WoodWeek – 30 November 2016

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Greetings from your Woodweek news team. Forestry features strongly in many news stories this week – some good and some not so much.

The Safetree Contractor Certification scheme will be launched in early 2017. This industry driven change has involved a small group of committed forest contractors working with a project manager from FISC. The result is that forest contractors and forest owners, large and small, have agreed on a system that will provide some key aspects of quality assurance in forest planting and harvesting work. The scheme is currently in the pilot phase with a small group of logging and silviculture contractors testing the practicalities of the initial system. Watch this space for updates in early 2017 when the scheme is made available to all contractors in our industry.

Forest investment activity is healthy as evidenced by news late last week from Australian-based fund manager New Forests. They announced the launch of a third investment fund dedicated to Australasian forestry investment. The new fund will invest in a diversified portfolio of hardwood and softwood plantation assets in Australia and New Zealand. The fund mandate includes investing in sawmills, ports, and bioenergy facilities.

Meanwhile, Saab, a brand we associate with cars and aerospace, has developed stereoscopic technology for our industry. They have worked with a newly-established hi-tech company out of Sweden to measure log volumes on truck. Cind AB has developed a product for precise 3-D measurement of logs while on trucks. The Cind system accurately measures volume as the truck passes through the system, thus allowing for instant and precise volume measurement.

Claims are being made in Marlborough that only 3 per cent of forestry blocks inspected were fully compliant with their resource consents in the past 12 months. The aspects of forestry operations assessed by the council included harvesting, road and track placement, water control and land stability as well as waterway blockages. The environmental protection officer who checked the forestry blocks said it was up to the industry to change.

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Contractor certification to launch in 2017

Contractor Company Certification - The Safetree Contractor Certification scheme will be launched in early 2017.The scheme offers forest owners and managers in New Zealand a formal assurance that the contracting companies they’re hiring are competent to do the job. It could also prevent prequalification hassles for contractors by offering the forestry industry a single certification scheme that can be used by everyone. The scheme will also improve health and safety, and employment conditions for workers.

To become certified, contractors will complete a web-based assessment and a field audit. They’ll get support to do the assessment, to help them identify gaps and priorities for action so they can meet the benchmark for good compliance.

The field audit focusses on observation of the work environment and questioning of workers in the field. How often field audits need to be done to maintain certification will be decided by a risk rating that takes into account previous results.

Check out the Safetree Certification page (http://safetree.nz/certification/) to learn more about the certification process or contact info@safetree.co.nz for more information.

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Forests transferred in Wairoa Settlement

Crown Settlement with Wairoa - The Crown has signed a Deed of Settlement with the iwi and hapū of Te Rohe o Te Wairoa settling their historical Treaty claims, Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Christopher Finlayson announced today.

Commercial and financial redress totalling $100 million includes the transfer of interests in the Wharerata Forest and Patunamu Crown Forest Licensed land as well as the right to purchase a number of landbanked properties for up to two years. Five sites of cultural significance will be vested in the iwi and hapū of Te Rohe o Te Wairoa who will gift them back to the Crown for the people of New Zealand.

The settlement will also establish Te Rohe o Te Wairoa Reserves Board-Matangirau to manage five reserves in the Wairoa area. Membership of this board will comprise an equal number of representatives from the post-settlement governance entity (Tātau Tātau o Te Wairoa Trust) and the Wairoa District.

The ceremony was an historic event for the region, attended by whānau members of the original claimants, Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Hon Christopher Finlayson, Members of Parliament and Crown officials, along with many iwi and hapū representatives.

Te Tira Whakaemi o Te Wairoa Chairman Tāmati Olsen said the Deed of Settlement represents a significant turning point for the iwi and hapū of Wairoa.

“This is a huge occasion for our people of Te Wairoa and for this region,” he said.

“We remember those who have passed along the way as we have negotiated this Settlement – their guidance and their struggles are what kept both the negotiators and our governance group going even when times got tough."

“Our people have waited for over thirty years to get to this point.”

The Deed of Settlement was signed by the Initial Trustees of Tātau Tātau o Te Wairoa Trust, the newly- established Post-Settlement Governance Entity (PSGE).

This is the fifth largest Treaty of Waitangi Settlement to date and includes financial redress of $100 million, which is made up of cash and shares in forest land. The Settlement also includes first rights of refusal over 147 properties held by the Department of Conservation, Housing New Zealand Corporation, Land Information New Zealand and the Office of Treaty Settlements Landbank.

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New Forests launches third AU-NZ forestry fund

Late last week Australian-based fund manager New Forests announced the launch of its third investment fund dedicated to Australian and New Zealand forestry investment, with more than AUD 660 million in capital commitments. The Australia New Zealand Forest Fund 3 (ANZFF3) will invest in a diversified portfolio of hardwood and softwood plantation assets in Australia and New Zealand. The fund mandate also allows for investment in processing or infrastructure facilities, such as sawmills, ports, and bioenergy facilities.

“Institutional investment has played an important part in building the forestry sector in Australia and New Zealand over the past few years,” commented New Forests’ CEO, David Brand. “As a long-term investor, New Forests’ goal is to create an environment where forestry can prosper and where we can jointly deliver strong and stable returns to our clients and positive outcomes for the communities where we operate.”

Mr Brand continued, “Forestry is also an increasingly important asset class as investors seek to decarbonise investment portfolios and play a part in the emerging bio-economy. High-quality timber plantations in the southern hemisphere and tropical regions will be central to the ability of the international forestry sector to grasp this opportunity.”

New Forests manages more than AUD 2.5 billion of investments in Australia and New Zealand and has funds, assets under management, and committed capital of more than AUD 3.6 billion globally. The company’s investments and operations include more than 780,000 hectares of plantation forestry and land as well as the Timberlink wood processing, sales, and distribution business, the forest management business Forico, and the international timber marketing business New Forests Timber Products. ANZFF3 will be managed to reflect New Forests’ longstanding commitments to sustainable forest management, third-party forest certification, and responsible investment.

Mark Rogers, New Forests’ Managing Director for Australia and New Zealand, will have oversight of the fund’s investment program, leading a team of dedicated investment and forestry professionals in Sydney, Melbourne, and New Zealand. New Forests is the only large timberland fund manager headquartered in the Australia New Zealand region, giving the company advantages in investment origination and transaction management, allowing for a more active approach to asset management, and providing efficient, reliable access to Asia-Pacific timber markets.

Mr Rogers said, “New Forests has demonstrated that we are a capable, disciplined buyer in this competitive market, and we’re focused on the long-term value add that strategic asset management can deliver. We continue to look not only for high-quality assets but also for the best investment partners, forest managers, and supply chain operators. These relationships are critical to ensuring we maximise value in both domestic and export wood fibre markets. With this additional funding from our clients we look forward to continuing to increase the role of certified Australian and New Zealand plantations in the expanding global bio-economy.”

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Kiwirail offers new service

KiwiRail has entered the coastal shipping freight market with a new NZ Connect service.

The service responds to customers’ expectations of KiwiRail as a logistics partner and is a logical solution to provide innovative freight connections between Auckland and Christchurch following the Kaikoura earthquake earlier this month.

NZ Connect has been developed with the support of Ports of Auckland, Lyttelton Port of Christchurch and ANL Shipping.

“The disruption to New Zealand’s key supply route between Auckland and Christchurch will continue for many months as the rail and road links are rebuilt,” says KiwiRail Chief Executive Peter Reidy.

“Coming up with an alternative way of shifting freight for our customers was important, and KiwiRail is pleased it has been able to do this so quickly.”

The new service will shift cargo from Auckland’s Wiri Inland Port and KiwiRail’s Southdown Freight Hub to Lyttelton’s Midland Port or KiwiRail’s Christchurch terminal via ANL shipping services. Using rail in Auckland and Christchurch has the added benefit of further reducing truck congestion from already busy roads.

The new services will be available immediately.

A plan to extend the service to include return of freight from the South Island to the North Island is being finalised and should be announced soon.

“KiwiRail has always played a key role in keeping people and freight moving,” says Mr Reidy. “This is another example of our commitment to keeping New Zealand moving and helping to drive economic growth, even in the most difficult and volatile of times.”

From Melbourne ANL’s Managing Director John Lines says "ANL is committed to this new partnership opportunity supporting KiwiRail, and ANL has ample available capacity from Auckland to Lyttelton and around the New Zealand coast to ensure the continuity of KiwiRail's service to their customers."

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Log truck 3D measurement breakthrough

Cind AB has developed a product for precise 3-D measurement of stacks on timber trucks. The system is based on stereoscopic technology developed by Saab.

The Cind system accurately measures volume as the truck passes through the system, thus allowing for instant and precise volume measurement.

”Saab is probably the world leader when it comes to this technology and has launched a number of spin-outs using military technology in commercial products in applications from mapping to industrial measuring technology. We are an example of the latter,” says Cind CTO Anders Nyberg.

“We have a license for the technology and will supply the industrial sector, primarily the pulp & paper and sawmilling industries. For global distribution and service, we will partner up with Microtec who is one of the leading suppliers of image processing systems for the sawmilling industry and also one of the investors in Cind,” says Anders.

“We have now installed and approved Cind´s first system in our railway terminal in Mora, Sweden” says Olle Pettersson CEO of Trätåg AB. “It is a pilot installation that will be used for BillerudKorsnäs´and Stora Enso´s timber and also for certification by various organizations and authorities. Once the pilot installation is approved we will install a second system at another terminal later this year,” says Pettersson.

“In addition to the pilot system to be supplied to Trätåg AB, we have agreements for three additional systems to some of Sweden´s most prominent forestry companies. In order to further develop our product, we have initiated a Vinnova- funded project together with VMF and Luleå University of Technology with a view to developing new intelligent algorithms to increase automation and efficiency in Cind’s products for measuring timber stacks,” concludes Cind’s CTO Anders Nyberg.

Volume measurement of timber stacks on timber trucks
The system uses two pairs of stereo cameras mounted on a portal through which the truck will pass. While the truck passes through, Cind´s stereo cameras and software create a perfect 3D image where the dimensions can be measured. This can be done by means of manual measurement on the screen or automatically by the system. The system is available both for permanent installation at a site or as a mobile system that can be deployed in any location as required.

Trätåg AB Trätåg AB is a logistics company that handles roundwood and biofuel on railways from seven of the company´s proprietary terminals and from two external terminals. The company was founded in 1970 under ownership from Stora Enso Skog and BillerudKorsnäs. The head office is in Falun, Sweden.

Cind AB Cind AB is a newly-established hi-tech company developing and delivering measuring technology and systems based on Saab´s world leading stereoscopic technologies. The company is owned by Saab Ventures and private and corporate investors, such as. Microtec, which is a world leading supplier of optical scanning systems for the timber industry. Cind AB’s offices are located in Linköping and Jönköping, Sweden.

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Tasmanian forestry deal extended for 20 years

Tasmanian environmentalists have condemned the State Government's plan to extend the Regional Forest Agreement (RFA) for another 20 years.

The agreement was regarded as a major milestone when it was signed in 1997 between the State and Commonwealth governments.

The 20-year deal was designed to provide resource security to the timber industry, while protecting the environment and was underpinned by extensive scientific research.

It expires next year but the Government is seeking a rolling 20-year extension.

The industry has seen major change over the past two decades.

The state's largest timber company Gunns exited native forest logging and subsequently collapsed.

The state-owned company Forestry Tasmania is trying to reinvent itself to remain viable.


Source: ABC News

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Forestry under fire in Marlborough

Only 3 per cent of forestry blocks inspected in Marlborough were fully compliant with their resource consents in the past 12 months, a new report shows.

The aspects of forestry operations assessed by the council included harvesting, road and track placement, water control and land stability as well as waterway blockages. Marlborough District Council environmental protection officer Mark Spencer, who checked the forestry blocks, said it was up to the industry to change.

The 27 forestry blocks inspected covered 7515 hectares, only about 9 per cent of all of the forestry planted in Marlborough. The council was also a forestry developer in the region.

Spencer said infringement notices and formal warnings could be used against companies that refused to comply.

"I've been doing this for eight years, and I've been seeing the same thing every year," Spencer said.

The report was presented to the council's environment committee last Thursday. Councillor Trevor Hook said there was a limit to what the council could do, and the forestry industry had to take responsibility.

"It has to be industry-driven."

Slips were created on compliant forestry blocks up the Waikakaho Valley, and in the Havelock and Canvastown areas, after the 7.8 magnitude earthquake on November 14 which was followed by heavy rain.

Spencer said the industry was using an "archaic" way of harvesting that left debris in gullies.

"I think the industry needs to address the waste," he said.

More >>

Source: Stuff News

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Wood processors meet in Rotorua and Gisborne

Big, bold and brash vs Small, stealthy and strategic - The Wood Processors and Manufacturers Association held regional meetings last week in Rotorua and Gisborne. This follows rapidly on the back of business luncheons for members and local politicians in Napier and Invercargill. The theme of the regional meetings was: "Are business conditions right for growth in the regions?"

The debate is always going to be very lively when you invite industry expert and agent provocateur par excellence, Dennis Nielsen, to be your keynote speaker. Dennis did not disappoint; challenging the Rotorua audience with the need to significantly grow the scale / efficiency of their businesses and compete much more aggressively on the world stage. Unless you have the teeth, muscle and aggression of the Rottweiler dog you are inevitably going to get crushed in world timber trade. Dennis gave the crowd plenty of evidence of "Rottweiler Economics" playing out in the timber industry around the world.

Other opinions in the room were divided. The answer for the NZ wood industry was to be a strategic, niche market player and there was growing evidence around the country that is what we are now moving towards. Certainly, evidence gathered by WPMA points to this - wood processing is the fastest innovator in NZ manufacturing. Warren Parker argued that it is niche processors in the NZ dairy sector that are most profitable. The night's debate raged on ...

Brian Stanley addressed the meetings and reminded people that, with industry innovating to stay ahead of the competition, it is vital that government clearly defines its support role. This is particularly important around tackling the unfair trade barriers that beset NZ exporters. You may have heard Brian on the radio this week commending on the PM and Trade Minister for getting agreement for an FTA upgrade with China and Hon. McClay for making sure that the wood industry features strongly in the upgrade negotiations. Stuart Nash (Labour Forestry Spokesperson) was on hand in Rotorua to set out how a Labour Government proposed to support the industry both domestically and on the trade front.

In Gisborne, and in partnership with Activate Tairawhiti, we were able to ground-truth what was being debated in Rotorua. Presentations by Juken NZ's Brendan Smith and Peter Petit from Wood Engineering Technology showed how a well established industry player and a newcomer were planning to play the strategic approach on world markets.

The audience in Gisborne was keen to discuss how skills' development could better underpin economic growth in a region where the wood industry offers so much potential. It was fortunate then that we had Kim Holland from Activate Tairawhiti and Matthew Vandy from Competenz in the room to outline what these agencies were doing to build capability in the Gisborne workforce.

WPMA acknowledged the support of Competenz, Jacks, Scion and Juken NZ for supporting their regional meetings up and down the country. WPMA anticipates continued engaging debate as we move into the 2017 election year.
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More funding for wilding control in Otago

More than $1 million in new funding will be committed to the battle against the spread of wilding conifers in Queenstown and Central Otago, Conservation Minister Maggie Barry has announced.

“The landscape of Central Otago is justifiably world-famous, but it is threatened by rapidly spreading wilding conifers which cloak landscapes in trees that aren’t supposed to be there,” Ms Barry says.

“These trees suck up priceless water, smother habitat for native plants and animals, and are advancing at a rate of five per cent a year.”

The additional funding will allow expanded control across 680,000 hectares of land in Kawarau, the Northern Eyre Mountains, the Remarkables, Dunstan and Kakanui-St Mary Ida.

“This is the latest funding to be announced in a $5 million injection for wilding control in 2016-17, part of Budget 2016’s commitment of $16 million over four years, focused on control in high-priority areas like these.”

Operations in the Queenstown area will be led by the Wakatipu Wilding Control Group, a charitable trust working with DOC, LINZ, local councils and landowners.

“The Wilding Control Group currently has a budget of around $1 million a year, has had significant success getting communities involved in wilding work as part of the War on Weeds, and is to be commended,” Ms Barry says.

Kakanui-St Mary Ida and Dunstan operations will be jointly coordinated by DOC and the Otago Regional Council.

The new Crown funding is supported by significant investment from LINZ, DOC, local government, volunteer groups, community trusts and private land occupiers. The Right Tree in the Right Place: The New Zealand Wilding Conifer Management Strategyprovides a framework for central government, local government, forestry and farming industries, landowners, researchers and communities to work together to reduce the negative impacts of wildings.

Prevention is the best form of management. Removing young seedlings now, before they start producing seeds, costs less than $10 per hectare, but removing mature trees can cost more than $10,000 per hectare.

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Buy and Sell

... and finally ... Snow White and Pinnochio

Pinocchio, Snow White, and Superman are out for a stroll in town one day.

As they walk, they come across a sign: "Beauty contest for the most beautiful woman in the world."

"I am entering" said Snow White.

After half an hour she comes out and they ask her, "Well, how'd ya do?"

"First place, with this face, of course." said Snow White.

They continue walking and they see a sign: "Contest for the strongest man in the world."

"I'm entering," says Superman.

After half an hour he returns and they ask him, "How did you make out?"

"First place," answers Superman. "Did you ever doubt?"

They continue walking when they see a sign: "Contest! Who is the greatest liar in the world?"

Pinocchio says, "This is mine."

Half an hour later, he returns with tears in his eyes.

"What happened?" they asked.

He replies, “I lost - who the heck is Donald Trump?”

That's all for our mid-week wood news roundup.

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John Stulen
PO Box 1230
Building X91, Scion Campus, 99 Sala Street
Rotorua, New Zealand
Tel: +64 27 275 8011
Web: www.woodweek.com

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