution to hazardous treated timber waste - Scion is to investigate the feasibility of remediating treated timber with government funding of $163,000, Associate Environment Minister Scott Simpson announced this week.

Chromated copper arsenate (CCA) is a preservative for timber that has been commonly used in New Zealand since the 1950s. However, CCA-treated timber becomes a hazardous waste material when sent to landfill, that can leach arsenic into the ground.

“To date, there have been no practical remediation options available to this problem, so I am delighted that Scion believes they may have one and that I am able to support them in testing its feasibility,” Mr Simpson says.

“This study could provide New Zealand with an opportunity to divert CCA-treated timber from landfills and offer an environmentally friendly solution reusing both the wood fibre and the extracted metals.”

A 2013 report suggested that currently between 12,000 and 42,000 tonnes of treated timber could be sent to landfills nationally per annum, not including the significant estimated nationwide contribution of rural waste.

The grant, provided through the Waste Minimisation Fund, will fund a two year project, based in Rotorua.

The Waste Minimisation Fund provides financial support to projects that reduce environmental harm and provide social, economic and cultural benefits. It is funded from a levy introduced by the National-led Government in 2009, which is charged on waste disposed of at landfills to discourage waste and to fund recycling initiatives. Over $80 million has been awarded to more than 130 projects to date.

Source: Scoop News
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New fire and emergency service launched

Fire and Emergency New Zealand launched in Ashburton on Saturday

In his launch speech on 1 July in Ashburton, Peter Dunne, in his role as Internal Affairs minister, recognised the unions and associations of the fire services sector – the New Zealand Professional Firefighters Union (NZPFU), United Fire Brigades Association (UFBA), Forest and Rural Fire Association (FRFANZ), Fire and Rescue Commanders Association (FRCA), and the Public Service Association (PSA) for their involvement and support in the change to a new single national organisation.

These conversations, as well as the willingness and the good faith that all parties have brought to this process, have set a very positive standard for a new organisation where all parties – career, volunteer, rural, and urban – are respected for the role they play in delivering the excellent service our communities have come to rely on.

He acknowledged the phenomenal amount of work that was undertaken to set up a new organisation in just under a year, with operational input. He added his thanks to Hon Paul Swain and the Fire Service Commission for their role in driving this work, alongside the Department of Internal Affairs, and the Fire and Emergency NZ Transition team.

He said Fire and Emergency NZ is a significant move towards strengthening and future- proofing our fire and emergency services.

Highlights:
  • Over 11,000 people involved in operational firefighting, including DOC personnel and contractors, have been authorised, formalising their powers to fight fires and deal with other incident types.
  • Between 80 and 90 per cent of our people have attended preparation sessions.
  • 101 inspectors will have been appointed by 1 July.
  • 85 Business services staff have attended a detailed briefing.
  • At least 730 co-design engagements were held to build the new organisation.

In his speech, Hon Peter Dunne also reminded people how and why the changes came about.

"It is firefighters our communities have come to rely on when motor vehicle accidents, storms or earthquakes threaten, working alongside other emergency service agencies.

“Though firefighters of today are motivated by the same community spirit that drove their forebears, it is a far broader role than was originally intended.

“The legislation and means by which our firefighters are funded have not kept up with these changes – indeed, many people are surprised to learn firefighters do not actually have the legislative mandate to provide assistance at motor vehicle accidents, or rescue people from floodwaters.

“Fire and Emergency NZ is a response to those changing needs.

“Backed by new legislation and funding that recognises the full scope of the work firefighters do today, this new organisation brings 40 separate organisations and over 14,000 personnel together.

“Fire and Emergency New Zealand is designed to be greater than the sum of its career and volunteer, urban and rural, national headquarters and regional components.

“It is giving legal recognition to the vital role firefighters play in responding to non-fire emergencies such as motor vehicle accidents, severe weather events, and urban search and rescue.

“It is an opportunity to ensure firefighters are funded fairly for the full range of work they do, and address the variability in rural fire funding that currently exists – to ensure all communities in New Zealand enjoy equitable access to fire and emergency services.

“It is recognising the vital link between firefighters and their communities, and ensuring that this is preserved with local advisory committees to ensure the new organisation is responsive to the risks and needs of the communities in which it serves.

“It is building on the proud history that urban and rural firefighters have established with their communities, and establishing a fire and emergency service that’s fit for the 21st Century. It is recognising and supporting the role of volunteers, who will be 80% of Fire and Emergency NZ’s workforce, who we rely on for nationwide coverage, particularly in rural areas.

“It is also recognising the instrumental role of career firefighters, who provide 24/7 coverage in our major population centres, and who will provide many specialist skills in the new organisation. In all, Fire and Emergency New Zealand represents the most significant change to our fire sector in over 70 years, since the Ballantynes fire in Christchurch."

Insight magazine is a one-off publication marking the establishment of Fire and Emergency NZ.
More information is available here >>

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Victorian government to buy ASH mill

The Victorian Government has struck a deal to keep open Australia's largest hardwood sawmill in Heyfield, Victoria - However, workers are warning up to 20 contractors could be out of work in weeks.

Key points:
Government won't reveal how much it has agreed to pay for mill
Deal subject to due diligence checks to be completed over coming weeks
250 staff were expected to lose their jobs if mill closed

The mill's operator, Australian Sustainable Hardwoods (ASH), had been locked in a dispute with the Government and state-owned logging company VicForests over the amount of timber supplied to the mill.

In March, the company announced the mill's closure, and last month said the shutdown would begin in August, prompting a series of workers' protests outside State Parliament.

But in a statement this morning, Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford said the Government had reached an in-principle agreement with ASH shareholders to buy the mill, subject to due diligence checks.

"The Labor Government has reached agreement with the ASH shareholders to buy the Heyfield Timber Mill," the statement read.

"We've always said we would fight for every job. That doesn't mean industries won't change — but Victorian workers can know that this Labor Government is on their side.

More >>

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Earlier reporting:

Victorian government signs deal to buy Heyfield timber mill - The Andrews government will take the unconventional step of buying the Heyfield timber mill in eastern Victoria in a bid to protect 250 jobs.

It was expected that Victorian Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford will make an announcement on Monday confirming an in-principle deal that will eventually see the state government become the owner of the Australian Sustainable Hardwoods (ASH) timber mill.

It is believed the deal to save Australia's largest hardwood mill could cost taxpayers up to $50 million.

Earlier this year, owners Hermal Group threatened to close the mill in the small Gippsland town amid a heated dispute with the state-owned logging company VicForest over the amount of timber supplied to the mill.

More >>

Source ABC News and The Age

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Bid to unlock Tasmania forest resources

The Tasmanian Liberals say they won’t alter their course on forestry, even after their plan to open more forests to logging failed to pass the Upper House late last week. The Liberals wanted to open 365,000ha of additional forest land to logging for special species from later this year — and to other users from next year. They argued the additional timber was essential to the industry’s future.

However, a majority of MLCs did not buy the Government’s argument and the Bill was voted down 7-5. Five independents and Labor’s two MLCs voted against the Government. The result has defused a conflict over Tasmanian forests for the time being. Resources Minister Guy Barnett blamed Labor for the Bill’s failure and said the Government would not reconsider its stance on forestry.

“We will seek out a fresh mandate at the next election to unlock these production forests,” he said. Mr Barnett would not shoulder any blame for the legislation’s failure. “We were elected, we have that mandate, we are trying to implement that mandate, it’s being blocked in the Upper House by Labor,” he said. Mr Barnett said without access to additional timber Forestry Tasmania would need AU$100 million in subsidies over the next four years or hundreds of jobs would be lost.

Environmentalists and the Forest Industries Association of Tasmania had lobbied against the forestry Bill. Environmentalists said the expanded logging areas, which had been set aside under the Tasmanian forest peace deal, contained high- conservation forests. FIAT said the plan would threaten the industry’s future by leading to a return of forest wars. None of FIAT’s members wanted access to the timber.

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Jobs


... and finally ... wonderful anniversary gift

A married couple in their early 60s was celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary in a quiet, romantic little restaurant. Suddenly, a tiny beautiful fairy appeared on their table.

She said, 'For being such an exemplary married couple and for being so loving to each other for all this time, I will grant you each a wish.'

The wife answered, 'I want to travel around the world with my darling husband.' The fairy waved her magic wand and - poof! - two tickets for the Queen Mary II appeared in her hands.

The husband thought for a moment: 'Well, this is all very romantic, but an opportunity like this will never come again.'
So he answered, "My wish is to have a wife 30 years younger than me."

The wife, and the fairy, were deeply disappointed, but a wish is a wish. So the fairy waved her magic wand and poof!....The husband became 92 years old.

The moral of this story is: Men who are ungrateful b@stards should remember that fairies are female ...

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That's all for this week's wood news.

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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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