WoodWeek – 8 May 2019

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Greetings from your WoodWeek news and views team. We’re full of forestry updates this week.

STOP PRESS - Forestry Minister Shane Jones has been confirmed as a guest speaker at the NZ Farm Forestry Conference Welcome Dinner on Thursday night, 16 May here in Rotorua.

In Hawke’s Bay, plans are well advanced for celebrating forestry with a new awards event in November. It has been eight months in the making and sees them join our other regional wood councils in Gisborne, Nelson, southern North Island, Whangarei and Southland in honouring the efforts of extraordinary people and teams in our industry.

As part of their mission to promote all aspects of forestry, Future Foresters have spearheaded the “forestry collective” stand at the recent Rotorua Careers Expo. The expo ran over two days this week with its purpose to showcase available careers in the region to over 2000 primary and secondary school students. An incredible effort from local members and their employers leading up to the event meant that the forestry collective had the largest, most interactive, and most relevant stand at the expo.

Next week we'll have an update on the HarvestTECH conference programme – if you have not registered, now is the time as we are getting close to selling out all available seats. Go online (www.harvesttech.events) or call Shaun on 07 921 1384 at our Rotorua office and get it done.

WorkSafe wants to bring to the New Zealand industry’s attention to concerns that have come to light during visits by Inspectors to forestry harvesting sites in recent months. These concerns relate to the provision of workplace facilities, mobile plant noise and hauler guarding. WorkSafe has indicated that in future, inspectors are likely to take action when they come across these problems.

Finally this week, XLam has confirmed it’s Nelson operation will close. After months of deliberation and consultation, cross laminated timber company XLam late last week confirmed fears it would close the plant.

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Hunter Harrill leaving for USA role

Dr Hunter Harrill, is leaving University of Canterbury School of Forestry after 8 years to take up a new position at Humboldt State University, USA as Assistant Professor.

Rien Visser, Director of Forest Engineering at UC acknowledged Hunter’s influence saying, “He will be missed, as our students have greatly benefited from Hunters’ knowledge and enthusiasm for all things harvesting and he was well known to many loggers, especially those running cable logging systems.”

“He has carried out many applied research projects around the country as part of the FGR research programme. For example, his knowledge resulted in his running of several cable logging and planning workshops. More recently Hunter provided productivity coaching for Rayonier and Ernslaw One crews,” said Rien.

While his departure will be a great loss for the UC School of Forestry, its an excellent opportunity for Hunter and his wife Katie. They’re heading back to where they both studied, have extended family where he started his career, in the magnificent redwood forests of northern California.

Hunter will be able to make a valuable contribution not only to teaching the next generation of foresters there, but helping their loggers as they start to expand into winch-assist operations. This is already providing some collaboration opportunities between the two regions renowned for cable logging and working on steep slopes.

“We thank Hunter for his major contribution to the both the School of Forestry and our NZ industry and wish him and Katie all the best for the future.”

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Hawke's Bay plans forestry awards

Hawke’s Bay’s flourishing forestry industry will be celebrated this year with the announcement of a new awards event being held in November.

It’s been eight months in the making and sees the region join the likes of Gisborne, Nelson, southern North Island, Whangarei and Southland in honouring an industry vital to our export economy.

Matt Croft, chair of the Hawke’s Bay Forestry Group who are driving the awards, says it is a great move for an industry that is one of the biggest contributors to the Bay. Export levels have doubled in the past 24 months, going from 1.6 million cubic metres in 2018 to over 2.2 million cubic metres now with growth expected to reach 3 million by 2021.

With 133,000 hectares of plantation radiata pine in the region and 48,000 hectares at a harvestable age, the industry with its associated services account for around $200 million of the region’s GDP.

“This is a chance to put our industry in public view and acknowledge the great work being done by those who work in forestry,” says Mr Croft. “In the past five years the industry has developed hugely, with a lot of investment in training, machinery and upskilling. This is a far more professional workforce than it was a decade or so ago and we want to recognise that and the contractors and crews who are putting in the time and money to make it what it is today.”

Mr Croft said it was exciting for all to be launching the new awards. “I really like the idea of the workers getting the recognition and for others to see them as the professionals they are,” he said.

There are 14 different categories with the overall Skilled Professional of the Year found from six of those covering forestry, roading, harvesting, distribution, wood processing and tree faller excellence. Women, trainees and the environment are also celebrated in the awards, with categories for each.

Mr Croft was hopeful the awards would highlight just how much was on offer for people keen to work in the industry. It should help people better appreciate the huge array of career opportunities within forestry. “The possibilities are endless,” he says, “with attractive options from tree planting to truck driving, harvesting, mapping, satellite photography, computer modelling, management, export, sales, genetics and more. “There is something for most- everyone in the forestry industry, and, as the awards will show, people on the inside of our industry are loving it.”

Nominations open on 1 August with judging in October and the Awards function in late November.

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Future foresters talking up careers

Future Foresters make forestry fun again at Rotorua Careers Expo - As part of their mission to promote all aspects of forestry, Future Foresters have spearheaded the “forestry collective” stand at the recent Rotorua Careers Expo. The expo ran over two days this week with its purpose to showcase available careers in the region to over 2000 primary and secondary school students. An incredible effort from local members and their employers leading up to the event meant that the forestry collective had the largest, most interactive, and most relevant stand at the expo.

The local Future Foresters group (supported by forestry companies and Toi Ohomai) ran competitions, spoke passionately about the industry to interested students and shared their personal forestry stories and advice on potential career paths in all aspects of the industry.

This could not have been achieved without the impressive and diverse bunch of Future Foresters who kindly donated their time and enthusiasm to share their passion about forestry. We can safely say that the two days was a huge success and would be one of the best efforts to showcase the opportunities of the industry to the local students in the region to date.

Feedback from students was supremely positive. What largely piqued their interest was the ability to work outdoors, staying away from a typical office 9-5 job, and the ability to be out in nature and enjoy the physical aspects of the work. Nearly all the kids the group spike to appreciated Aotearoa’s unique landscapes and the ability to make parts of these landscapes their places of work, especially given that a large portion of the population don’t get the chance to make the forest their worksite!

All in all this was a hugely successful event. The group acknowledges the support of all the companies involved: Kaingaroa Timberlands, PF Olsen, Port Blakely, Rayonier, Hancock Forest Management, Toi Ohomai. Also a big thanks to all the passionate and dedicated Future Foresters who turned up and helped out in whatever way possible.

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Nelson CLT plant to close

XLam confirms it’s closing New Zealand operations – After months of deliberation and consultation, cross laminated timber company XLam late last week confirmed fears it would close its New Zealand operations at Nelson.

A statement from the company said the operations are no longer considered commercially sustainable and that “a new business model” would “usher in a more commercially competitive and sustainable way for the company to supply CLT to the market.”

The move, first flagged by The Fifth Estate in early April, comes after the collapse of the Strongbuild business in Sydney and the failure of the voluntary administrators to find buyers for the business at Bella Vista as a going concern.

A statement from Xlam said the move would allow more efficient servicing of demand for its product in New Zealand.

“As demand for off-site fabrication, mass timber construction and CLT continues to grow, so too does the XLam business, with a focus on improved customer solutions and increased manufacturing utilization.”

Chief executive officer Shane Robertson said the decision followed an extensive business review of current operations.

“The existing highly manual, capacity-constrained operation in Nelson has been confirmed to be commercially unsustainable for future CLT manufacture,” he said.

Future supply to New Zealand would be met from the company’s relatively new operations at Wodonga, with a staged closure at the Nelson plant over the next few months.

The company will establish a new warehousing and distribution operation in the Waikato region, and new offices at Nelson.

It has also promised to keep all 37 staff members at Nelson employed “at least until July ” with “emerging opportunities” in New Zealand and Australia offered first to current staff and at least some deployments already in place.

“While on the one hand we are delivering positive news for our New Zealand customers and the construction sector, we have also made difficult decisions that impact our people,” Mr Robertson said.

“We remain committed to fast-tracking the Certificate III in Competitive Systems and Practices so employees complete this qualification that they have been working hard to achieve.

“We also value the ongoing support of local stakeholders including Nelson Regional Development Agency, Chamber of Commerce and the Nelson Mayor’s office, as well as WINZ and other government agencies, to ensure that staff welfare is paramount.”

More >>

Source: The Fifth Estate

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Rotorua showcase for farm forestry

This month's Farm Forestry Association conference is set to showcase some great properties on the field trips planned in addition to the programme itself.

Also the makeup of forest owners in this sector is now diversifying. Small and medium scale forestry (< 1000 ha) currently has approximately 14,000 owners. This ownership group is extremely diverse, a survey in 2015 indicated around 36% (5000+) were farmers, but many are urban investors involved in syndicates or joint ventures. These are New Zealanders, not overseas corporates, and many have a passion for investing is something that felt right and enjoy visiting forests and seeing a tree crop rapidly grow. Their connection to the land is no different to other rural interests.

However, like all primary sectors, this group faces issues and decisions. The rules signalled around the ETS will impact significantly on recent plantings and future species options. The National Environmental Standard for Plantation Forests is about to be reviewed and possibly tightened.

Regional Councils are introducing regulations and incentives schemes that are frequently changing rules for forestry land owners, e.g BOP’s Plan Change 10 and Waikato’s Plan Change 1.

The rules around fumigation of export logs are about to change. All these matters indicate small scale forest investors need to have their business and political interests managed and protected by an effective professional lobby group. Currently that group is the NZ Farm Forestry Association, but as an organisation run largely on a voluntary basis, will have an increasing load to bear.

The event will be run over five days, with a two-day programme in conference. There will be an associated Expo of trade displays providing links to information and service providers. The daily activities are as follows:
Thursday, May 16th: 10.00 AM Action Groups, 1.00 PM National Council, 3.30 PM AGM, 5.30 PM Drinks, 7.00 PM Welcome Dinner
Friday May 17th: Conference & Expo, Awards Drinks, Awards Dinner
Saturday May 18th: Conference & Expo
Sunday May 19th: Conference Field Trip BOP
Monday May 20th: Post Conference Tour – two options

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Levy vote supported in referendum

Forest owners have overwhelmingly voted to continue the Commodity Levies Act Levy Order for Harvested Wood Materials for another six years.

The audited voting results are just in. They were compiled by Research New Zealand, the independent agency that conducted the referendum:

Both of the voting majorities were higher this time than in the inaugural levy vote in 2013. In 2013, the Owner Vote majority was 86.3 percent and there was a Hectare Vote majority of 86.3 percent.

This year’s total vote cast is slightly fewer than the 588 who voted in 2013. The largest area represented by a ‘no’ vote in 2019 was 620 hectares.

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Rayonier wins community award

Rayonier Matariki Forests received an Outdoor Access Champion Award last week for its work supporting the Pauanui Tairua Trail in the Coromandel region.

The Walking Access Commission (Ara Hikoi Aotearoa) presents Outdoor Access Champion Awards each year to people and organisations who have made significant and lasting contributions to public access to the outdoors in New Zealand.

The forestry company was nominated for the award by the Hikuai District Trust, which has been building the Pauanui Tairua Trail.

"Rayonier Matariki Forests has been really supportive of the Pauanui Tairua Trail, which passes through a section of forest which it manages," says Asher Wilson-Goldman, Walking Access Commission Strategic Communications and Partnerships Manager.

The Hikuai District Trust has received financial and physical support from Rayonier Matariki Forests for half a decade. Rayonier Matariki Forests has adopted the trail as its environmental flagship project. Last year it was particularly proactive, sending a team of experienced foresters to remove a number of problem trees that were causing potential safety hazards for walkers and bikers.

Andy Warren, Regional Manager for Rayonier Matariki Forests, Bay of Plenty, said lending support to community projects such as the Pauanui Tairua Trail is very important to the company.

"We are delighted to be an ongoing part of this great initiative which is a real asset to the community and a wonderful drawcard for visitors. Forestry has a long history in the area and with views of our Tairua Forest all around the walkway, it was important that we be a part of this ambitious project."

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WorkSafe forestry focus update

WorkSafe put focus on workplace facilities, noise and hauler guarding - WorkSafe wants to bring to the New Zealand industry’s attention concerns that have come to light during visits by Inspectors to forestry harvesting sites in recent months. These concerns relate to the provision of workplace facilities, mobile plant noise and hauler guarding. WorkSafe has indicated that in future Inspectors are likely to take action when they come across these problems.

Hauler guarding: WorkSafe says Inspectors have observed that fall and entrapment guarding on haulers is sometimes missing or ineffective. In the past, the risks created by this ineffective guarding might have been managed with rules and procedures. However, WorkSafe indicates it doesn’t think this is sufficient and that mechanical or technological solutions should be put in place. It says Inspectors will have a particular focus on guarding this year.

Noise: WorkSafe says it has also observed situations where workers in cabs may be exposed to sustained noise levels sufficient to cause permanent hearing damage. It says forestry companies need to be sure that the equipment they are buying is safe in their operating environment under actual operating conditions. Exposure to noise, as with other exposures, needs to monitored, and where risks are identified they need to be dealt with.

Workplace facilities: WorkSafe says Inspectors frequently visit workplaces where workers have to eat or seek weather protection in fuel- soaked containers, where there is no drinking water or facilities to wash hands and where workers need to toilet behind a tree. WorkSafe says from July it will begin enforcing regulations requiring forestry companies to provide appropriate facilities for workers. It says it appreciates the challenges this can present in a forestry context and will work with companies to find pragmatic solutions. Some of these pragmatic solutions have been identified during Safetree Contractor Certification audits, and FISC will share these with the industry and WorkSafe.

Source: Safetree.co.nz

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Carbon market update

Carbon Match Weekly Update - Today sees the introduction into Parliament of the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill, Prime Minister Jacinda Arden announced this morning.

The bill, once passed, will enshrine in law long term carbon reduction targets, and require successive Governments to set five yearly emissions budgets as “stepping stones” along the way to them. It will also see the creation of an Independent Climate Change Commission and require Governments to produce plans on adaptation to the effects of climate change and extreme weather events.

The ICCC will provide expert advice to Government on climate change mitigation and adaptation and also monitor and review progress.

The Bill currently has the support of all three parties in Government, with the National party reported to have engaged constructively, but reserving judgement at this stage.

Along the winding road to delivery of today’s Bill, one of the trickiest aspects has been the treatment of Agriculture, a key sector accounting for around half of the country’s gross emissions.

Members of the Labour Party have previously cited the fact that over the Paris 2021-2030 period, if left unchecked, agriculture looked set to receive and use perhaps as much as 70% of that budget at no cost. Yet as the previous Parliamentary Commission for the Environment Jan Wright found, for agriculture, there is “no silver bullet”.

Today’s bill doesn’t specifically deal with the treatment of agriculture in the NZ Emissions Trading Scheme - rather it sets a framework and sets new long term targets as follows:
• reduce gross emissions of biogenic methane within the range of 24% to 47% below 2017 levels by 2050, with an interim requirement to reduce emissions to 10% below 2017 levels by 2030.
• reduce net emissions of all other greenhouse gases to zero by 2050.

On being questioned on whether this represented a softening of approach this morning on National Radio, Minister James Shaw said that the important thing is that the Bill will catalyse “a collective effort across all sectors of the economy”

“The point behind all of this is that you have an overall goal for what each sector of the economy needs to do in order to potentially stay within 1.5 degrees of warming.” These targets are intended to reflect and be consistent with the central range of global scenarios in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) special report on staying within 1.5° Celsius of warming, as set out under the Paris Agreement.

The Bill's treatment of biogenic methane ostensibly recognises its much shorter lived nature. PM Jacinda Ardern said that “Agriculture is incredibly important to New Zealand, but it also needs to be part of the solution. That is why we have listened to the science and also heard the industry and created a specific target for biogenic methane. The split gases approach we’ve agreed on is consistent with that commitment.

The Bill sets a target for 10 per cent reduction in biological methane emissions by 2030, and aims for a provisional reduction ranging from 24 per cent to 47 per cent by 2050. That provisional range will be subject to review by the independent Climate Change Commission in 2024, to take account of changes in scientific knowledge and other developments.”

Proposed changes to the ETS are expected to follow in another bill, expected to be introduced within the next couple of months.

NZUs today - bid $25.35, offered $25.50 on Carbon Match - every weekday from 1-5pm.

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Fines for containment failures

Forest management company Laurie Forestry Services has been fined $71,000 after their actions and practices led to significant sediment pollution in South East Bay of Pelorus Sound/Te Hoiere, in the Marlborough Sounds.

The company recently pled guilty to two charges laid under the Resource Management Act 1991, in the Blenheim District Court.

The company managed a 111 hectare pine forestry block in South East Bay which they were commercially harvesting in May 2017. Their resource consent for this operation contained very clear conditions relating to the construction and management of skid sites used for harvest.

On 17 May 2017 Council received a complaint from a South East Bay resident relating to sediment in his water from the forestry harvest work. The following day the resident also advised Council of sediment coming off the hills and reported that a neighbouring bach was surrounded by mud from a slip.

Council officers travelled to South East Bay to investigate and arrived to find a large plume of sediment in the Bay originating from two slips from a skid site. It is estimated that visible sediment extended for about 400 metres into the Bay. Council officers inspected a bach which was almost completely surrounded by mud, and noted nearby fences had also been damaged and silt and rock deposited on lawns of other properties.

Judge Dwyer also referred to systemic management failures by the company noting that Laurie Forestry should have known and complied with the resource consent.

Marlborough District Council’s Consents and Compliance Group Manager Gina Ferguson said she hopes this sends a message to others in the forestry industry, particularly when harvesting on challenging sites.

“Environmental offences are taken seriously by the Council and the courts and in circumstances like this where the offending and culpability are sufficiently serious, Council has a responsibility to escalate enforcement action.”

“As well as holding Laurie Forestry to account, we hope that this prosecution acts as a general deterrent to others in the forestry industry, and highlights the importance of managing forestry operations to prevent adverse environmental effects.”

For details of Judge Dwyer’s sentencing notes, click here.

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almost finally ... wood this keep you safe?

Ok, we all agree its "Safety FIRST"

But COOL LOOKING comes a close second with this helmet from (where else) Sweden ... !!!

Check it out at: http://www.cellutech.se/helmet.html

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Buy and Sell

... and finally ... some seasonal jokes!

... plus, this week, especially for the benefit of our Australian readers, we've included some political one-liners since they have the unpleasant task of trying to elect another Prime Minister
... and once again, they don't know for how long this time ...

"Talking to a liberal is like trying to explain social media to a 70 year old."

I remember when Halloween was the scariest night of the year. Now, it's Election night.

I don't approve of political jokes...I've seen too many of them get elected.

Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it, misdiagnosing it and then misapplying the wrong remedies.

Imagine if Bill Shorten and Scott Morrison were adrift in a boat and it capsized ... who survives? Australia!

Stop repeat offenders. Don't re-elect them!

... on the other hand ...

I asked my North Korean friend how it was there, he said he couldn't complain.

On a scale of North Korea to America, how free are you tonight?

and finally we end with an old favourite: Politicians and nappies have one thing in common. They should both be changed regularly, and for the same reason.

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

If you enjoy WoodWeek - pass it on. Go on - tell a mate to subscribe – it’s FREE!

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

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