WoodWeek – 11 April 2018

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Greetings from your WoodWeek news team. This week our stories range from forest harvesting with improved safety to radical new timber manufacturing concepts becoming reality. Both were made possible by innovative use of new technology.

Three Nelson men are leading the way to improving safety in forestry. Mechanised Cable Harvesting (MCH) – run by Nelson locals Ross Wood, Hamish Matthews and Nathan Taylor - is the first in New Zealand to become a certified forestry contractor. Taylor said becoming the first Safetree Certified Contractor was a great thing. He added that the audit goes beyond the paperwork, looking at things like whether you've got a good crew culture.

FIEA is combining these two key aspects of safety in our upcoming conference series in August. The FIEA “Forest Industry Safety and Technology” conference series, running in mid-August in Rotorua and Melbourne, will include case studies from industry leaders and early adopters of both safety culture and technology tools.

Coalition politicians have well and truly reconnected with the forest industry. But Forestry Minister Shane Jones remains tight-lipped about plans for a stand- alone "Ministry of Forestry" in Rotorua. In a speech last week on Wednesday in Rotorua, the minister said forestry leaders had been the poor cousins in terms of debates about primary commodities in New Zealand for a long time. However, he doesn't want a proposed new forestry ministry to be a bureaucracy.

Meanwhile, Fletcher Tabuteau, Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development, says he shares the goals of the wood processors association for a strong wood processing sector. The Government has already started with a commitment through the PGF to invest $200,000 to kick-start the creation of a major wood processing ‘centre of research excellence’.

Finally, to wrap up the technology angle for today’s news, US-based Katerra has secured US$865 million in funding from SoftBank Vision Fund. Katerra is a high- tech construction firm. That money will go toward ongoing projects in the US, like the company's planned cross-laminated timber plant in Washington, as well as research & development activities. Katerra is planning to re-invent the construction industry with factories using CLT and other wood based prefabricated products and components.

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Nelson loggers lead industry safety

Three Nelson men are leading the way to improving safety in forestry. Mechanised Cable Harvesting (MCH) – run by Nelson locals Ross Wood, Hamish Matthews and Nathan Taylor - is the first in New Zealand to become a certified forestry contractor.

Set up just over four years ago, the company uses machinery to harvest the trees, which Taylor said was much safer than harvesting using chainsaws.

"Putting a guy in the cab of a machine is a lot safer than putting him in a hard-hat."

Currently, its crew of nine men work for Tasman Pine Forests. But the company is setting up a second crew that will work for Nelson Forests.

National Safety Director of the Forest Industry Safety Council Fiona Ewing said that MCH's certification meant it now had an industry-wide stamp of approval for its safety practices.

Most contractors have to comply with safety standards set by forest owners and managers and pass safety audits. But until now there was no single certification system that applied across the industry.

Taylor said becoming the first Safetree Certified Contractor was a great thing.

"What I like about this scheme is that it goes beyond the paperwork.

"It includes an on-site audit that looks at things like whether you've got a good crew culture. That's important because your culture affects what happens on the ground every day - whether people take ownership and look after each other. It's really important in making a good workplace."

Looking further into key points of safety culture and technology, in August FIEA is running their annual forest safety and technology conference series in Rotorua on 8th August and in Melbourne on 15 August.

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Source: Stuff.co.nz



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Shane Jones coy on forestry department

Forestry Minister Shane Jones is remaining tight-lipped about plans for a standalone "Ministry of Forestry" in Rotorua.

The new Government wants to re-establish the New Zealand Forestry Service alongside its goal to plant one billion trees over 10 years (between 2018 and 2027).

In a speech last week on Wednesday at the Growing Confidence in Forestry's Future conference in Rotorua, the minister said forestry leaders "had kind of been the poor cousins in terms of debates about primary commodities in New Zealand for such a long time".

He said he did not want the forestry ministry to be a "bloated bureaucracy".

"I want people planting trees, not pushing pens," he said.

Jones said there would be "a great deal" of collaboration between the future ministry in Rotorua and Scion "to give a level of confidence and security as to how the state provides funding for that particular scientific institute."

He said at the conference he would not provide further details about the proposed forestry ministry until Budget 2018 is delivered in May.

On Thursday, the minister's office was pressed further about what the planned ministry would entail, how many people were expected to work there, and what roles it would perform.

The response was: "We do not have those details yet, unfortunately."

Jones told the conference on Wednesday that, as minister, he had "the task of rehabilitating the status of the New Zealand forestry sector."

More >>

Source: NZ Herald



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China demand underpins 18th straight gain

NZ commodity prices rise in March on dairy, meat and forestry gains; aluminium prices hit by trade war - New Zealand commodity prices rose for a third month in March as tight supply bolstered prices for dairy and meat products and Chinese demand continued to underpin forestry. Aluminium prices fell as the US imposed tariffs, stoking trade tensions with China.

The ANZ commodity price index increased 1.2 percent in March and is up 5.8 percent from a year earlier as the country's dominant raw material exports were supported by supply concerns and strong Chinese demand. In New Zealand dollar terms, the index gained 2 percent in March for an annual increase of 5 percent.

"There was broadband support drive by dairy, meat and fibre, and forestry," ANZ Bank New Zealand agri economist Con Williams said in a note. "The laggard was aluminium, which has been caught up in the US-China trade tensions alongside increasing inventory levels."

New Zealand's terms of trade reached a new high in the December quarter as meat export values and volumes were boosted by record lamb sales, adding to the last year's recovery in global dairy prices. At the time, ASB Bank economists anticipated the terms of trade will stay strong this year as improving global growth stokes demand for local products.

Since then, trade tensions between the US and China have been escalating with the world's two biggest economies imposing tit-for-tat tariffs. That included new US tariffs on steel and aluminium imports, with Chinese production of those metals attracting accusations of undercutting rivals and dumping goods in foreign markets for several years.

The ANZ report shows aluminium prices fell 5.1 percent in March, and Wiliams said there's more uncertainty "given China's clampdown on excess production and capacity restrictions to improve air quality".

Dairy prices rose 3 percent in March as a resumption of Chinese demand after the Lunar New Year coincided with supply concerns. Whole milk powder prices rose 4.4 percent and butter was up 5.5 percent, while skim milk powder dropped 3.8 percent.

Meat and fibre prices increased 0.3 percent as beef markets were bolstered by tight Australasian supply, while Chinese demand drove a recovery in wool prices from recent lows, rising 0.6 percent.

Forestry prices edged up 0.3 percent, their 18th straight gain as domestic and Chinese demand for wood products persists. Seafood and horticulture prices were largely unchanged.

Source: BusinessDesk

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Tabuteau keen on Tairawhiti wood processing

Tabuteau supports wood processing potential in Tairawhiti/East Coast – Fletcher Tabuteau Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development.

Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau spoke at a Wood Processors and Manufacturers Association (WPMA) public meeting in Gisborne last week to discuss the benefits of growing the wood processing sector in the region.

“With the launch of the Provincial Growth Fund and its focus on the forestry sector, there is exciting potential for innovation and growth in what is an incredibly important industry across Tairawhiti/East Coast,” Mr Tabuteau says.

“The region’s goals for a strong forestry sector, with a focus on processing, align with the Government’s aims of lifting productivity in the provinces.”

Currently only four per cent of wood is processed locally and generates $27.8 million in regional GDP. The forestry industry has indicated this could be increased to 25 per cent which could provide an additional $120 million in regional GDP.

“As part of the One Billion Trees planting programme, it is definitely worth exploring ways of lifting the wood processing sector as a contributor to economic growth,” Mr Tabuteau said.

“I share the goals of the WPMA for a strong wood processing sector. The Government has already started with a commitment through the PGF to invest $200,000 to kick start the creation of a major wood processing ‘centre of research excellence’. We look forward to seeing the results of this preliminary work.”

While in Gisborne Mr Tabuteau also met with regional economic development agencies Activate Tairawhiti and the Eastland Community Trust to discuss how the Government can best support them to deliver economic growth.

“I will be holding similar meetings with other agencies around the country in the coming months,” Mr Tabuteau said.

Source: www.beehive.govt.nz

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Trees that count to boost native tree planting

Digital marketplace launched to boost native tree planting efforts - Conservation organisation, Trees That Count, has launched a community marketplace, to connect native tree planters with funders throughout New Zealand.

This technology will help increase native tree planting by providing funders with an easy way to fund trees and showcase impact, in turn supporting the thousands of planters who can increase native tree planting efforts in their communities.

There are more than 40,000 trees available to planters already, funded by organisations such as Z Energy, The Tindall Foundation, Kiwibank, the Department of Conservation and from many small businesses and individual donors.

Tanya Hart, Project Director for Trees That Count, says the technology will be game- changing for planters, and funders, in New Zealand.

“When Trees That Count launched in November 2016, the focus was to build a picture of the planting efforts in New Zealand every year by counting the native trees which are planted by community groups, government agencies, schools and people in their own backyards." "We do this so we can measure the collective impact of the native planting across New Zealand as a strategy for climate change reduction. But we really wanted to be able to help accelerate the rate of planting."

"We developed our digital community marketplace so we could unite funders with planters, and really make a difference to conservation in New Zealand.”

“We know businesses and individuals in New Zealand are keen to act on climate change, and planting native trees is such an easy way to do that. Our new technology creates some excitement, by allowing funders to compete on a Tree Leaderboard, have their funding matched to a planting group, and then see their trees mapped once planted.

“For planters, we’re keen to extend their planting work. Our role is not to fully fund a planting project, but to bridge the gap so a planter can achieve even more. Any planter who has added trees to our national count is eligible to apply for free trees from us. Planters also get to celebrate their work on our Tree Leaderboard and get access to technical advice and support.

“To make a meaningful contribution to the New Zealand environment and climate change, we need to plant hundreds of millions of trees over the coming years. The Government’s Billion Trees Programme will support this lofty goal. But Government alone can’t achieve this - we need to make New Zealanders understand that protecting our environment is a job for us all,” Tanya said.

To fund trees, add trees to the count, apply for trees, gift or donate visit www.treesthatcount.co.nz

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AKD completes Yarram mill acquisition

Late last week Associated Kiln Driers Softwoods (AKD) officially took ownership of the Yarram Sawmill after finalising the purchase with Carter Holt Harvey Woodproducts earlier this month.

Regular operations of the mill will resume from Monday 25th March, with all 60 existing employees offered ongoing employment. The Yarram Sawmill processes approximately 150,000 cubic meters of saw-log into a range of timber products from its location in Gippsland, Victoria.

AKD Softwoods CEO Shane Vicary believes Yarram is the perfect fit for the AKD Group. “The Yarram business just like the Caboolture business purchased earlier in March, is a very well-run operation, with a fantastic team, and excellent plant” Mr. Vicary said, “we see this as a perfect fit for AKD, and will complement our existing operations in Victoria.”

“This exciting acquisition in eastern Victoria provides us with new customers and a greater range of products to offer our existing customers” “Through our long history we have a proven record of building and developing our business through strategic acquisitions and continual capital investment in our core business.”

AKD will continue to work with key log suppliers and provide customers with quality locally grown and produced products, from renewable resources.

Through AKD's acquisitions of the Caboolture and Yarram operations, as well as a brand new Sawmill in Colac the company and management has shown it's long term commitment to the Australian forest products industry.

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ANZ Commodity Price Index

The ANZ Commodity Price Index rose 1.2% m/m in March, starting the year with three consecutive gains to be 4.8% up on the 2017 close.

There was broad based support driven by dairy, meat & fibre and forestry. The laggard was aluminium, which has been caught up in US-China trade tensions alongside increasing inventory levels.


Source: ANZ

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Iwi: New forestry rules stifle partner choices

Iwi says adding forestry rights to overseas investment regime stifles global partnerships - Te Hiku Iwi opposes bringing forestry rights into the Overseas Investment screening regime, arguing they will have a material impact on the value of their land and compromise their ability to attract overseas partners.

Te Hiku Iwi includes Te Manawa o Ng?ti Kuri Trust, Te Runanga Nui o Te Aupouri Trust, Te Runanga o Ng?i Takoto Trust, and the Te Waka Pupuri Trust and one of its major assets is 22,000 hectares of forest land in Northland.

Their forestry rights are currently owned by Summit Forests New Zealand, a subsidiary of Japanese company Sumitomo Corporation and Te Hiku iwi is looking to extend that agreement but said in a submission to Parliament's finance and expenditure committee the proposed changes could jeopardise the negotiations.

"Te Hiku need investment partners to maintain Te Hiku forest. Te Hiku’s ability to attract overseas partners, including Summit, will be compromised by the cost and uncertainty of the OIO process and the unknown nature of conditions that the Crown may impose on an investor (and by association Te Hiku)," according to the submission presented by Paul White.

The government wants to include forestry rights in the Overseas Investment Act screening regime and the matter is being considered by the select committee.

Currently forestry rights - which do not involve the sale or lease of the land but the right to grow and harvest the crop - are exempt. If the law is passed, overseas investors will only be able to purchase up to 1,000 hectares of forestry rights per annum, or any forestry right of less than three years duration, without approval from the Overseas Investment Office.

Together with a decision to ban the sale of existing residential homes to foreign buyers, the government has also sought to increase its scrutiny on foreign buyers of rural and forestry land.

In November it issued a new directive letter to the Overseas Investment Office that emphasised the forestry sector has the potential to add "significant value" to the overall economy and environment. In particular, it aims to encourage an increase in the value-added processing of raw products and the advancement of its forestry- related strategies.

However, "we feel this legislation is coming in over the top of us in a very paternalistic way but also in a way that reduces the value of our land," White told the select committee.

"We are in negotiations with Summit. We believe they have some shared values that we also have. We are working on an agreement and it's complicated enough dealing with a party who is owned offshore without having to then say we can't make a decision here, we have to go back to the government to make a decision," he added.

"We as iwi want to invest more in forestry and owning the actual resource and controlling what happens to that resource on our land, but we are mindful that we can't put all our eggs into the forestry basket. We need partners. We don't really think it's up to the government to decide which partners we should have in terms of that longer- term investment," he said.

White also charged there is no analysis on the use of forestry rights and how they have impacted the industry over the past 30 years. He said the system was designed to avoid long-term leases as "we had long-term leases with the Crown - 99-year leases - and they didn't end well."

Forest rights are used by Maori landowners to provide secure access to land for forestry purposes without alienating the underlying ownership of the land, according to the submission. "It is Te Hiku’s intention that any long-term arrangement that it might reach with Summit, or any other forest investor, will be secured by forestry rights specifically to avoid the alienation of the Te Hiku land," it said.

However, bringing forestry right under the overseas investment region is an "unnecessary restriction" on the freedom to use land returned to Te Hiku Iwi under a settlement in 2015, something White said was "ironic."

Source: BusinessDesk

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5 year high in lumber prices despite US duties

In North America, lumber prices are at 5-year highs a year after softwood duties from the US on Canadian producers

Kevin Mason, managing director of ERA Forest Products Research, discusses why lumber prices and Canadian lumber stocks are higher one year since the US slapped the softwood duties on Canadian producers.

Watch the video commentary >>

Source: ERA Forest Products Research

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BC government bolsters export marketing

Canada - In British Columbia, the provincial government is committing Cdn $7.8 million to promote the use of BC wood overseas, advance wood building systems and products, and expand global markets.

Bruce Ralston, Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology, announced the funding at a national forestry convention in Prince George, alongside Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.

“Expanding our international markets, especially in Asia, is crucial to the long-term success of BC’s forest sector,” said Ralston. “This funding support opens the door to more trade opportunities for BC companies, and will lead to greater innovation in the industry.”

Through a competitive bid process, 13 industry groups were selected to receive funding and deliver market development, or wood innovation programs, on behalf of government and industry. BC’s contribution is being managed through Forestry Innovation Investment, the province’s market development agency for forest products. The province will cost-share these activities, with additional funding provided by BC industry and the federal government, through Natural Resources Canada.

“Building with wood has many benefits: its lower carbon footprint, its cost- effectiveness and its versatility,” said Donaldson. “The funding announced today will help continue to position British Columbia as a preferred supplier of environmentally friendly forest products.”

Of the Cdn$7.8 million, $5.9 million will be made available for activities targeted at expanding markets for BC’s wood products, with investment priorities that reflect evolving market opportunities in Asia and North America. The remaining $1.9 million will be made available for activities delivered through the Wood First program, which fosters the innovative use of wood and wood building systems in BC through research, education, marketing and capacity building.

More >>

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Katerra raises finance for CLT plants

Katerra, a high-tech construction firm, has secured $865 million in funding from SoftBank Vision Fund. That money will go toward ongoing projects in the US, like the company's planned cross-laminated timber plant in Washington, as well as research & development activities.

Katerra says its upcoming 250,000-square-foot Washington plant will help scale up U.S. production of CLT so that the material can be more broadly adopted across the construction industry. Katerra's manufacturing presence in the region will provide hundreds of jobs and stimulate additional jobs through the larger supply chain and associated industries, including design, engineering, and construction. More than 150 construction-specific jobs will be created to build the CLT factory.

Cross-laminated timber, or CLT, is a key ingredient in the so-called timber towers - multi-story high rises built of wood, some reaching 18 stories or higher. Katerra says CLT is valued due to its low carbon footprint and strength.

“CLT is a material that creates beautiful spaces, is designed for manufacturing, and is sustainable all at the same time,” said Michael Marks, chairman and co-founder of Katerra. “This material represents a great opportunity to create new value within the construction industry and will be central to many of the projects we’ll be designing and building." "We feel very comfortable and excited, particularly with the knowledgeable team we have, to make the jump into manufacturing mass timber. We are ready to help bring mass timber to the mainstream of US construction.”

Katerra is already applying its high-tech construction techniques to manufacture building sections in an existing Phoenix factory, in processes similar to auto plants. The Phoenix plant uses CR Onsrud and Laguna machinery, and fabricates rooms and building sections, including cabinetry, plumbing and wiring.

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NZIF representatives meet with Prince of Wales

NZ Institute of Forestry continues its relationship with the Prince of Wales - His Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales, participated in a forestry roundtable meeting over the weekend hosted by the Institute of Foresters Australia, in Queensland’s beautiful Mossman Gorge.

James Treadwell, President of the NZ Institute of Forestry was invited to attend along with Alfred Duval the inaugural winner of the Price of Wales Sustainability Cup. Mr Treadwell said it was a great honour to spend time with his Royal Highness again and discuss the importance of all forests to the world.

“We discussed New Zealand’s place in world forestry and the goal of planting 1 billion trees over 10 years”. Mr Treadwell said.

“His Royal Highness has been promoting the benefits of forests for decades and most people are only just waking up to the benefits forests bring to all people in terms of clean water, recreation, carbon sequestration, biodiversity and general well being.”

“I was very pleased one of our future foresters, Alfred Duval, was invited to attend. Alfred is only 24 years old and at the beginning of his forestry career, this was a great honour for him, but also highlighted the importance of future sustainability to his Royal Highness.”

“His Royal Highness is a passionate advocate of sustainable forest management and I look forward to continuing our relationship and looking for ways to promote forests within New Zealand and the rest of the world.”

“It was incredibly generous of His Royal Highness to invite two New Zealanders to the top of Australia to discuss New Zealand’s role at promoting and implementing sustainable forestry practises.”

Mr Duval said the visit was inspiring and has strengthened his resolve to promote forests and all the benefits they bring to all people. He understands, as the inaugural winner of the Prince of Wales Sustainability Cup that he has a responsibility to deliver a new forestry future for New Zealand, which is underpinned by sustainable practices and an integrated approach to land use.

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Jobs



Buy and Sell



... and finally ... good for a laugh

Donald Trump is walking out of the White House and heading toward his limo, when a possible assassin steps forward and aims a gun.

A secret service agent, new on the job, shouts “Mickey Mouse!

This startles the would be assassin and he is captured.

Later, the secret service agent’s supervisor takes him aside and asks, “What in the hell made you shout Mickey Mouse?”

Blushing, the agent replies, “Sorry I got nervous. I meant to shout Donald Duck!"

---------------------------------------------

A young chap walks into a bar, takes a stool up the end of the bar, orders a drink and sits quietly on his own.
All of a sudden, out of nowhere comes this voice, "I like your hair!".
He looks around the bar, see's no one, decides to ignore it.

A couple of minutes later, "Your tie looks good too!"
Again, he looks around. No one he can see. He checks under the stool, looks behind the bar, no one around at all! This makes him feel a little on edge. He decides to forget it and just have another drink.

Finally, "Your cheekbones really accentuate the shape of your face."

That's it he thinks.
"BARMAN, BARMAN!!!", he yells as he bangs his fist on the bar.
The barman comes straight down to him. "Yes sir, what is it?" "Well, ever since I came in here today there has been a little voice that keeps talking to me!"

"Oh well sir, I think you'll find that will be the peanuts", he said, pointing to a bowl in front of the fellow.
"What? The peanuts?" He didn't understand.

"Well sir, they're complimentary!"

---------------------------------------------

Home late from work:

A convicted felon was given ten years without parole for his latest crime. After 2 years in jail, he managed to escape. His escape was the lead item on the six o'clock news.

Because he had to be careful, he worked his way home taking little traveled routes, running across deserted fields and taking every precaution he could think of.

Eventually he arrived at his house very late that night, just after midnight and he looked around carefully before he rang the bell.

His wife opened the door and bellowed at him, "You good-for-nothing rat! Where the hell have ya been? I know for a fact you escaped over six hours ago."



Thanks for keeping up with the latest wood news with us!
Have a safe and productive week.

John Stulen
Editor

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