WoodWeek – 27 June 2018

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As structural log prices hit a 25-year high in New Zealand, sawmills are competing with the export market to source logs for local construction. Demand from China has stepped up: their government has clamped down on the harvesting of its own forests. Log off-take volumes from Chinese ports had slowed with shorter working hours due to hot summer temperatures. This coincides with slower harvesting here keeping some balance in the market, according to analysts.

Meanwhile, thanks to concerted efforts of sawn lumber producers in Finland, their sawn softwood exports to China have shot up 88 per cent year-on-year. Overall, China’s 2017 sawn softwood imports surged 41% to 25 million cubic metres. Russia and Canada are the two biggest exporters of softwood sawn lumber to China, with Finland having now displaced Sweden for third place.

Once again our FIEA Forest Safety & Technology Conference series is coming up in early August. Discounted rates for early-bird registrations are still available this week – but best get in fast so your team doesn't miss out. Our industry-leading speakers are all practical industry leaders and safety champions. This conference series sold out in 2017. It runs on 8 August in Rotorua at the Distinction Hotel. The following week – 15 August – it runs at the Bayview Eden Hotel in Melbourne. We also invite delegates to our icebreaker evening, courtesy of our sponsors, the night before each of the one-day conferences. See details at www.forestsafety.events.

Unfortunately we have sad news from Napier this week. It is with great sorrow and sadness that the staff and management at Pan Pac Forest Products have had to farewell their friend and former colleague, Brian Pritchard. He was tragically killed by a vehicle accident while walking his dog on Thursday 14 June.

Almost every week we hear news of another commercial wood building in Australasia. Of course, earlier this month Lendlease signalled that tall timber office towers will be prominent in their development portfolio. It is safe to say that perceptions have well and truly been changed about wood among architects, engineers, specifiers and, of course, building occupants. The advantages of wood in commercial building are really starting to stack up. So, we’re pleased to announce that our Changing Perceptions conference on wood buildings is open for registrations at discounted rates for a limited time. Register at www.connexevents.com/cpetc2018/.

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NZ structural log prices hit 25-year high

Local mills compete with export market - New Zealand structural log prices rose to the highest level for 25 years as local mills compete with the export market to secure supply for the domestic construction market amid strong demand from China.

The average price for structural S1 logs increased to $135 a tonne this month, from $134 a tonne last month, and marking the highest level since 1993, according to AgriHQ's monthly survey of exporters, forest owners and saw millers. The average price for New Zealand A-grade export logs hit a four-year high of US$145/JAS from US$144/JAS last month, and US$132/JAS a year ago.

In New Zealand, sawmills are competing with the export market to source logs for local construction, at a time when demand in China has stepped up after Asia's largest economy clamped down on the harvesting of its own forests and reduced tariffs on imported logs to meet demand in its local market.

"Export markets have remained an enticing avenue for log traders and there’s little to suggest this will change in the coming months," AgriHQ analyst Reece Brick said in his report. "China’s appetite for NZ logs means it’s still the price-setter for sales into other countries."

Nearly all AgriHQ survey respondents reported steady or marginally firmer pricing across structural S1 logs in the latest market survey, Brick noted.

The winter weather had slowed harvesting in some areas but had come at an opportune time as some North Island mills were experiencing softer-than-expected local demand for structural timber due to caution across the New Zealand housing sector, he said.

"Whether or not harvesting remains disrupted in the coming weeks is unlikely to make much difference to the medium-term direction of the domestic sales," Brick said. "The pull of the export market is still pushing forest owners to try and negotiate contracts at or near the export market level. This is a situation that is very unlikely to change in the next few months."

The volume of logs being taken from Chinese ports had slowed as a result of shorter working hours due to hot summer temperatures, however isn't uncommon at this time of year and coincides with slower harvesting in New Zealand, which should keep the market in balance in coming months, Brick said.

Forest products are New Zealand's third-largest commodity export group behind dairy and meat products. Trade data for May is due out Wednesday this week.

Source: BusinessDesk

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Law change could boost NZ forestry

An overseas investment law overhaul could boost forestry businesses and add about $4 billion to annual export earnings, says Forestry Minister Shane Jones.

The Overseas Investment Amendment Bill, which a select committee reported back on yesterday, would ease the way for foreign businesses to invest and expand, almost doubling annual returns, he predicted.

"We already plant about 60 million trees a year and we've got to get to 100 million a year so potentially international capital, in partnership with landowners, could boost about a $6.4b foreign exchange earner to $10b per annum over time," he said.

"Forestry is a long-term play but as the sector expands with partnership capital, the foreign exchange earnings will grow. This won't happen overnight but an increase in Japanese forestry investment would be so welcome in places like Kaitaia and the Tai Rawhiti," he said.

Although the law aims to restrict foreigners' access to New Zealand housing, Jones said it freed up rules for global forestry businesses arriving or doing business here.

"Forestry is going to enjoy a lighter touch. The applications to the Overseas Investment Office will no longer have to go through such a constipated administrative tract. It will be quicker and why? Because forestry has a key role to play in climate change.

"It will be simpler for international firms to go through the OIO when they want to sell to other international firms. It will be simpler for international firms wanting to establish commercial forests here," he said.

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Source: NZ Herald

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Safety Conference early bird rate ends soon

Sensible solutions making forest safety seamless and smart - A major national conference on forest safety practices is set to showcase how our forestry leaders have delivered both safety and productivity benefits for people across a range of workplaces.

“Some of our most inspiring forestry leaders have developed safety improvements in both crew culture and harvesting technologies,” says Forest Industry Engineering Association spokesman, Gordon Thomson.

“We’re delighted to have skilled industry leaders outlining their teams’ experiences – especially people who know that safety and productivity can be improved simultaneously. It’s an intriguing line up of case studies for this year’s conference,” he added.

“Many of our speakers have delivered real tangible safety results both in forestry and similar industries. They will impart some really practical information. Many of them have been working with industry for a along time and know how to apply their solutions with forestry people and cultures,” adds Thomson.

Registrations are now open for the August 2018 conference series running in Rotorua and Melbourne. Thanks to great support industry, led by principal event partners McFall Fuel and VicForests, a special on-line early-bird delegate registration offer is now available for a limited time. Early-bird discount rates are available to 30 June. See www.forestsafety.events

Some of our ‘must-see’ keynote speakers:
  • Jono Brent, CEO of Connetics – A practical leader of electrical contractors with a very applicable model explaining how they “do safety differently” so that it works for their practical people working in the field every day with changing conditions, just like those faced by forestry people. Jono’s teamwork results are proven through their results in practice and put in place in the aftermath of the Canterbury earthquakes.
  • Wiremu Edmonds – Wiremu is a passionate industry consultant with thousands of hours of practical solutions. He has honed safety culture solutions with many forestry companies and teams in both New Zealand and abroad. He has harnessed the energy of his audiences and extended his depth of experience and practical solutions for both men and women in forestry crews;
  • Lance Burdett - Resiliency, our ability to cope with pressures of a busy life, is crucial for our physical and psychological health. Lance focuses people-centred outcomes. He demonstrates how three key areas; communications, safety, and resiliency shape our workday. For most of us, a challenging part of the day is holding difficult conversations with others. If we communicate more effectively then the impact on us from an emotional conversation is reduced significantly.

Our industry-leading speakers are all practical industry leaders and safety champions. They'll be speaking FIEA's 4th Forest Safety & Technology Conference. This conference series sold out in 2017 and is running again in August 2018 in Rotorua and Melbourne.

The summit is on 8th August in Rotorua at the Distinction Hotel. The following week - 15th March – it runs at the Bayview Eden Hotel in Melbourne. For full conference details see www.forestsafety.events

“We’ve teamed up with the Forest Industry Safety Council (FISC) to organise a workshops in addition to our one-day conferences,” says Thomson. “Our conferences delegates in New Zealand will get the opportunity to be part of an workshop lead by Fiona Ewing of FISC. Fiona’s team are hosting a workshop after the conference so people can talk as well as listen to gain new information.”

In Australia there is a pan-industry workshop on the afternoon before the FIEA conference – from 1 to 5pm on 14th August also at the Bayview Eden Hotel in Melbourne. FIEA has worked with Stacey Gardiner from Australian Forest Contractors Association and Diana Lloyd of Forestworks in Australia to organise this.

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China: Lumber imports from Finland surge

Is sawn lumber filling gaps in Chinese markets - Substantial growth in 2017 sawn softwood imports from Finland China’s 2017 sawn softwood imports surged 41% to 25.05 million cubic metres, accounting for 67% of total softwood sawnwood imports. The average price for imported sawn softwood was US$195 per cubic metre, up 10% year on year.

Russia still was the main sawn softwood supplier to China in 2017 and China’s sawn softwood imports from Russia rose 32% to 14.28 million, accounting for 57% of the national total.

With the Finnish government and Finnish Sawmills Association implementing a “Wood from Finland” promotion programme , their sawn softwood exports to China accelerated to a year on year increase of 88%. China’s sawn softwood imports from Brazil, the US and Ukraine also surged.

The average prices for imported sawn softwood from Finland, Brazil and Germany declined 3%, 4% and 4% respectively.

Source: ITTO Market Report June 2018

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Vale Brian Pritchard

Vale Brian Alfred Pritchard, former Forests General Manager of Pan Pac Forest Products Ltd

A message from the team at Pan Pac in Napier - It is with great sorrow and sadness that we have had to farewell our friend and former colleague, Brian. He was tragically taken from us by a vehicle accident while walking his dog on Thursday 14 June 2018.

Brian was the General Manager for the Forests team from 2000 until his retirement in April 2017. He had been with Pan Pac for over 44 years. His dedication and commitment was an integral part of the company’s growth and he will be dearly missed by everyone who had the privilege of knowing and working with him.

Throughout his career he was held in high regard through the business community, both locally and nationally.

Brian was a much-loved partner of Trish Beals; devoted and loved dad to Kathy, Stephen, Jacqui and Amy; respected and loved stepfather of Kelly, Tracey, Leanne and Simon; totally and utterly adored grandfather; and poppa to his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

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Coming to a forest near you: An insect robot

This is one flying insect you don’t want to swat. It doesn’t bite, sting, or spread disease and someday it could be a life- and climate-saver. In time, it could survey crops, detect wildfires, poke around in disaster rubble searching for survivors and sniff out gas leaks, especially global warming-fuelling methane, a powerful greenhouse gas many times more potent than carbon dioxide.

Introducing...RoboFly! It’s the first robotic flying insect that lifts off without being tethered to a power source on the ground, weighs just a bit more than a toothpick, and takes off using tiny beating wings?—?not propellers, as drones do?—?driven by a laser beam. A minuscule onboard circuit turns the laser energy into electricity, which causes its wings to flap.

Right now, RoboFly can only take off and land?—?but cutting the cord is just the beginning. “Before now, the concept of wireless insect-sized flying robots was science fiction,” says Sawyer Fuller, assistant professor in the University of Washington’s department of mechanical engineering and one of its creators. “Our new wireless RoboFly shows they’re much closer to real life.”

The researchers presented their findings at the recent International Conference on Robotics and Automation in Brisbane. Ultimately, the scientists believe their invention will have the ability to hover, perch on things, and fly around by steering the laser, or possibly by adding tiny batteries or culling energy from radio frequency signals. The goal is to direct it into performing specific tasks, such as surveying crop growth and detecting gas leaks. They even think it might be possible to equip them with smoke detectors so they can find forest fires more rapidly than larger robots.

More >>

Photo: Mark Stone, University of Washington

Source: popsci.com
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OIO change: Positive for Whanganui forests

Investor interest in forestry estates around Whanganui - Investor interest in forestry estates around the Whanganui district could ramp up with Government's decision to amend the Overseas Investment Act.

The move cuts through some red tape and brings forestry rights into the overseas investment regime, opening the way for what the Government calls high end foreign investment.

Forestry Minister Shane Jones said it would be an important part of achieving the Government's plan to plant 1 billion trees and boosting economic development opportunities in the regions.

It comes at a time when harvesting of hundreds of thousands of logs from privately- owned forestry estates across Whanganui district accelerates.

New legislation would give investors' more flexibility in obtaining consents and removes unnecessary red tape.

He said other funding initiatives were also being pushed by the Ministry of Primary Industries to assist replanting and these, coupled with an easing of the investment regime "is a positive thing".

"It's definitely been well received within our industry. Now things are being replaced I believe it will ensure values in forestry will be kept up.

Marcus Musson, a Whanganui-based director of Forest Owners' Management Services (FOMS) said the announcement was "bloody good news" for what he said was starting to look like a sunset industry.

"It means foreign investors can buy trees without necessarily having to buy the land. They were restricted to lots over 1000ha but now they can buy into wood lots smaller than 1000ha. And there are a lot of forestry blocks in that category," Musson said.

He said the other major obstacle was the cost of going through the approval process with the Overseas Investment Office (OIO).

"When you're talking about $40,000 to $70,000 to go through that OIO process then it's the sort of impediment that turns many people away."

He said the changes made sense from another perspective as well as forests being cut now needed to be replanted if the Government's objective was going to be met. There was already a lot of replanting going on but he said NZ didn't have the investment capital needed to the reach that target.

More >>

Source: Wanganui Chronicle

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Call for calmness on the coast

The head of the Forest Industry Contractors Association has called for calmness by the public in the wake of recent storm damage events on the east coast. CEO Prue Younger says their members fully sympathise with forestry block neighbours who have been impacted, but stresses contractors have been doing an acceptably good job logging difficult country. Logging contractors are willing and able to help in whatever way they can to be “good neighbours” and assist in the cleanup, which is already well underway.

The group is concerned about the pressures some contractors are under, the effects of ongoing negative public and political comment and financial hardship as income drops. Prue Younger has asked for patience and support from everyone affected and involved as we all work together to clean up the storm debris.

Issues around downstream impacts of land use are certainly not a forestry issue alone. New Zealand is dealing with major water quality issues, and forestry is part of that discussion. Any land use has costs and benefits associated with social, economic and environmental outcomes. There needs to be a sound science-based evaluation of land use, whether that involves, forestry, farming or land retirement. In recent years Nelson and Northland have suffered similar events.

The issues of forest debris, land use, soil erosion and sedimentation are complex, as is our geology. There is a lot of scientific knowledge out there, this needs to be reviewed and where there are gaps, further study initiated to improve forest management practices where practicable, or alternate activities on the land where necessary.

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NZ economic growth slows

NZ economic growth slows in first quarter as construction activity weakens - New Zealand's economic growth eased slightly in line with expectations in the first quarter as a fall in construction activity was offset by growth in the services industries. The primary industries regained some ground.

Gross domestic product expanded 0.5 percent in the three months to March 31 versus a revised 0.6 percent expansion in the fourth quarter and was 2.7 percent higher on the year, Statistics New Zealand said. The result was in line with economist expectations in a Bloomberg poll however it undershot the central bank’s forecast for 0.7 percent quarterly growth.

One of the main drags on quarterly growth was construction output, which fell 1 percent with all construction sub-industries showing weaker growth. On the year, however, the sector was up 2.4 percent.

The primary industries, meanwhile, showed signs of recovery after falling sharply in the December quarter.

Overall activity in the primary industries, which also includes forestry and logging and mining, rose 0.6 percent on quarter after falling 2.6 percent in the prior quarter. On the year, activity in the sector was down 1.8 percent. The primary industries represent about 5 percent of GDP. On an expenditure measure, GDP expanded 0.3 percent in the March quarter and grew 3.2 percent on the year.

The size of New Zealand’s economy in current prices was $285 billion, Stats NZ said.

Source: BusinessDesk

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New wood product to cut plastic waste

Stora Enso is wood’s contribution to reducing plastics with wood is a new product called Durasense. Imagine if you could transform your products from everyday to exceptional. Well, you can with wood fibre biocomposites – simply by increasing the share of renewable content in plastic products.

To make our biocomposite granules, we combine wood fibres, polymers and additives in a way that forms a strong bond. We then form the resulting material into granules that are easily dosed for processing by injection moulding.

These biocomposites combine the fantastic properties of both plastic and wood. It provides the mouldability and performance of plastic with the appearance and workability of wood in a strong and more sustainable product made from up to 60% renewable resources.

DuraSense is available to companies seeking high performance and a sustainable, bio-based alternative to plastics. Together we can make products of beauty, strength and durability with little or no change to existing injection moulds or production techniques but with a positive change to carbon emissions.

With DuraSense, it is also possible to combine fibres with recycled or bio-based polymers to further enhance environmental values.

Benefits of DuraSense™ include:
• Strong and durable like wood, yet mouldable like plasticsResistant to moisture and bacteria A good sound barrier
• Adjustable properties open up new design opportunities with easy processability, and reduced cycle time
• Potential to get products that can be recycled or reused in new composite materials
• Can replace many general-purpose plastics without compromising product properties
• Can be used in existing injection moulding equipment without major modifications
• Better price stability compared with most plastic polymers
• Lowers your carbon footprint with up to 80% vs. virgin polymers
• Can be used in combination with recycled plastics
• Attractive life cycle performance compared with virgin materials
• Raw material is from a renewable resource from sustainably managed Nordic forests, certified according to FSC and PEFC Chain of Custody

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... and almost finally ... going bananas in Gisborne

Nothing to do with forestry except for the coincidence that bananas do, in fact, grow on trees. For a bit of light relief before today's joke, comes this actual media release from the NZ Taxpayers Union:

Gisborne set to secede, form banana republic - The Government is engaged in literal banana republicanism as it uses taxpayer money to start a banana industry in Gisborne, says the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union.

“We know this sounds bananas, but it’s true,” says Taxpayers’ Union spokesman Louis Houlbrooke. “MBIE is spending $93,000 of taxpayers’ money to establish a banana industry in Gisborne.”

“There are very good reasons New Zealanders eat imported bananas. Our weather puts us at a hopeless economic disadvantage when it comes to growing tropical fruit.”

“While it may be technically possible to grow bananas in Gisborne, it should be done at the risk of private investors, not based on taxpayer subsidies. It’s also possible to build igloos in Gisborne – but taxpayers aren’t asked to fund that.”

“This is the type of corporate welfare spending Innovation Minister Megan Woods should be eliminating in favour of more essential services.”

“Last week we accused the Government of banana republicanism for throwing money at a Ruapehu gondola, but this takes the (banana) cake.”

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Buy and Sell

... and finally ... Ha ha ha ha

One weekend morning, a wife says to her husband, “We’ve got such a clever dog. He brings in the daily newspapers every morning.”

Her husband replies, “Well, lots of dogs can do that.”

The wife responded, “But we’ve never subscribed to any!”


A dog walks into a bar and hops up on a stool. He looks the bartender straight in the eye and says, “Hey, guess what? I can talk. Have you ever seen a talking dog before? Amazing, right? How about a drink?”

The bartender thinks for a moment and says, “Sure, the toilet’s right around the corner.”


It's just dawned on me... there's something about MY DOG

My dog sleeps about 20 hours a day.

He has his food prepared for him.

He can eat whenever he wants.

His meals are provided at no cost to him.

He visits the doctor once a year for his checkup, and again during the year if any medical needs arise.

For this he pays nothing and nothing is required of him.

He lives in a nice neighborhood in a house that is much larger than he needs and he is not required to do any upkeep.

If he makes a mess, someone else cleans it up.

He has his choice of luxurious places to sleep.

He receives these accommodations absolutely free.

He is living like a king, and has absolutely no expenses whatsoever.

His costs are all picked up by others who go out and earn a living every day.

Then it hit me! --> I think my dog is a member of Parliament!

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

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John Stulen
Innovatek Limited
PO Box 1230
Rotorua, New Zealand
Mob: +64 27 275 8011
Web: www.woodweek.com

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