WoodWeek – 12 October 2016

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Greetings from your WoodWeek news team. This week we have more immigration news. Seriously, on the theme of Kiwis returning home, in the forest industry - Timberlands Limited, the managers of the Kaingaroa Forest Partnership, are pleased to announce the appointment of Robert Green as CEO of Timberlands Ltd commencing January 2017. Robert has over 20 years of experience in the forest industry. He is currently CEO at VicForests in Australia. After starting his career with Carter Holt Harvey in New Zealand, Robert then went overseas with Snavely Forest Products based in San Francisco.

The government is considering measures to further encourage more forestry planting as it examines whether locally grown forests will be cheaper than buying foreign carbon credits to meet its climate change targets. Climate Change Minister Paula Bennett told the Climate Change and Business Conference in Auckland that “how to get more trees in the ground” is a key part of its work on the supply of carbon credits into the country’s emissions trading scheme in the 2020s. Minister Paula Bennett has conceded “this could reduce the number of units we’ll need to purchase internationally“, but is still looking at a variety of actions including purchase of credits overseas despite clear evidence in previous years that major emitters here were allowed to use low-quality and sometimes fraudulent credits bought from former Soviet blocs to offset local emissions.

Onto the all-important log export market updates - 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. FOB log export value results for China are up 76% month on month (August) and up 10% year on year. Log exports by port continue to be dominated by Tauranga with Gisborne dispatch volumes creeping up steadily to get closer to Whangarei’s volumes.

This year’s ForestTECH conference series is just around the corner. With a focus on reconciling actual and predicted forest yields, operational results from Forestry Corporation NSW, OneFortyOne Plantations and Timberlands Pacific will be on the agenda. So will research results from the University of Tasmania. Register now – it’s filling up fast! Full programme details are on the event website, www.foresttech.events.

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Government considering tree planting incentives

Government considering more incentives to encourage forest planting: Bennett - The government is considering measures to further encourage more forestry planting as it examines whether locally grown forests will be cheaper than buying foreign carbon credits to meet its climate change targets.

Climate Change Minister Paula Bennett told the Climate Change and Business Conference in Auckland that “how to get more trees in the ground” is a key part of its work on the supply of carbon credits into the country’s emissions trading scheme in the 2020s.

Earlier this month, the government ratified the new global climate change deal agreed at the annual global conference in Paris last year, ahead of this year’s global meeting in Marrakech, Morocco, in December.

The early ratification was motivated by a need to be at the negotiating table when rules are set for the treatment of plantation forestry and land use change, details of which will help determine how difficult it will be for New Zealand to meet its obligations under the Paris agreement.

New Zealand committed to cut its greenhouse gas emissions 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, using a combination of local emissions reductions, storing carbon in forests, and buying international carbon credits.

“Forestry is so important because it’s currently our most important source of domestic emission removals,” said Bennett. “It can deliver at scale.

“If forestry is cheaper than purchasing international units, and we think it might be, there is a strong economic case for planting more trees. For example: investing in 10,000 hectares of forestry in 2018 will deliver 3.1 million tonnes of abatement over the 2020s, of the 235 million in total we need to reach our 2030 target.

“This could reduce the number of units we’ll need to purchase internationally. A key focus of the ETS review is looking at how to promote more planting by ensuring there is a good price incentive to plant trees, but we are looking wider than this.”

Among forestry policy changes under consideration were “how to make the New Zealand ETS more attractive to foresters. We know that forests (and foresters) come in all shapes and sizes, so it’s a matter of understanding what mix of approaches fit best," she said.

“This includes looking at how forestry is accounted for in the New Zealand ETS, and how to reduce some of the administrative and compliance costs faced by both foresters and the government.”

Plantation foresters have faced major policy uncertainty under the current government’s climate change policies. The price of carbon collapsed below 50 cents a tonne earlier this decade when major emitters were allowed to use low-quality and sometimes fraudulent credits bought from former Soviet blocs to offset local emissions.

Policy changes since then have seen the price of carbon rise, with the removal of a subsidy for major emitters earlier this year pushing New Zealand Units of carbon to $18.80 per tonne from around $7 a year ago.

Foresters have said $15 a tonne is a trigger price for justifying plantation forestry investment, but the industry is gun-shy, having ramped up planting in the past only to see policy changes undermine their decisions.

Bennett said “businesses need to know where policy is heading over the next five, 10 and 15 years so that they can have confidence when investing in new technologies”.

“That’s absolutely my commitment.”

She said forestry also offered environmental and economic benefits beyond their impact on climate change and that forestry policy would include encouragement for permanent and native forestry, as well as what Environmental Defence Society head Gary Taylor called “pinus radiata syndrome”.

Erosion control, biodiversity and water quality benefits were all available from forest planting, along with opportunities for our regional and iwi economies, and carbon removals beyond 2030, said Bennett.

She hoped to have a National Policy Statement on climate change in place in the next 12 months or so.

But Bennett expressed scepticism about suggestions New Zealand should adopt a UK-style ‘Committee on Climate Change’, even as the government has begun efforts to gain cross- parliamentary support for key elements of long-term climate change policy.

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Timberlands announce new CEO

Timberlands announce new CEO – Timberlands Limited, the managers of the Kaingaroa Forest Partnership, are pleased to announce the appointment of Robert Green as CEO of Timberlands Ltd commencing January 2017.

Robert has over 20 years of experience in the forest industry. He is currently CEO at VicForests in Australia where he is responsible for the sustainable harvest, regrowing and commercial sale of timber from Victoria's public forests on behalf of the Victorian Government.

Robert will be taking over from retiring CEO, David Balfour in January 2017. The board of Timberlands Limited wish David the very best and look forward to working with Robert in the new year.

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Log export activity - Statistics Update

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.

Click here to download the Champion Freight reports.

Source: Champion Freight

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ANZ Commodity Price Index

The ANZ Commodity Price Index rose 5.1% m/m in September (+11% y/y). This was the fifth lift in a row, with the index now at a 17-month high. That said, the lift in September was almost entirely driven by dairy, with prices elsewhere looking rather ho-hum. Ten of 12 non-dairy categories experienced a price decline, which saw the non-dairy index drop 1.3% m/m in the month (+2.0% y/y).

The NZD remains a thorn in the side of all commodity exporters. While the NZD commodity price index rose 3.9% m/m in September, prices are running 5% behind where they were at the same time last year. This has been a consistent theme throughout the winter with the NZD/USD and TWI both appreciating 7% since May (and both have increased even more in comparison to the same time last year).

In terms of sector specifics in September:

  • Dairy prices dominated price action (+15% m/m), with broad-based gains across all product categories. Butter led the way, with prices up 23.6% m/m. Prices for skim milk powder (+16.1%), whole milk powder (+15.5%) and cheese (+12.4%) all registered strong gains too. A cooling down period for dairy prices looks likely as buyers await further information on supply dynamics and the Chinese FTA window closes. However, we continue to believe that the rally in prices has more durability than recent years. Milk supply is actually contracting in all major export markets bar the US; very tight New Zealand inventory levels are pushing demand onto the GDT platform; and recent demand at higher prices is more broadly based than China alone.

  • Outside of dairy, price gains were confined to lamb and kiwifruit. Improved lamb returns are due largely to very low supply at present, which is helping support frozen product prices. However, farm-gate lamb returns remain challenged by Brexit issues and the resulting sharp appreciation in the NZD/GBP (+35% y/y).

  • All the other sectors experienced flat to lower prices in September. The largest price declines were for apples (-5.5%), wool (-5.1%), beef (-4.6%), aluminium (-3.0%) and wood pulp (-2.8%). The clearance of end-of-season stock after good early-season prices is likely to be affecting current apple prices. Auction wool prices have been softer recently due to reduced Chinese demand. The US beef market is well supplied with increased local product at present and foodservice demand hasn’t been as strong as expected. The US market has also faced some additional uncertainty in terms of what improved access for Brazilian beef will mean too.

Source: ANZ

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Carbon expected to top $20 before year end

Spot NZUs are currently $18.80 per tonne. The market continues to consolidate at present levels and sits near its 5 year high. “It’s only a matter of time in our view that $19 will trade as large sellers remain absent and demand is expected to increase over the next two quarters as buyers finalise their 2016 requirements and annual demand increases from Q1 as the one for two unwinds from January next year” says Nigel Brunel, OM Financial Limited.

“To put this in some perspective – the gradual unwind of the one for two setting starting in January 2017 will see demand increase by approximately 600,000 tonnes per month. The market has been averaging 1.25 million per month at OMF for the last 15 months and whilst we are not the entire market – it’s a significant increase in demand that has to be met. Therefore – we expect prices to continue to rise”.

We remind customers and readers – the ETS is a politically created market where buyers have to buy but sellers don’t have to sell. The major owners and sellers of carbon are seeing very good prices for logs and that is their day to day business – not carbon. Our view remains that we will see the $20 level trade before year end.

In other news - New Zealand has ratified the Paris Accord. It comes into force when 55 countries representing 55% of emission ratify. At present 63 countries representing 52% of global emissions have ratified.

New Zealand was very keen to be in the first 55%. It wants to be seen to be leading and not following. This is because the design and implementation of international markets are crucial to New Zealand meetings its 2030 target. Being part of the group that ratified prior to the ratification target being met means we can be part of those discussions on international markets.

Source: OM Financial

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Reconciling actual and predicted forest yields

In the past few years at ForestTECH events developments on the plot imputation method have been tracked. The technique, for forest yield analysis, uses a combination of field inventory plots and LiDAR metrics to predict recoverable volume by log grade. In November at ForestTECH 2016 we will be showcasing results of trials rollng out this inventory system a number of major forestry companies. Details will include reconciling actual and predicted yields through harvester and weighbridge data.

In New Zealand, Juken New Zealand Ltd (JNL) contracted Interpine in 2015 to undertake an inventory of a 3,000 ha forest in the Wairarapa using the plot imputation method. Several stands in this forest had already had a traditional pre-harvest inventory as well.

Clearfell harvesting in this forest has now commenced and Sean McBride from JNL will be presenting in Rotorua some early results on post-harvest reconciliations between actual and predicted yields from both the traditional PHI and plot imputation methods. The presentation will focus on the practical implementation of plot imputation including economic analysis and will also outline JNL’s future plans for LiDAR within their estate.

Operational results from Forestry Corporation NSW, OneFortyOne Plantations, Timberlands Pacific as well as recent research results from the University of Tasmania will also be integrated into this year’s technology event being run for the region’s resource managers and forest inventory and GIS specialists. Full details on the programmes for both venues can be found on the event website, www.foresttech.events.

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HarvestTECH 2017 - Expressions of Interest

HarvestTECH 2017 is running in Rotorua on 20-21 June 2017. Mark these dates in your diary. The first event in this series ran in June 2015 and was sold out. Well over 400 people attended from around the world. Our audience comprised forest managers and owners, harvest planners and harvesting contractors.

The focus in 2015 was innovations in steep slope harvesting. Since then our conference series has gone international. The same conference ran in Vancouver, Canada in March of this year, for loggers in the Pacific North West. Also in 2017 plans are now in place to continue with the international series. So we are running the conference in Kelso, Washington, USA on 20 April 2017. Further details on this second international event on steep slope logging can be found here. A completely new and additional session has been added on learning from experiences and working with regulators and harvest planners.

Two years on, logging innovations in steeper terrain will again be covered in Rotorua in June 2017. A lot has been delivered and experience gained with local engineers and contractors in the last two years. The HarvestTECH 2017 programme though will be expanded to cover; new technologies and operating practices in small wood lot harvesting, harvest planning, advances in the mechanisation and automation of harvesting operations, issues around attracting the right people into the industry and those attending will get an insight into some truly innovative harvesting operations – from the air and from deep under water.

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 are also going to be built into HarvestTECH 2017. It’s anticipated that site tours and field visits will be added to our 2017 programme. Watch this space for further updates.

We've already had strong interest to from our network of potential speakers for June 2017 event, But it is time for us to issue this call for early expressions of interest from contractors, researchers and equipment suppliers who may be interested in presenting at this major event. In 2015 we essentially ran out of time in the event schedule to accept offers from presenters wanting to be involved. If interested in presenting, please get back to Brent Apthorp (brent.apthorp@fiea.org.nz) by Friday, 4 November. Further information for potential exhibitors and sponsors for HarvestTECH 2017 will follow in the next few months.

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CT Scanning receives scientific award

The 2016 Marcus Wallenberg Prize is awarded to Alexander Katsevich and Federico Giudiceandrea for the development of a CT scanner for whole tree logs. The prize winners received their diploma from the hands of His Majesty the King of Sweden at a ceremony in Stockholm, Sweden, on Monday 10 October 2016.

Computed tomography, CT, is nowadays invaluable to diagnostic imaging in medicine. The method has also been introduced to many areas of industry. The output value of the sawn timber products increased dramatically when medical scanners were used in a research project in a sawmill. Industrial realization was however hampered by the slow speed of the process.

Quicker and safer images
A high speed X-ray based online scanning machine was built due to the findings of professor Alexander Katsevich, University of Central Florida, USA, and Federico Giudiceandrea, CEO at Microtec, Brixen, Italy. They are awarded the 2016 Marcus Wallenberg Prize of SEK 2 million for the discovery.

The non-destructive scanning of round wood has made online optimization of log usage in the sawmilling process possible. Knots, resin pockets, tree rings, cracks and rot can be identified before the timber is sawn. The wood density can also be determined.

“The introduction of this new technology marks the beginning of a new era for the sawmill industry. The ground breaking research and innovative implementation have opened new horizons, facilitating further optimization of the sawing process”, says Marcus Wallenberg, chairman of the board of the Marcus Wallenberg Prize.

Computed tomography, CT, is an imaging technology that produces three-dimensional, 3D, representations of objects, based on multiple scans of the object from different directions with penetrating X-ray radiation.

In most modern industrial and medical CT scanners the X-ray is emitted from the source in a cone beam geometry, and the images will be reconstructed when the object is moved through the beam. Either the object or the detector is turning in spirals through the process. The algorithms, or data calculations, to obtain the 3D-pictures are approximate in their nature but reliable for small cone angles. Wider cone angles result however in blurring images.

The breakthrough by Alexander Katsevich was to find an exact analytical reconstruction algorithm, which is known today as Katsevich’s Algorithm. The algorithm was subsequently further refined not only to solve the cone-beam problem but also to be better suited for situations where fast movement of tree logs is necessary.

Payback time in a year
Federico Giudiceandrea collaborated with Alexander Katsevich in implementing the Katsevich Algorithm with the applications of CT scanning and was ultimately successful in building a prototype, which no one thought would be possible. It has been further developed and marketed worldwide. Wood industries in Chile, the US, Germany and France have invested in CT scanners to make the most of the round wood resource.

The log scanner has an outstanding capacity compared to other CT-scanners. It has a band speed of 120 meters per minute, to keep pace with modern sawing lines. The best medical scanner has a band speed of 3 meters per minute.

In modern sawmills where 3D scanning of the log is used, an approximate of 10 to 15 percent increase in value of the output can be derived. A potential increase of 20 to 25 percent is possible if all the advantages of having access to the internal features of the timber are realized. An investment in this kind of equipment is likely to have a payback time of not much more than a year for an average-sized sawmill.

“Grading has been the only realistic way to keep quality within desired limits. The CT log scanner however enables a way of controlling the quality of the output from a log by directing the sawing pattern. This creates new possibilities for wood as an engineering material”, says Carl Johan Johansson, former member of the Selection Committee of the Marcus Wallenberg Prize.

The laureates Alexander Katsevich and Federico Giudiceandrea received the award from the hand of His Majesty the King of Sweden at a ceremony in Stockholm Monday 10 October 2016.

The Laureates

Federico Giudiceandrea
Federico Giudiceandrea was born in 1955. He graduated in electronics from the University of Padua, Italy, in 1980. His academic background is in bi-dimensional signal filtering. This brought him in contact with the field of artificial vision. The year he graduated he also founded the company Microtec with two associates – one an expert in optics, the other an expert in business. In 1995 the company had developed an X-ray scanner for sawn timber. The company’s first X-ray scanner for roundwood came in 2007, and in 2014 came the first multi-scanner for quality assessment of fruit. Dr. Giudiceandrea is the CEO of Microtec. He has received many awards, among others the Schweighofer Prize in 2013.

Alexander Katsevich
Alexander Katsevich was born in 1967. He graduated in applied mathematics at Moscow Institute of Oil and Gas in 1988 and got his Ph.D. in mathematics at Kansas State University in 1994. He worked as a research assistant at the Institute of Terrestrial Magnetism, Ionosphere and Radio Wave Propagation of the USSR Academy of Sciences between 1988 and 1990. Between 1996 and 2002 he was a Postdoc Fellow at Los Alamos National laboratory. From 1996 to 2008 he was an assistant and then associate professor at the Mathematics Department of University of Central Florida, UFC, and has since 2008 been a full professor there. Since 2011 he has also served as CTO of iTomography Corporation, a spin-off from UFC that he co-founded to develop and commercialize new and existing CT technologies. His research deals with tomography, radon transforms, medical imaging, microlocal analysis. He has received several awards, among others the Best paper in Tomography Award at the IXth International Conference on Fully 3D Image in Lindau, Germany, in July 2007.

The Marcus Wallenberg Prize
The purpose of the Marcus Wallenberg Prize is to recognize, encourage and stimulate path breaking scientific achievements, which contribute significantly to broadening knowledge and to technical development within the fields of importance to forestry and forest industries. The prize will be awarded at a ceremony in October in Stockholm, Sweden.

Source: The Marcus Wallenberg Prize 2016

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Forest Enterprises now licensed

One of New Zealand’s leading forest investment and management companies has been licensed.

On 3 October, Forest Enterprises Limited was licensed under the Financial Markets Conduct Act 2013 to manage Managed Investment Schemes (excluding managed funds) which are primarily invested in forestry assets.

Managing Director Steve Wilton describes the licence as a “milestone” for the company.

He says Forest Enterprises was, on 5 October, one of just two forestry investment specialists that had been licensed out of a total of 51 licensed MIS managers. Most of the others are managers of managed funds.

Licensing of MIS managers is part of a package of reforms designed to lift industry standards, improve confidence in markets, and improve outcomes for consumers and investors.

Forest Enterprises is based in Masterton, where it was established in 1972. It manages 61 forest investments for than 7500 investors, 95 percent of whom are from outside of the Wairarapa, including 7 percent from overseas.

“Our investment schemes have always been and remain regulated financial products. What’s different is that Forest Enterprises as the manager is now also licensed and is therefore subject to a similar robust compliance regime as the managers of other types of investment,” he says.

“In saying that, our investors will be pleased to learn that many of the investor protections that are now mandatory under the Act were already an integral part of our business model. That was very satisfying as Forest Enterprises has historically led the industry with innovative forestry investment options suitable for inclusion in a diversified investment portfolio.”

Mr Wilton says the licence is very timely given the increased interest in forestry investment as the returns from other investment options have fallen away.

“Forestry appeals to many investors because of the tangible nature of the investment – you can actually see and touch the trees you own – and most importantly, the returns from forestry compare favourably with many other investment options,” he says.

“Being licensed is pivotal to realising our plans which include the release of a number of new forestry investments from 2017. Many of these new investments will be in the second rotation of forests planted by the company for investors 25 to 30 years ago.

“Becoming licensed means we have demonstrated Forest Enterprises meets the high standards under the Act for providing forestry investment management services.

“As one would expect, it has been an intense and comprehensive process which does not stop once a licence is granted. Compliance and monitoring of our business and our forestry investments is ongoing.”

Source: Scoop News

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Scion release upbeat annual report

Scion Annual Report highlights science value to customers - Today, Crown research institute Scion released its annual report, which presents a very successful year in creating science impact and financial performance.

Chair Tony Nowell says Scion’s success is founded on high-quality relationships with customers, iwi partners, industry and government agencies.

“Our strong focus on customers and partners has generated a dynamic working relationship that has resulted in excellent science solutions."

“Take our rural fire researchers for example. They carried out experimental, controlled burns in wilding pines to collect information that will help rural fire fighters manage increasing forest fire risk. And in real-live situations the same researchers used fire simulation software to help plan and direct field operations for rural fire teams fighting two major fires in Marlborough. “Assessing the quality of wood in our forest resource is hugely important to both forest growers and wood processors. Our wood quality scientists addressed this need by building a world-first multi-measurement instrument, which they called ‘Discbot’. This novel wood scanning technology helps forest growers and wood processors assess a range of wood properties that affect the quality of sawn timber and other end products,” said Mr Nowell.

Scion’s impact continues to be realised in other sectors, such as commercial packaging. A unique commercial-scale, cool room test facility was commissioned and is now being used to test different coating and ink technologies to help packaging companies improve the performance of their cardboard boxes along the supply chain.

Scion also successfully scaled-up environmentally-friendly bioadhesives under commercial conditions in two wood processing plants. This technology responds to growing consumer demand in high-value export markets for wood products made with natural, non-formaldehyde glues.

Scion’s Te Papa Tipu Maori Plan to develop and deliver outcomes in partnership with Maori is continuing to gain momentum. Partnerships include working with Ngati Porou around governance models, restoring the critically endangered white ngutukaka, which was returned to the East Coast iwi in September, and enhancing options for propagating and breeding indigenous trees and also ways to build commercial and amenity value from totara in Northland.

Chief Executive Warren Parker says during the year Scion additionally delivered savings of more than an estimated $20 million to businesses through its unique science problem-solving capabilities.

“Our commercially sensitive work maintained access to export markets, reduced mill down time and product faults, lowered waste disposal costs and lessened biosecurity threats.

“The ability of our scientists to solve technical problems in an advanced manufacturing plant one day, and next day discover globally unique intellectual property in one of our laboratories, is enormously valuable to our customers and New Zealand", said Dr Parker.

The Crown-owned company also reported positive financial results. Revenue grew 4.6 per cent to $49.6m (budget $49.1m) and net profit after tax of $1.8m ($1.6m) yielded a pre-reinvestment return on equity of 7.8 per cent.

Scion’s win at the KiwiNet Research Commercialisation Awards on 30 June for a partnership to commercialise a new wood reinforced plastic product that could be used in cars, appliances and a range of consumer products finished the year on a high note.

Scion’s complete Annual Report can be downloaded here: www.scionresearch.com/annualreports

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Part 2 - International competitiveness insights

Innovation and infrastructure still holding back NZ's international competitiveness- New Zealand's national infrastructure and capacity to innovate stand out as two factors that continue to drag on the country's international competitiveness, even as it rose three places in the ranks from last year and 10 places better than in 2012/13, as judged in an annual survey by the World Economic Forum.

From 16th place in the 2015/16 Global Competitiveness Report, New Zealand rose to 13th, nine places ahead of Australia at 22nd, and 15 places ahead of the country's other major trading partner, China, on 28th.

Switzerland topped the WEF global competitiveness rankings, followed by Singapore and the United States in an annual survey that has become a benchmark for judging relative competitiveness.

As in past years, New Zealand ranks strongest in the quality of its public institutions and legal system, suffers inevitably from having a small domestic market, and continues to lag on measures relating to the capacity of companies to innovate successfully and the quality of public infrastructure, despite the strides made in improving national ultra-fast broadband connectivity.

Inefficient government bureaucracy and an inadequately educated workforce are the other two of the top four factors holding back New Zealand's competitiveness, as judged by poll results from a range of New Zealand company executives. The annual survey seeks the views of corporate and other senior executives from 138 countries to derive its rankings.

The country scored best on the absence of corruption, low inflation, open financial markets and stable government.

Other major trading partners, the United Kingdom, Japan and Hong Kong ranked 7th, 8th and 9th respectively.

Other areas to rank especially poorly for New Zealand were the state of industry cluster development, at 47th, and government procurement of advanced technology, at 44th.

Areas of strength included local supplier quality, at 12th and labour market efficiency on a ranking of sixth, while higher education and goods market efficiency, were both ranked 10th in the world.

Source: BusinessDesk via Scoop

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Dawn of a new tertiary era

Monday dawned the beginning of a new tertiary era for the Bay of Plenty region with the blessing of the newest tertiary institute, Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology (Toi Ohomai).

Hundreds of invited guests gathered at the Mokoia Campus in Rotorua and the Windermere Campus in Tauranga to bless the new institute and see the new brand.

Cathy Cooney, Toi Ohomai Council Chairperson, was delighted to be able to share the special moment with students, staff, iwi and stakeholders at the Mokoia blessing.

“This is a very significant day for our new institution and for charting the way for a bright future for those seeking a tertiary qualification in our region,” said Ms Cooney. “The name Toi Ohomai encourages young people, and learners of all ages, to ‘look up and aspire to great heights through learning’.”

“The new brand also signals the critical importance of continuing to build a network of purposeful and connected partnerships with iwi, industry, and the wider community. We are very pleased to be at this point in the development of our institution.”

Source: Scoop News

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... almost finally ... parking enforcement that sucks ---> literally

This New Form of Parking Enforcement Sucks. Like, Actually Sucks - RETURNING TO YOUR CAR to find a ticket tucked under the wiper sucks. So imagine how you’d feel finding a six square foot block of yellow plastic splayed across your windshield, rendering it impossible to see a thing.

The people who made this contraption, called the Barnacle, think you’d feel pretty OK—at least compared to how you’d feel finding one of those infernal boots clamped to the wheel. “With a boot, even in the best case scenario, it’s an hour before someone can come and remove it,” says Kevin Dougherty, president of Barnacle Parking Enforcement.

Fair enough. But still. A barnacle?

Dougherty developed the Barnacle to overcome all the horrible things about the wheel clamps, also known as a wheel boot, a Denver boot, and any combination of expletives. Parking enforcement types typically deploy them against scofflaws with piles of unpaid tickets. But they’re almost as big a hassle for them as they are for you. I mean, have you ever carried one? They’re also tricky to install.

The Barnacle is a breeze in comparison, weighing in at under 20 pounds. Simply unfold it and stick it on the windshield, aligning it to obscure forward vision. Then use the built-in pump to draw air from the suction cups, creating a vacuum. The integrated GPS signals an alarm if the car moves, alerting Johnny Law to your attempted escape.

At this point, you’ve got two options: Call the authorities and have them come take your money and release the car, or make a payment over the phone in exchange for the code needed to release the damn thing. You’ve got 24 hours to return it, and don’t even think about affixing it to someone else’s car. The pump is locked into the tough high-impact ABS plastic body.

Yes, there is a third option: Ignore the alarm, stick your head out the window, and hit the gas. “Ah yes, the Ace Ventura reference,” says Dougherty. “We get that a lot.” But it’s almost impossible to drive that way. It’s also illegal, and don’t you have enough problems already?


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Buy and Sell

... and finally ... when good lawyers go bad

A lawyer purchased a box of very rare and expensive cigars, then insured them against fire among other things. Within a month, having smoked his entire box of the cigars and without yet having made even his first premium payment on the policy, the lawyer filed a claim with the insurance company.

In his claim, the lawyer stated the cigars were lost "in a series of small fires." The insurance company refused to pay, citing the obvious reason: that the man had consumed the cigars in the normal fashion. The lawyer sued and won! In delivering the ruling the judge agreed with the insurance company that the claim was frivolous. The judge stated nevertheless, that the lawyer held a policy from the company in which it had warranted that the cigars were insurable and also guaranteed that it would insure them against fire, without defining what is considered to be "unacceptable fire," and was obligated to pay the claim. Rather than endure lengthy and costly appeal process, the insurance company accepted the ruling and paid $15,000 to the lawyer for his loss of the rare cigars lost in the "fires."

After the lawyer cashed the cheque, the insurance company had him arrested on twenty-four counts of arson! With his own insurance claim and testimony from the previous case used against him, the lawyer was convicted of intentionally burning his insured property and was sentenced to twenty-four months in jail and a $24,000 fine. Not very smart!

Have a safe and productive week.

John Stulen

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