WoodWeek – 9 August 2017

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A new nationwide set of environmental rules for managing New Zealand’s 1.7 million hectares of plantation forestry will better protect the environment and deliver significant savings in compliance costs, says the Minister for the Environment.

Industry spokesman, Peter Weir, believes the NES will direct investment into planting in more stable landscapes, meaning a reduced risk of slopes failing in storms after harvest causing fewer debris flows.

“We know there is currently too wide a range in the quality of forest engineering practices. In the past, the temptation to cut corners was too great. This standard makes expectations very clear. For some forests, especially small blocks, costs will increase.”

“Only 10 per cent of land in this country is red zone, but 30 per cent of our forest estate is. The most urgent aspect for all forest managers with this type of land is to get to work on resource consents for both forest engineering and harvesting plans, because they will need them and May 2018 is not far away. If they don't get those prepared, there will be contractors waiting or going elsewhere for work if consents are not ready.”

Meanwhile, looking to the wood products trade between China and Australia, in the first half of 2017 the value of that trade between the two countries rose 17% to US$1,680 million from the same period of 2016. Of the combined trade total, the value of China’s wood products imports from Australia grew 23% to US$790 million. Log imports were up 28% year on year in the period.

Finally, we have a report released by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, who says, “Climate change is the ultimate intergenerational issue. It’s a huge challenge. And not just for the current Government, but also for the Governments that succeed them.”

In the new report, the Commissioner acknowledges that the Government has made progress since the Paris agreement. And the cross-party working group on climate change has been a welcome development. But she says it’s now time to take the next step.

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New standard for plantation forestry

A new nationwide set of environmental rules for managing New Zealand’s 1.7 million hectares of plantation forestry will better protect the environment and deliver significant savings in compliance costs, Minister for the Environment Dr Nick Smith and Associate Minister for Primary Industries Louise Upston say.

“Forestry is New Zealand’s third largest primary industry but its efficiency is hampered by the confusing mix of planning rules across New Zealand’s 86 councils. The strength of this national approach is that it will better protect the environment while also improving the productivity of the forestry sector by applying consistent environmental standards to reduce operational costs,” Dr Smith says.

“A major change with these new regulations is the development of three new tools for managing the environmental impacts from forestry, covering the issues of erosion, wilding pines and fish spawning.

“The benefit of these tools is that the restrictions on forestry activities are related to the environmental risk rather than which council area a forestry operation is in. This change is particularly important as 80 per cent of forest owners manage forests in multiple council areas.

“This new national forestry standard is part of the Government’s broader Resource Management Act reforms, facilitated by amendments passed in May this year. It follows other national regulations covering telecommunications, electricity transmission, waste tyre management, water metering and drinking water, contaminated soils and aquaculture.”

Ms Upston says the forestry industry will benefit from having a set of consistent regulations to operate under.

“Planning rules at local government level are subject to regular reviews and there could be as many as three sets of regional or district plan rules. Some large forests also cross local government boundaries, resulting in different rules for the same forest.”

“Removing this uncertainty will encourage greater investment in a significant contributor to our economy, especially at regional level. Forestry employs more than 26,000 people and exports total more than $5 billion a year,” Ms Upston says.

“The National Environmental Standard for Plantation Forestry covers eight core plantation forestry activities: afforestation, pruning and thinning to waste, earthworks, river crossings, forestry quarrying, harvesting, mechanical land preparation and replanting. Councils may apply stricter rules in special circumstances where local conditions require a more restrictive approach.”

The standard, which comes into force on 1 May, 2018, was developed jointly by the Ministry for Primary Industries and the Ministry for the Environment. Support and guidance will be provided to councils, foresters and key stakeholders to ensure an effective rollout.

Click here for more information

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Forest owners comment on new standard

National Environmental Standard a step up and forward for plantation forestry - Forest owners and managers say the introduction of a National Environmental Standard for Plantation Forestry (NES) is vitally needed for better environmental outcomes.

The government has just released the NES, to bring in a standard set of environment regulations for plantation forests.

The regulations cover eight forestry activities; including re-afforestation, earthworks, harvesting, quarrying and installing stream crossings.

The Forest Owners Association's Environment Committee Chair, Peter Weir, says for some operators the NES will require a step up in the quality of their harvesting, erosion and sediment control and forest road construction.

Peter Weir says it has taken eight years to get the NES through to implementation to resolve the lack of consistency, and too much complexity, between different regional and district council rules for forestry.

“We’ve had forest blocks straddling local body boundaries and have had to comply with different sets of sometimes contradictory rules in building roads and harvesting the trees. It’s made no sense on the ground.”

“And it’s been expensive and frustrating for our industry, and for environmental advocates for that matter, to frequently have to work through the same issues time and again in plan changes with multiple regional councils,” Peter Weir added.

“Looking forward, the NES means large areas of erosion prone farmland will effectively become off-limits for plantation forestry. The NES specifies these areas can now only be planted with a Council resource consent and it’ll be subject to a detailed risk assessment.”

Peter Weir believes the NES will direct investment into planting in more stable landscapes, meaning a much reduced risk of slopes failing in storms after harvest and thus fewer debris flows downstream.

Peter Weir predicts the NES will also increase forest roading and harvesting standards.

“We know there is currently too wide a range in the quality of forest engineering. Harvesting is the most expensive stage of forestry and for some owners and contractors in the past the temptation to cut corners was too great. If there is heavy rain then we read about the result in the newspapers.”

“NES has made it much clearer what the expected standard is, although for some forests, especially small blocks, costs will increase.”

“The next step I would like to see is that some aspects of the standards are extended across all land users, from agriculture to government departments, including stream crossings in the DoC estate.”

Peter Weir says a key value of the NES for the forest industry is that it is the result of collaboration with New Zealand’s environmental NGOs.

“Government departments; MPI and MfE, had Fish & Game and Forest & Bird around the table through much of the process. We appreciate their input and are aware of what things are important to them.”

“The ENGO involvement was very beneficial for our industry members when we were developing good practice guidance for protecting endangered species such as long tailed bats, kiwi, kea and karearea in plantation forests.”

For further information contact Peter Weir at Ernslaw One (mob 027 454 7873)

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Australia lifts log exports to China

Wood products trade between China and Australia In the first half of 2017 the value of wood products trade between China and Australia rose 17% to US$1,680 million from the same period of 2016.

Of the total, the value of China’s wood products imports from Australia grew 23% to US$790 million. The value of log and waste paper imports rose 47% and 41% respectively.

The value of China’s wood products exports to Australia increased 12% to US$890 million. The value of China’s plywood exports to Australia grew 36%.

More than 50% of China’s wood product exports to Australia were of wooden furniture and seats and the value of China’s wooden furniture and seat exports increased 11% to US$466 million.

China imported mainly woodchips and logs from Australia. In the first half of 2017 China’s woodchips and log imports from Australia were 1.93 million tonnes and 2.25 million cubic metres respectively.

Chip imports grew 4% year on year and log imports were up 28% year on year in the first half of 2017. China’s plywood imports from Australia grew 34% to 74,000 cubic metres. In addition, China imported fibreboard, waste paper, paper, paperboard and paper products.

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Motu clinic paper on forestry and ETS

Paper released - Including Forestry in an Emissions Trading Scheme: Lessons from New Zealand

New Zealand is the first, and still the only, country to include forest landowners as full and, in some cases, mandatory participants in a greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions trading scheme (ETS), the NZ ETS. Carbon sequestration by forestry continues to be an important part of New Zealand’s contribution to its global obligations to reduce emissions.

This paper describes the policy changes to the NZ ETS since 2008 that directly affect forestry; assesses the effectiveness of the scheme; explores who is benefiting from it; and outlines issues facing forestry in the NZ ETS moving forward.

We find that forest owners have responded to the financial incentives from the NZ ETS in a rational way. Both afforestation and deforestation decisions appear to have been influenced by the emissions price and/or expectations about the emissions price in the future. However, the scheme has been beset by challenges. The collapse in the global carbon price and, associated with this, the proliferation of international Kyoto credits of questionable environmental integrity, combined with the government decision to delay New Zealand’s delink from international markets until 2015, greatly reduced the price signal for forestry from the NZ ETS from 2012 to 2015.

A weak price signal, coupled with ongoing policy uncertainty surrounding the NZ ETS, has limited the effectiveness of the scheme in achieving its forestry goals.

Prospects going forward are more positive particularly if the current reform of the ETS can create clear predictable price signals and better manage the complexity of forestry rewards and liabilities, particularly as faced by smaller landowners who are not professional foresters but could potentially participate and reforest.

The paper can be found at http://motu.nz/our-work/

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Tigercat launches productivity tool

RemoteLog is a new telematics system from Tigercat for data that matters to loggers.

Tigercat is pleased to announce the launch of RemoteLog, their new telematics solution. RemoteLog was designed after extensive field research that included feedback from customers from around the world. The result is a simple, robust telematics solution that works even in the most remote locations.

Now loggers can track key machine performance metrics from their desktop or tablet to maximize machine productivity and reduce operating costs. Telematics project engineer Rob Archibald comments, “RemoteLog is a valuable new tool for loggers to optimize productivity and minimize downtime by having data that matters right at your fingertips.”

Logging sites are often well out of range of cellular phone service providers so RemoteLog uses a satellite data connection that provides global coverage. Data is automatically updated to secure servers on a regular basis. Data includes:

    1. Machine location and movements

    2. Activity timeline to identify when a machine is idle, operating, shutdown or refuelling

    3. Fuel levels and consumption

    4. Mechanical performance parameters

    5. Critical machine messages


The data is presented in a simple, easy-to-navigate web portal that runs on all major desktop and tablet browsers so it is available from anywhere with an internet connection.

No special operator training is required. The system collects and sends data automatically.

Extensive reporting and analytics built into RemoteLog mean owners can see at-a- glance when the machine is working or if there are potential problems developing.

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Come together on climate change

Time to take a historic step for climate change, says Environment Commissioner - The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Dr Jan Wright, has issued a rallying call to MPs of all parties: it’s time to come together to tackle climate change.

“Climate change is the ultimate intergenerational issue,” said Dr Wright. “It’s a huge challenge. And not just for the current Government, but also for the Governments that succeed them into the future, be they blue, red, green, or any other colour.”

In a new report, the Commissioner acknowledges that the Government has made progress since the Paris agreement. And the cross-party working group on climate change has been a welcome development. But she says it’s now time to take the next step.

“There is an opportunity here for the next Parliament to build on recent developments and take a historic step forward that will be credited for generations to come,” said Dr Wright.

Dr Wright has recommended a new Act that is similar to the UK Climate Change Act. This is a law that was passed with overwhelming cross-party support in the House of Commons in 2008. At least nine other countries have since passed similar legislation, including Denmark, Finland, France, Ireland, Mexico, Norway, Scotland, Sweden, and Switzerland.

A similar law in New Zealand would put emissions targets into law, and require the setting of carbon budgets that would act as stepping stones towards the targets. It would also establish a high-powered independent expert group that would crunch the numbers and provide objective advice.

“There has been a lot of debate around what our targets should be,” said Dr Wright. “But I’m much more interested in how we are actually going to achieve them.”

The Commissioner says underlining her recommendations is the need for a long-term approach to climate change.

“When it comes to climate change, we need to get used to looking decades ahead,” said Dr Wright. “The world is going to be a very different place in the future.”

The report is subtitled Climate change, progress, and predictability. Dr Wright says businesses and investors are crying out for some predictability in New Zealand’s response to climate change.

“Many businesses are keen to take advantage of the opportunities of moving to a low-carbon economy, but they need more predictability before they invest.”

The Commissioner’s report, Stepping stones to Paris and beyond: Climate change, progress, and predictability, is available by clicking the link below.

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Commodity prices level, growth strong

NZ commodity prices level off in July, annual growth strong - New Zealand commodity prices dipped in July, with meat prices down for the first time this year, though prices across raw materials remain strong.

The ANZ Commodity Price index slipped to 295.7 from 298 in June, led lower by declines in horticulture where prices fell 5.6 percent in the month. On an annual basis, the index rose 21 percent.

A 3.4 percent drop in meat prices was lead by lamb, as new-season Northern Hemisphere production increased, while beef prices stopped rising as US production increased and the seasonal demand peak passed, ANZ Bank New Zealand agri- economist Con Williams said in his report.

"While commodity prices are showing signs of levelling out, the lift from a year ago is still stark and this will support national incomes," Williams said. "With the construction sector still booming, but not incrementally adding more to growth as capacity constraints bite, buoyant commodity prices will act as an important substitute in the growth stakes."

Dairy prices continued to rise, up 1.4 percent for the month, and have gained 45 percent in the year. Milkfat has been a particularly strong gainer, with butter up 5.2 percent and cheese rising 3.4 percent in the month.

"Milkfat prices have posted new records in recent months with insatiable demand in developed markets and softer European milk supply limiting their export volumes," Williams said. "Seasonality has ensured tight Australasian supply too and Asian demand from a range of sources (especially foodservice/bakery) has driven tradable milkfat prices to new highs."

The New Zealand dollar index, which adjusts for currency movements, dropped 2.1 percent to 210.8 in the month though it was up 18 percent from a year earlier.

Forestry increased 1 percent in the month, though there were offsetting movements at the sub-component level, with log prices up 2.2 percent in July while wood pulp prices fell 1.9 percent.

"Log prices continue to be supported by Chinese demand with port-level inventory and off-take continuing to track favourably," Williams said. "The Chinese government has also announced lower import tariffs on logs in a bid to curb the use of logs from their own native forests. Local demand has experienced the usual seasonal slowdown, but unpruned demand for structural timber and posts/poles remains strong."

Aluminium prices increased 1.2 percent in July as markets remained focused on China's closure of spare capacity, while seafood was stable, with prices up 0.2 percent, led by salmon.

Source: BusinessDesk via Scoop

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Primary industry resources for students

Primary industries resources for students The launch of a new package of secondary school resources will help boost students’ understanding of and engagement with the primary industries, says Associate Minister for Primary Industries Louise Upston.

“Our primary industries are a vital part of our economy which account for more than 70 per cent of exports,” says Ms Upston.

“The Government is set on doubling our primary sector exports by 2025 but to do this we need a sustainable and skilled workforce. Ensuring we are engaging and educating students in primary industries technology early on plays a big part in this.”

This package is a part of a series of resources for schools developed by the Ministry for Primary Industries.

Developed as a set of learning activities for mathematics, science, social studies and technology, the resources provide real-life primary industry situations, with a focus on innovation, for Year 9 and 10 students.

“School resources are one way of informing students about the diverse range of rewarding career pathways available in the primary sector before they enter tertiary study or the work force. With strong growth in the primary sector anticipated over the next few years, we need to encourage more young people to consider these options,” Ms Upston says.

The resources are available on the MPI website at https://www.mpi.govt.nz/




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ANZ Commodity Price Index

The ANZ Commodity Price Index slipped 0.8% m/m in July, but international prices remain 21% higher than July last year. Movements at the sub-category level were mixed. Eight of the sub-components rose, six fell and the remaining three were unchanged. The strong NZD/USD weighed further with local returns down 2.1% m/m, but they are still 18% higher than 12 months’ prior.

Dairy prices increased 1.4% m/m in July (+45% y/y). The increase was led by milkfat prices – specifically butter (+5.2%) and cheese (+3.4%). Milk powder prices were largely unchanged and casein fell 1.9%. Milkfat prices have posted new records in recent months with insatiable demand in developed markets and softer European milk supply limiting their export volumes. Seasonality has ensured tight Australasian supply too and Asian demand from a range of sources (especially foodservice/bakery) has driven tradable milkfat prices to new highs.

Meat prices fell for the first time this year (-3.4% m/m). The decline was led by lamb prices, which dropped 6.8% m/m. Lamb leg and forequarter prices declined as new-season Northern Hemisphere production lifted and valuation concerns in lower-income markets impacted prices. Beef prices’ hot run came to an end also. Higher US domestic production, reduced retail promotional activity and a passing of the seasonal demand peak have been the main drivers. Rounding out the rest of the category, skin prices rose (1.7%), while venison (0.0%) and wool (+0.3%) were largely unchanged. Seafood prices were stable (+0.2%). At the sub-category level there was an increase in salmon prices while the rest were unchanged.

Horticulture prices fell 5.6% m/m. Higher seasonal volumes for both apples and kiwifruit saw a moderation versus early-season prices that had been pushed up by a late harvest for New Zealand’s 2017 crops.

The forestry group increased 1.0% m/m with offsetting movements at the sub-component level. Log prices (+2.2% m/m) continue to be supported by Chinese demand with port-level inventory and offtake continuing to track favourably. The Chinese Government has also announced lower import tariffs on logs in a bid to curb the use of logs from their own native forests. Local demand has experienced the usual seasonal slowdown, but unpruned demand for structural timber and posts/poles remains strong. Wood pulp prices fell 1.9% m/m, moderating the overall increase in forestry prices.

Aluminium prices lifted 1.2% m/m (17% y/y). The market’s focus remains on Chinese closure of spare capacity. Production cuts in regions around the Chinese capital have been mandated for environmental reasons during the coming winter heating season, which starts in November. Separately, "illegal" capacity is being closed too; there are rolling environmental inspections and all new capacity must be offset by the closure of older capacity. All these factors are supporting prices.

While commodity prices are showing signs of levelling out, the lift from a year ago is still stark and this will support national incomes. With the construction sector still booming, but not incrementally adding more to growth as capacity constraints bite, buoyant commodity prices will act as an important substitute in the growth stakes.



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Z voted best employer again

Z named as a best employer after year of change - Z Energy has been announced as a 2017 Aon Hewitt ‘Best Employer’ for the third year running, achieved during a year characterised by executing one of New Zealand’s biggest acquisitions.

This annual award recognises the best employers across Australasia based on employee engagement scores and people management practices.

Z’s General Manager of People and Culture, Sharlene Taylor, said the company had put special focus on maintaining engagement throughout the challenging process of bringing two companies together, following the acquisition of Chevron New Zealand last year.

“Historically the biggest risks of mergers and acquisitions are the risks of staff disengagement, when companies put two businesses together and hope for the best.

“Z took this risk off the table with an unconventional way of merging two cultures and people, taking a broader perspective on how we defined success of the acquisition.

“Throughout the acquisition Z had a mantra of one company, one team, one strategy and that’s what we consider success to be, not just achieving financial synergies. This is extremely hard to achieve, if not impossible, without putting the focus on the key area of people integration,” Sharlene said.

Z attributes some of its success to its investment in senior leaders ahead of deal, to make sure the business understood the Chevron New Zealand culture and what was important to its people.

“Understanding the culture enabled us to take our existing and new people on the journey to becoming one integrated company, therefore keeping our people engaged and passionate about working at Z, even as they experienced large-scale change,” Sharlene said.

“Engagement is critical to a high performance workplace, so getting a good result at these awards, now that we are a much bigger business, is really important to us.”

For the first time Z Retailers, who operate Z’s more than 200 service stations on the company’s behalf, have also been recognised as best employers as a separate entity, reflecting work that’s gone into engaging Z’s 2,000 retail site staff.



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... big news ... Best pies now in Taupo

They've been judged the BEST this year:

Gourmet pie from Taupo named the best - It took 12 months of tinkering to make Lee Ing's venison, bacon, mushroom and cheese pie the best in the country.

The baker's gourmet pie didn't even get a look in at last year's pie awards.

But last night, Ing beat 5695 others for the top spot in the 21st annual NZ Bakels Supreme Pie Awards, an accolade which will see business at his Fast & Fresh Bakery in Taupo, boom.

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Jobs


... and finally ... good for a midweek chuckle

Speak english, do you? It's not hard to learn ... or is it?

We'll begin with a box, and the plural is boxes;
but the plural of ox became oxen not oxes.
One fowl is a goose, but two are called geese,
yet the plural of moose should never be meese.
You may find a lone mouse or a nest full of mice;

yet the plural of house is houses, not hice.
If the plural of man is always called men,
why shouldn't the plural of pan be called pen?
If I spoke of my foot and show you my feet,
and I give you a boot, would a pair be called beet?

If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth,
why shouldn't the plural of booth be called beeth?
Then one may be that, and three would be those,
yet hat in the plural would never be hose,
and the plural of cat is cats, not cose.

We speak of a brother and also of brethren,
but though we say mother, we never say methren.
Then the masculine pronouns are he, his and him,
but imagine the feminine, she, shis and shim.



Have a safe and productive week.

John Stulen
Editor

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