WoodWeek – 24 April 2019

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Greetings from your WoodWeek news team. If you are in the office reading our news update – good on you for turning up this week – someone needs to keep the show on the road. Meanwhile the rest of us are pumping money into the economy of our favourite holiday spots. Anyway enough about short work weeks!

FIEA’s popular conference series HarvestTECH is fast on the way to selling out. Make sure you reserve your seat! Visit www.harvesttech.events or call our office to get your team registered.

A Marlborough Sounds man is offering a cash reward for proof of forestry in his area 80 years ago, in a last-ditch effort to verify claims in a scientific study. Dallas Hemphill got curious after reading a study about how sediment affects the seabed of Pelorus Sound/Te Hoiere, published two years ago by Niwa.

Scientists said they found sediment from forestry runoff as early as 1901, but Hemphill says none of his neighbours - some in their 90s - know of any forestry operations pre-1940. Hemphill is offering a cash reward to the first person to provide "incontrovertible evidence" of industrial-scale pine logging, on land draining into the sound downstream of Havelock, before 1940.

Meanwhile, looking nationally, a bleak picture of the state of New Zealand's environment has been painted by the government's official report, Environment Aotearoa 2019. The joint report from Ministry for the Environment and StatsNZ updates a previous version from 2015. It says the way New Zealanders live and make a living is having a serious impact on the environment, and the benefits New Zealanders get from being in nature, though not measured or quantified, could be lost. Nine priority areas are highlighted for attention.

Finally this week, it is great to see that forest safety in New Zealand has made a real impact and a number of people’s efforts are set to be recognised in national awards across all industries. A number of people behind significant forestry industry initiatives are listed as finalists in the New Zealand Workplace Health and Safety Awards for 2019. The winners will be announced at a gala dinner in Auckland on 28 May. A lifetime achievement award will be presented to Dr Hillary Bennett for her pioneering work in health & safety leadership and in the forestry sector.

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Future NZ scenario? – BC export diversification plan

BC targets Asian alternatives in diversification plan – British Columbia government pivots trade-mission efforts to Japan, South Korea as China uncertainty increases.

BC's latest trade mission to Asia appears to heed the advice of Asia-Pacific economic observers to diversify beyond the United States and China, its two largest trade partners.

Government officials have admitted that China will be skipped in the province’s trade mission to Japan and South Korea in part because of Ottawa’s strained relationship with Beijing following the arrest in December of Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. CFO Meng Wanzhou. But they added that the pull factor from Japan – especially following the ratification of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP or TPP-11) – played just as big a role. “It recognizes that trade diversification is pretty important these days,” said Jobs, Trade and Technology Minister Bruce Ralston.

Japan and South Korea are BC’s third- and fourth-largest trade partners, respectively. BC’s exports to Japan reached $4.5 billion in 2017 and accounted for 38.5% of Canada’s exports to the world’s third-largest economy.

The province’s 2017 exports to South Korea were valued at $2.9 billion, which was 55% of Canada’s total exports to that country.

Officials announced last week that Ralston and BC Minister of State for Trade George Chow will visit the two countries March 16–22 but skip the traditional third stop on the East Asia itinerary in China.

They were quick to point out that the trade mission is the first Canadian provincial delegation to travel to Japan since both countries ratified the CPTPP. The 11-country trade bloc came into force on December 30.

Many trade observers have said BC needs to diversify trade away from the US and China because President Donald Trump’s protectionist administration and China’s hardline stance on Canadian trade following Meng’s arrest have thrown BC’s heavy reliance on those two markets into question.

But Yves Tiberghien, director emeritus of the Institute of Asian Research at the University of British Columbia, said businesses also need to take advantage of the rare opening in the Japanese market the CPTPP provides for Canada, which had been trying to secure a free-trade agreement with Japan for two decades.

The key, Tiberghien said, is that the United States backed out of the TPP two years ago, which has provided Canada with a window of tariff advantage this year – before Washington re-enters free-trade negotiations with Japan.

Tiberghien added that Tokyo has been “extremely friendly” to the Canadian market in the last year.

“You have access from government; you have access from the private sector. This is the year to do business with Japan.”

Sean King, Park Strategies senior vice-president, echoed that view. The former US commerce official said many traditional US allies like Canada and Japan are increasingly looking to each other in the face of the Trump administration’s hostility to multilateral trade frameworks.

King added that he hopes to see more trade links built along the lines of geopolitical alliances, similar to what was traditionally the case globally.

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Source: Business in Vancouver

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Marlborough Sounds forestry debate

Sediment science at odds with local knowledge over Sounds forestry debate - A Marlborough Sounds man is offering a cash reward for proof of forestry in his area 80 years ago, in a last-ditch effort to verify claims in a scientific study.

Dallas Hemphill got curious after reading a study about how sediment affects the seabed of Pelorus Sound/Te Hoiere, published two years ago by Niwa.

Scientists said they found sediment from forestry runoff as early as 1901, but Hemphill says none of his neighbours - some in their 90s - know of any forestry operations pre-1940.

Hemphill said he would give $1000 to the first person who could provide "incontrovertible evidence" of industrial-scale pine logging, on land draining into the sound downstream of Havelock, before 1940.

The report said sediment sources analysed using the compound specific stable isotope (CSSI) method showed "profound changes to sedimentation rates and shellfish composition since European settlement".

Sediment was accumulating on the seabed at a rate of up to 4.6 millimetres a year, post-European settlement, compared to a maximum of 1.2mm a year before that, in the Kenepuru Sound, the study said.

The main contaminant was "pine-derived sediment".

"They claim to be able to date the sediment in the Sound, and state what land use it comes from, they say they can distinguish forestry from farming," Hemphill said.

"And they're saying there was massive amounts of sediment from pine forestry starting in 1901. But that's just so much at odds with what I've found in our forestry history ... I've talked to a lot of people and they have no idea about it."

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Source: Dallas Hemphill

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Forestry finalists in national safety awards

Forest industry safety leaders are among finalists in the New Zealand Workplace Health and Safety Awards for 2019. The winners in each of the categories, and an overall winner, will be announced at a gala dinner at SKYCITY Convention Centre in Auckland on 28 May.

A lifetime achievement award will be presented to Dr Hillary Bennett for her pioneering work in health & safety leadership and in the forestry sector.

Safeguard editor Peter Bateman says the more than 150 entries received this year illustrated the wide variety of approaches being taken to prevent injury and illness and to promote wellbeing. The entries also celebrated individuals who are going above and beyond to make these initiatives happen.

“Health and safety is all about people, so it is always a pleasure each year to read the award entries and learn about some of the people who work behind the scenes to protect their fellow workers. They do tremendous work and these awards are all about acknowledging and celebrating that.”

The category finalists, in alphabetic order within category, are:

NZ Safety Blackwoods best initiative to encourage worker involvement in health & safety

• Air New Zealand

• Hancock Forest Management NZ

• Spencer Henshaw

ACC best leadership of an industry sector or region

• Farmstrong

• Forest Industry Safety Council/Leading Safety/Tuakiri/Forestsafe

• Government Health & Safety Lead

Business Leaders’ Health & Safety Forum leader of the year • James Fletcher, Treescape

• Jono Brent, Connetics

• Michelle Henderson, PowerNet

The awards are organised by Thomson Reuters, publisher of Safeguard magazine, and proudly supported by WorkSafe New Zealand. Since their inception in 2005 the awards have become established as an annual highlight for everyone involved in the prevention of work injury and ill-health.

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Proposed ETC improvements attract support

Submissions on improvements to the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) show that there is broad support to make improvements to the scheme, says the Minister for Climate Change.

The Ministry for the Environment has today released a summary of submissions made during last year’s consultation on improvements to the ETS. The report is available here.

“I would like to thank everyone who took the time to make submissions on the proposals,” James Shaw said.

“Just over 250 submitters contributed their views from a variety of sectors. We heard a consistent message that providing more certainty is important to scheme participants which is why we are putting in place more predictable processes to manage the supply of units over time.”

Submitters’ views have informed all of the proposals to improve the ETS. The first tranche of ETS decisions was announced in December last year. The most significant of these was the establishment of a framework to enable New Zealand’s emissions under the ETS to be capped in future.

Further decisions to be announced over the next few months (tranche two) will be combined with tranche one to form a single bill amending the Climate Change Response Act. This bill is expected to be introduced to the House in 2019 and given effect in 2020. Recent announcement of the introduction of averaging accounting for new forests form part of tranche two.

Alongside these legislative changes, the Government intends to consult on regulations in 2019 which will provide the volume and price settings for the ETS over the next five years.

This report does not include a summary of submissions on proposals to improve the ETS for forestry. The Ministry for Primary Industries will release a separate report summarising submissions on these proposals later this year.

Alongside the release of the summary of submissions, the Ministry for the Environment is proactively releasing Cabinet papers and related material on the consultation and December 2018 decisions.

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Source: Scoop News

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Environment in serious trouble

A bleak picture of the state of New Zealand's environment has been painted by the government's official report, Environment Aotearoa 2019.

The report is jointly produced by the Ministry for the Environment and Statistics New Zealand, and is a follow on from the last report in 2015.

The report says the way New Zealanders live and make a living is having a serious impact on the environment, and the benefits New Zealanders get from being in nature, though not measured or quantified, could be lost.

The report has outlined nine priority areas which are detailed below.


At least 75 animal and plant species have become extinct since humans arrived in New Zealand, and the extinction risk for 86 species has worsened in the last 15 years.

Species are at risk in marine, freshwater and land ecosystems. Cumulatively 4000 native species are currently threatened with or at risk of extinction - 90 percent of seabirds, 76 percent of freshwater fish, 84 percent of reptiles, and 46 percent of vascular plants.

Introduced plant species now out number natives in New Zealand, and similarly, stoats, possums and rats were present on more than 94 percent of land in 2014.

Added to that pressure is the threat of new diseases, such as myrtle rust, which arrived in 2017 and kills native plants like manuka, pohutukawa and rata.

The conservation status has improved for 26 species in the past 10 years, but more than half require active management to stay that way.

Land use

What New Zealanders have removed from the land, and what has been built on it has had a detrimental effect on the environment.

Native forests used to cover about 80 percent of the country, but now only cover just over a quarter of New Zealand.

Ten percent of the country was covered in wetlands, but 90 percent of these have now been drained.

In 2012, just over half of the country's land had been modified, like urban areas and pasture is now the single biggest type of land cover, making up about 40 percent of the total land area.

Between 1996 and 2012, more than 70,000 hectares of native vegetation were lost through conversion to pasture, plantation forestry and urban areas.

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Source: Scoop News

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John Deere reduces machine data solution prices

John Deere Construction and Forestry is decreasing its annual JDLink™ Ultimate offering prices, providing customers with an affordable, streamlined data solution that boosts productivity and maximizes uptime. Additionally, the division is consolidating JDLink Ultimate Forestry with the larger JDLink offering.

"Machine connectivity is key for our customers, who rely on this technology to maximize productivity and uptime. When we first rolled out our JDLink offering, we were excited to bring an innovative solution to the market that connected our customers with their machines and dealers,” said Ana-Maria Mallia, product marketing manager, JDLink. “We want to make it even easier for our customers to stay connected, and to do so, we are reducing prices to make this solution even more affordable and consolidating our subscription structure.”

Beginning this month, the annual subscription for JDLink Ultimate will be $200.00, and the JDLink Ultimate dual subscription will be $630.00. Tier pricing will be eliminated and customers can purchase up to three years of a subscription.

Additionally, the Forestry Ultimate and Forestry Ultimate dual subscriptions will be eliminated and consolidated with JDLink Ultimate and JDLink Ultimate dual. Moving forward, the Wireless- Data-Transfer and Limited Internet features offered in the Forestry Ultimate subscription will be included with all Ultimate and Ultimate Dual subscriptions. This change will be applied to both existing Forestry machines as well as new machine orders.

To learn more about JDLink, visit www.JohnDeere.com or contact your local dealer.

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Tall Timber Design Guides launched

Timber Design Guides launched - Following a one-day conference that discussed why wood manufacturing matters, especially in our regions, NZ Woods’ Timber Design Guide Manager Andy van Houtte launched “Design for Fire Safety,” the first of NZ Wood’s design guides in booklet form.

The guides are aimed at architects, engineers, developers, quantity surveyors, building consent officials and other professionals to enable them to better understand the advantages of modern engineered wood products and timber systems, confident that recommendations are in line with all current applicable Standards.

Mr van Houtte pointed out that the majority of New Zealand’s technical timber research organisations and developers had pooled their resources and expertise to produce these. The guides were originally envisioned as a series of five booklets but have become at least 54 (pending funding), expected to be rolled out over the next 18 months and funded by contributions from forestry, wood processing, research and timber technology groups.

It’s hoped the guides will promote the uptake of prefabricated timber components and engineered wood products in New Zealand’s construction sector, and help medium-rise timber buildings to be confidently specified.

This is an exciting time for timber, he believes. “Timber construction is becoming accepted for commercial and multi-storey buildings, and as a preferred material for prefabrication. Its seismic resilience properties are well proven, and it has strong environmental credentials.

“The guides should ensure good design, accurate costings and easy consenting,” he said. “With timber’s whole of life and proven recycling attributes, a more sustainable built environment can result as well.”

Timber expert Professor Andy Buchanan explained that these guides will update the more familiar “pink book” for engineering and architecture professionals, and will demonstrate the careful science behind the facts contained in the guides – which will be able to refute any spurious claims made by competing structural material proponents.

Dr Helen Anderson, Chair of BRANZ, Scion and MBIE’s Building Advisory panel, agreed with this analysis. “Good quality information needs to be readily available to professionals, so misapprehensions about timber’s structural integrity can be quickly dispelled,” she said. “At another recent conference, a UK speaker blamed timber in part for the Grenfell Tower fire of 2017 rather than the aluminium cladding and insulation. Such attitudes urgently need to be challenged.”

Science proving timber’s increased resistance to fire is one reason the Fire Safety Guide was the first to be released. Second will be the “Designing for Prefabrication Guide,” expected to be available in May.

Ultimately, Mr van Houtte would like to see a cloud-based, searchable library available through a dedicated timber design centre, although the guides will be available individually through www.wpma.org.nz in the meantime.

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Global Timber and Wood Products Market Update

Sawmill profit margins fell substantially in North America during the second half of 2018 after reaching record highs in the 2Q/18, reports the WRQ

Softwood lumber prices have generally fallen faster than the costs for sawlogs throughout the world in late 2018, resulting in lower margins for the sawmilling sector, according to the WRQ. In western US and western Canada, margins fell to unprofitable levels and many sawmills in the region curtailed production in late 2018 and early 2019.

Lumber prices in North America continued their decline from the 3Q/18 with another quarter of substantial reductions. Average lumber prices for southern yellow pine were down 12% quarter- over-quarter in the 3Q/18, which was then followed by a reduction of 17% in the 4Q/18. With practically no change in log or chip prices, gross margins, and the EBIDTAs, have plunged in the Southern states, after having reach a 13-year high in the 2Q/18, as reported in the latest issue of the WRQ. However, the region’s sawmill margins were still well above their ten-year average margin. With lumber prices continuing to decline faster than log prices in early 2019, profit margins have continued to slide in the 1Q/19.

Sawmills in British Columbia have also seen the prices for lumber in the US market come down substantially during the second half of 2018. Despite the weaker lumber market, sawlog prices still increased from the 3Q/18 to the 4Q/18 because of tighter supply and a rise in hauling costs. Sawmills saw their gross margins plunge to unprofitable levels and many companies decided to take market-related downtime in late 2018 and early 2019.

In Europe and Russia, market prices for lumber were much less volatile than in North America, with only small price adjustments from the 4Q/17 to the 4Q/18. Log costs were unchanged in Finland during most of the year, while the costs for spruce sawlogs in Sweden jumped in late 2018. Gross margins for sawmills in both countries are still at healthy levels and, in the 4Q/18, were close to the highest they have been in four years.

Sawmills in Siberia continue to expand exports to China with fairly stable lumber export prices the past three years. However, in the 4Q/18,lumber prices fell to their lowest level in almost two years. This occurred at the same time as sawlog costs remained unchanged from the previous quarter, resulting in reduced gross margins for many lumber producers at the end of 2018. Sawmill margins for 2018 were slightly below their five-year averages, but still higher than the average for the past 14 years.

Source: Wood Resources International

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New Komatsu factory in Sweden

Komatsu Forest to build a new factory in Umea, Sweden - Komatsu Forest makes one of its biggest investments ever and it will take place in Umeå, Sweden. It will be a future-proof factory in large format, with a focus on sustainable production.

Construction is estimated to start in May 2019 and the plan is that the finished factory will be inaugurated in 2021. The factory will be something of a unique landmark with its nearly 40,000 m2 divided into production area on two floors and an associated office building in six floors.

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Biomass power for Japan city

Biomass power plant for Japan - Toyo Engineering Corporation has been awarded a contract for a project to construct a 51,500kW biomass power plant. This plant will be built in Ishikari- shi, Hokkaido, Japan for Ishikari Shinko New Energy Hatsuden Godo Kaisha.

This project is to construct a dedicated biomass-fired power plant using imported fuels such as wood pellets and PKS (Palm Kernel Shells). This power generation facility is a highly efficient biomass-fired plant based on the reheat system.

TOYO will carry out the EPC turnkey contract on a full turn-key basis that includes engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning services for a power generation unit.

TOYO has positioned the infrastructure field centred on power generation plants as one of its core businesses, actively working on renewable energy power generation plants such as photovoltaic power plants and biomass power plants.

This project marks TOYO’s 4th orders for 50,000-kW-class biomass power plants. TOYO will continue to contribute to helping create a low-carbon society by expanding its approach to biomass power generation.

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Buy and Sell

... and finally .. pied piper of cats!

One day, a New Zealander on holiday in London walked into a curio shop. Looking around, he notices a life-sized bronze sculpture of a cat in a dark corner. The sculpture is so intriguing, he decides he must buy it and asks the shopkeeper the price.

"Twelve pounds for the cat, sir," the shopkeeper tells him, "and £100 for the story that goes with it."

"I'll take the cat," says the tourist, "but you can keep the story."
The transaction completed, the tourist leaves the store with the bronze cat under his arm. As he crosses the street in front of the store, two live cats emerge from an alley and fall into step behind him. Nervously looking over his shoulder, he begins to walk faster, but every time he passes another alley, more cats come out and follow him.

By the time he's walked two blocks, at least a hundred cats are at his heels, and people begin to point and shout. He walks even faster, and soon breaks into a trot as multitudes of cats swarm from alleys, basements, vacant lots, and abandoned cars. Thousands of cats are now at his heels, and as he sees the waterfront at the bottom of the hill, he panics and starts to run full tilt.

No matter how fast he runs, the cats keep up, hissing insanely, now not just thousands, but millions, so that by the time he comes rushing up to the water's edge a trail of cats several blocks long is behind him. Making a mighty leap, he jumps onto a light post, grasping it with one arm while he hurls the bronze cat into the Thames River.
Clinging to the light post, he watches in amazement as the seething tide of cats surges over the banks into the river, where they drown. Amazed and almost dumbstruck, he makes his way back to the curio shop.

"Ah, so you've come back for the story," says the shopkeeper.

"No," says the tourist, "I was wondering if you have a bronze Australian."

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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