WoodWeek – 22 May 2019

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Greetings from our Innovatek team. As log export prices and domestic log demand continue to be strong, the prospect of earning increasingly valuable carbon credits from forest growing is seeing more interest from landowners. This raises the prospect of farmland being planted in part or in whole in forests. Keen to dispel any potential angst among their constituents, Julie Collins, head of Te Uru Rakau, says farmers can benefit from forestry on their farms. She and Forestry Minister Shane Jones attended the NZ Farm Forestry Association annual conference in Rotorua last week to emphasise the fact. Her team was in attendance to assist farmers by answering their queries about the government's latest tree-planting initiatives.

Affirming that message, NZ Farm Forestry Association president Neil Cullen says it is now becoming obvious to everyone that all reports on climate change point to a need for extensive afforestation to meet New Zealand’s international commitments.

“Land use change on this scale will mean that government should implement measures to minimise social and economic disruption. Te Uru Rakau regional extension officers will be able to encourage and advise farmers to plant the right species in the right parts of their farms and help ensure that farmers can grow their log resource to maximise their forestry profits,” he added.

Moving to collective thoughts of industry players on market movements, we're pleased to have Scion’s log price outlook update this week. Log price increased by $8/m3 from November 2018 to February 2019. This change exceeded more recent forecasts but aligns with the 12-month forecast from May 2018. Looking forward, volumes are now anticipated to be relatively consistent, with perhaps a 1% decrease in a year’s time. That is a 4% decrease to the previous forecast of 3% increase.

As with the last outlook, most of the respondents (76.5%) do not expect any impact of the 1 Billion Trees Policy on their business over the year, though 17% indicated they anticipate a positive impact, and 6.5% a negative impact.

Finally this week, as the Government works through socialising the Zero Carbon Bill, we look to an update in this area from the team at Carbon Match. Last week at the NZ Farm Forestry Association Annual Conference welcome night Minister Shane Jones announced the second tranche of ETS improvements.

The announcement rests on a whole raft of Cabinet papers and minutes also made public at the time. They aim to improve transparency within the NZ ETS, increase rates of compliance with the scheme and to pave the way for robust NZ ETS auctions. Auctions are targeted to be up and running by late 2020, but there are provisions to cover scenarios involving delay also.

Two key elements with potential impact on price include the enabling of a price floor to be added to the ETS in future if required - a change long advocated by many in the forestry sector, and the transition of the current $25 fixed price option price ceiling (the FPO) to a new type of price ceiling; the 'cost containment reserve', linked to the auctions.

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Collins: Forestry complements farming

Farming and forestry can be partners, not enemies - Julie Collins, head of Te Uru Rakau, says farmers can benefit from forestry on their farms. She and Forestry Minister Shane Jones attended the NZ Farm Forestry annual conference in Rotorua last week to emphasise the fact. Her team was in attendance to assist farmers by answering their queries about the government's latest tree-planting initiatives.

Collins says the One Billion Trees Programme offers an opportunity to drive integrated land management and build greater resilience for rural communities.

Reaching the one billion trees target will see 230,000 to 430,000 hectares planted across New Zealand over 10 years. That will take the total land planted in forestry from 1.7 million hectares to about 2 million.

By comparison, farming covers 12.6m ha. That does not suggest an alarming shift, more a gradual redistribution in land use. Rural communities are a key partner in achieving our goals as a country. The Government's goal, through Te Uru Rakau Forestry NZ, is to support an increase in forestry that is sustainable over the longer term.

It's important to note that we have seen a reduction in farms as a general trend for a number of years. There are many factors at play in this, including farm amalgamation, urban spread and an ageing population.

However, we will continue to monitor the uptake of planting – particularly in light of market drivers like high carbon and log prices – and the rate of land-use change closely.

The key takeaway is that farming and forestry are partners in our future success and it can't be an "us versus them" mentality.

We need to work together to get the best outcomes for everyone – for the land and water, and for the good of our communities. Now is the time to step up and focus on the opportunities of diversified land use.

Together, we can make meaningful change at the right pace, find a balance between volume and value, and reinforce our reputation as a world leader in sustainably grown, low-emissions, high-value natural products.

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Source: Stuff news




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Industry: Te Uru Rakau growth vital

Forest industry says Te Uru Rakau expansion vital for coherent forest development - Forest industry leaders say the pre-Budget announcement by Forestry Minister Shane Jones of additional regional resources for Te Uru Rakau is potentially of great benefit to regional New Zealand.

Farm Forestry Association President, Neil Cullen, says Shane Jones’ announcement goes beyond the Billion Trees Programme and aligns with the forest industry’s recently released roadmap for 2020 to 2050.

He says there has been an urgent need for the government to put more resources into working with hill country farmers.

“At the moment, there are farm leaders who say they feel their communities are threatened by forestry. They are expressing these views because there is not enough available information to explain to these farmers how a well-planned and managed farm forest planting can be a highly profitable complement to running livestock,” Neil Cullen says.

“Our Association is keen to work more with Te Uru Rakau to improve buy-in from local communities.”

Neil Cullen says it is now becoming obvious to everyone that all reports on climate change point to a need for extensive afforestation to meet New Zealand’s international commitments.

“Land use change on this scale will mean that government should implement measures to minimise social and economic disruption.”

“Te Uru Rakau regional extension officers will be able to encourage and advise farmers to plant the right species in the right parts of their farms and help ensure that farmers can grow their log resource to maximise their forestry profits,” Neil Cullen says.

Forest Owners Association President Peter Weir says more government involvement in recruitment into the industry is very welcome to deal with critical gaps in silviculture, logging and log cartage.

“Forest owners are investing heavily in promoting forest education courses, recruitment and training. But in the short term, there are things which only government can do to help, including as working with Pacific Island governments to get the increased planting done over the next two winters. The Minister has announced a laudable aim of a sustainable domestic workforce – but the need is now.”

“Without enough labour, the Billion Tree programme will drive up costs for those replanting after harvest, and New Zealand’s very ambitious Zero Carbon 2050 target will not be met.”

Peter Weir is emphatic that a strong domestic processing sector is critical to complement our very healthy log export markets.

“It is unwise for any exporter to rely on one product and access to one market” Peter Weir says.

“About half our exports are further processed, with sawn lumber going to Australia while medium density fibreboard, laminated veneer lumber and wood pulp goes to a variety of countries.”

Forest growers lament the very recent closure of New Zealand’s only cross laminated timber plant in Nelson, but Peter Weir says i'ts Australian owners stated that did not have the necessary scale to compete.

“This demonstrates that our wood processing sector needs to be more able, and have greater confidence, to invest in large scale modern timber processing.”

“It is great that the government is building a showcase Te Uru Rakau office in Rotorua made out of timber. We hope that will include cross laminated timber and laminated veneer lumber to demonstrate the amazing qualities of modern engineered wood as a building material in larger scale construction.”



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Scion log price outlook

We welcome industry players to participate in Scion’s 17th Log Price Outlook Survey. Thank you to those who suggested new areas to forecast. From the participants’ requests, the team at Scion have updated the questions.

In February, fifty-two people from various parts of New Zealand’s domestic and international forestry products supply chains participated in this outlook. These participants represent a substantial component of the NZ forestry industry. Log price increased by $8/m3 from November 2018 to February 2019. This change exceeded more recent forecasts but aligns with the 12-month forecast from May 2018. Looking forward, volumes are now anticipated to be relatively consistent, with perhaps a 1% decrease in a year’s time. That is a 4% decrease to the previous forecast of 3% increase.

As with the last outlook, most of the respondents (76.5%) do not expect any impact of the 1 Billion Trees Policy on their business over the year, though 17% indicated they anticipate a positive impact, and 6.5% a negative impact.

The word cloud above is very similar to previous outlooks - China and market demand are always in the focus of respondents, however, some concern over softening in the Chinese market and continued impacts from the USA-China trade war were apparent from comments, however many expected the trade dispute to resolve soon. Most businesses seem confident that they will not be significantly impacted by market fluctuations.

Participate in the May 2019 Outlook Survey

Download the latest survey report






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Carbon market update

Carbon Match Market Update - Last week at the NZ Farm Forestry Association Annual Conference night Minister James Shaw announced the second tranche of ETS improvements.

The announcement rests on a whole raft of Cabinet papers and minutes also made public at the time. They aim to improve transparency within the NZ ETS, increase rates of compliance with the scheme and to pave the way for robust NZ ETS auctions.

Auctions are targeted to be up and running by late 2020, but there are provisions to cover scenarios involving delay also.

Two key elements with potential impact on price include the enabling of a price floor to be added to the ETS in future if required - a change long advocated by many in the forestry sector, and the transition of the current $25 fixed price option price ceiling (the FPO) to a new type of price ceiling; the 'cost containment reserve', linked to the auctions.

The fixed price option is to be removed when auctioning begins, or no later than 31 December 2022.

“This ensures that the FPO will be removed while also allowing for any unexpected events, such as a delay to the introduction of auctioning,” said Minister James Shaw.

"As previously announced, the FPO will retain its current $25 level for surrenders due in 2019 in order to support ongoing regulatory predictability."

This reaffirmation that the FPO level of $25 remains in place for surrenders due in 2019 will perhaps provide some comfort to emitters who've not yet squared off their 2018 emissions (upcoming surrender deadline end May) and perhaps also to others with harvesting or deforestation liabilities they expect to crystalise and meet this calendar year.

However, in our view, the information seems to stop short of offering quite the same level of comfort for the 2020 year, let alone the 2021 and 2022 years, were we to find ourselves in a situation where auctioning was delayed, and hence the FPO remained in place.

Furthermore, as noted in previous newsletters, there is a world of difference between a simple cold hard $ amount payable per unit required to comply, and the as yet-to be structured, more complex cost containment reserve.

Meanwhile penalties for non-compliance are set to get tougher. Entities failing to surrender on time will face a penalty of three times the market price, AND an obligation to make good on the underlying obligation.

No room for complacency then.

NZUs - bid $25.20, good volume offered at $25.40, last trade yesterday (prior to the announcement) at $25.45, and a very small trade at $25.30 on the open today.

Carbon Match - every weekday from 1-5pm.


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KiwiRail pushes Northland case

Northland business case highlights value of rail - KiwiRail applauds recognition in the Northland Rail Business Case, released today, of the strategic value of a viable rail network for the region.

"We are pleased that this business case recognises rail's critical role supporting regional economic development and potential to grow Northland's export GDP," KiwiRail Group Chief Executive Greg Miller says.

You only need look to the Waikato and the Bay of Plenty where the development of key export industries in the 1950s to 70s - dairy, forestry and horticulture - were matched by Government investment in rail with the Te Rapa yard, Kinleith and Murupara branch lines and the Kaimai tunnel.

"Those projects ensured strong connections to Tauranga's port and the rest is history. With those same industries now developing in Northland, the region will need a modern rail network to make sure supply chains are in place.

"Northport is, other than Nelson, the only key port that does not have a rail connection and as a result Northland's railway lines are underused.

"The newest parts of the North Auckland rail line are almost 100 years old, and the oldest parts up to 140 years old. Without investment, the line will likely need to close within the next three to five years, because of the state of its infrastructure. That would mean even more heavy vehicles on the region's roads.

"Rail is a driver of economic development and jobs through our freight network, tourism services and the passenger services we enable.

"We also deliver the wider benefits rail brings to regions such as taking trucks off the road, reducing road maintenance costs, improving road safety and producing fewer carbon emissions.

"We have supported the business case with work to better understand what is needed to bring the existing lines up to a modern standard and advancing design of a rail connection to Northport."


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Record year for Gisborne port owner

Record-breaking year for Eastland Group - On the back of last year’s record results, Eastland Group has just announced they’ve broken records once again, with their strongest performance since the company was formed in 2003.

In the year to 31 March 2019 income rose to $97 million, up $12.3 million on the previous year. The audited profit was $20.1 million.

These results mean Eastland Group returned a record $12.1 million to sole shareholder Eastland Community Trust. This is made up of a dividend distribution of $10 million and capital note interest of $2.1 million. (Last year they distributed just over $10 million to ECT.)

“A commercial mind and a community heart” - “Eastland Group is ECT’s commercial arm,” says Eastland Group chief executive Matt Todd. “We’re charged with keeping key regional infrastructure – including Eastland Network, Eastland Port and Gisborne Airport – running smoothly. Every year we provide strong financial returns to ECT. We like to think of it as making profit for a community purpose.

“At the same time, the community is at the heart of everything we do. By delivering on our commercial responsibilities, we directly support the region’s economic growth and wellbeing. And we enable ECT to make their own record distributions for the benefit of the residents of Tairawhiti Gisborne.

Eastland Port and Eastland Network both had similar EBIT returns to 2018. Eastland Port had a strong year, even with operational downtime caused by significant weather events, with 140 ships handling 2,956,071 tonnes of cargo. Of that, 126 ships took away 2,941,324 tonnes of logs, with the other 14,747 tonnes of cargo made up of fertiliser, fish, kiwifruit and squash. Eastland Port marked a cart-in record-setting day when 15,004 tonnes of wood arrived and was processed on 19 March. In another year-end highlight, the port recorded its best annual result for cruise ship visits.

“An enormous achievement this year was the completion of the Te Ahi O Maui geothermal power plant in Kawerau,” says Mr Todd. “This is New Zealand’s first major renewable power plant in almost four years. It synched to the national grid on 1 October 2018, and is generating around 25 MW of clean, green, renewable energy – enough to power 25,000 homes. It was delivered alongside our Iwi partners and co-investors the A8D Ahu Whenua Trust.

“The strategy behind this major investment was to create positive, long term returns for Eastland Community Trust, and the local community that ultimately owns us. It has provided a model that helps the Iwi landowners unlock economic potential from their land without compromising their kaitiakitanga. This approach is already bearing dividends. The strong generation prices have seen Te Ahi O Maui make a significant contribution to our record-breaking year. Combined with GDL, our other geothermal plant in Kawerau, Eastland Generation delivered $19.5 million towards our total income.”

Planning for the future - Eastland Group continues to plan and invest for the future. Eastland Port’s multi-million dollar twin berth development will allow them to meet the needs of all types of cargo, have two ships berth at once, and open up the possibility of containerisation.

The numbers in summary - In the latest period, the port handled almost 2.96 million tonnes of cargo, most of it logs, down from the record 3 million tonnes moved a year earlier.

Eastland Group has returned a record $12.1 million to its community shareholding trust, boosted by earnings from the firm’s new geothermal plant at Kawerau.

The payout – comprising a $10 million dividend and $2.1 million of capital note interest – is up from $8 million and $2.1 million last year.

The increased dividend was driven by the group’s record $20.1 million net profit for the year ended March 31, up from $17.6 million the year before. Revenue climbed to $97 million from $84.7 million.

Source: Scoop and BusinessDesk


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High flyers support forestry offsets

Air New Zealand and its customers have purchased more than NZD$1 million worth of carbon offsets from permanent New Zealand native forestry projects through the airline’s voluntary carbon offsetting programme, FlyNeutral.

The programme re-launched in late 2016 gives the airline’s customers the option to offset the carbon emissions associated with their flights when booking online. The funds collected all go directly towards the purchase of certified carbon credits, which help to remove carbon from the atmosphere.

Carbon credits are purchased from a range of permanent native forest projects registered with the New Zealand Government under the Permanent Forest Sink Initiative, and from a handful of international sustainable energy projects. Forests are located across New Zealand, from Northland, to the Chatham Islands, to Wellington City Council’s Outer Green Belt and Hinewai Reserve on Banks Peninsula.

Air New Zealand Head of Sustainability Lisa Daniell says she is pleased the airline has been able to provide a platform for customers to take greater responsibility for offsetting carbon emissions as well as support afforestation in New Zealand.

“We’re delighted to see the programme reach this first milestone with the support of our customers. Climate change is an urgent global issue, and as an airline we know we must play our part in finding solutions. Providing our customers with an easy way to offset the carbon emissions associated with air travel is one way to do this.

“As with anything of this magnitude it’s a step in the right direction. Last year we offset 8,700 tonnes of carbon on behalf of all our employees who travelled for work, and we’d obviously love to see even more travellers, including business travellers, join us in offsetting their emissions in the future.”

Permanent Forests NZ Partner Ollie Belton says Air New Zealand’s FlyNeutral programme is helping to create a stronger market for permanent native forestry and building greater understanding about the importance of creating a better New Zealand for future generations.

“The native forestry projects selected for use within the FlyNeutral portfolio represent premium carbon offsets that in addition to helping reduce climate change impacts, can improve conservation and also enhance community and recreational reserves due to their permanency. It has been great to work with Air New Zealand and landowners to be able to profile and support these projects.”

The airline’s FlyNeutral voluntary carbon offsetting programme goes above and beyond regulatory obligations for carbon emissions under the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme, which Air New Zealand itself meets.

Since 2018 Air New Zealand’s corporate and government customers have also been able to offset their carbon emissions under the programme. The airline also offsets emissions on behalf of its employees travelling for work.


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More farmers worried about forests

Last week it was Wairarapa farmers; this week the rural community in Wairoa expresses concerns about wholesale forestry planting.

Farmers and community leaders in Wairoa have become the latest group to raise concerns over the sale of farms to make room for lucrative forestry. Locals estimate around 10,000 hectares of the region's most productive land has been sold to out-of-town investors wanting to plant trees for harvest and carbon credits. They're worried thousands of jobs could be lost from the area if it continues. RNZ Hawke's Bay reporter Anusha Bradley has this report.

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Source: Radio New Zealand


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Our ‘lungs of the planet’ keep us alive

Forests are vitally important for sustaining life on Earth - they play a major role in the fight against climate change. With the 2019 session of the United Nations Forum on Forests wrapping up recently in New York, we delve deeper into the subject, and find out what the UN is doing to safeguard and protect them.

1. Forests are the most cost-effective way to fight climate change

Arguably, protection and enhancing the world’s forests is one of the most cost- effective forms of climate action: forests act as carbon sinks, absorbing roughly 2 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide each year. Sustainable forest management can build resilience and help mitigate and adapt to climate change.

Speaking at the 2018 UN climate conference (COP24) in Katowice, Poland, Liu Zhemin, head of the UN’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), said that “forests are central in developing solutions both to mitigate and adapt to climate change, adding that “these terrestrial ecosystems have already removed nearly one third of human- produced carbon dioxide emissions from the atmosphere. Through sustainable forest management, they could remove much more.”

At this week’s meeting session of the UNFF, it was noted that forest-based climate change mitigation and adaptation actions, if fully implemented, could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by around 15 gigatonnes of CO2 a year by 2050, which could potentially be enough to limit warming to well below 2°C (the target set by the international community in 2015). Today, fossil fuels emit 36 gigatonnes every year.

In addition, as renewable sources increasingly replace fossil fuels, forests will become more and more important as sources of energy: already, forests supply about 40 per cent of global renewable energy in the form of wood fuel – as much as solar, hydroelectric and wind power combined.

2. The goal of zero deforestation is close to being reached

Significant progress has been made in international forest protection over the past 25 years. The rate of net global deforestation has slowed by more than 50 per cent, a credit to global efforts to sustainably manage existing forests, while at the same time engaging in ambitious measures to restore degraded forests and land, and to plant more trees to meet the demand for forest products and services.

The goal of zero net global deforestation is close to being reached, bringing the world one step closer to the UN Strategic Plan for Forest’s target to expand global forest area by 3 per cent by 2030, an area of 120 million hectares, about the size of South Africa.

3. The biggest threat to forests is…agriculture

Many people will be aware of the devastating effects that illegal and unsustainable logging has on forests, but the biggest global driver of deforestation is actually agriculture, because of the extent to which forests are converted to farmland and livestock grazing land: a key challenge is how to manage the ongoing increase in agricultural production, and improve food security, without reducing overall forest areas.

A major UN report on biodiversity, released in May, made headlines around the world with its headline figure of one million species at risk of extinction, warned against the destruction of forests, noting that this “will likely have negative impacts on biodiversity and can threaten food and water security as well as local livelihoods, including by intensifying social conflict.”

4. The UN’s growing role in forest protection

The first time forests came to the forefront of the international agenda was at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio, widely regarded as one of the landmark UN conferences. The Summit led to the adoption of Agenda 21, the first significant international action plan for achieving sustainable development, which noted the “major weaknesses in the policies, methods and mechanisms adopted to support and develop the multiple ecological, economic, social and cultural roles of trees, forests and forest lands.”

The Earth Summit also saw the adoption of the Forest Principles which, although non- legally binding, was the first global consensus reached on the sustainable management of forests. The Principles called for all countries to make efforts towards reforestation and forest conservation; enshrined the right of nations to develop forests in keeping with national sustainable development policies; and called for financial resources to be provided for targeted economic policies.

To better co-ordinate international efforts to put the principles into practice, an inter- governmental panel and forum were set up in the 1990s, to be replaced in 2000 by the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF), which meets every year at UN Headquarters in New York to monitor progress on the implementation of the six Global Forest Goals.

The Goals set targets for the sustainable management of forests, and reduction of deforestation and forest degradation, and were developed as part the forest community’s response to the 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development, the UN’s overall blueprint for economic progress that protects the environment and humanity.

5. This year’s top priorities: climate change and the real cost of deforestation

One of the key take-aways from the 2019 session of the UN Forest Forum was that, too often, forests are under-valued, because it’s hard to put a clear monetary value on all of the positive contributions they make to the world.

As a result, the true cost of deforestation and forest degradation is not taken into account when policy decisions are made on land use, such as decisions to clear forest land to use for commercial agriculture.

The importance of financing was another important element of the session: sufficient funding is an essential element in ensuring effective action to halt deforestation and forest degradation, promote greater sustainable forest management and increase the world’s forest area: despite the central role forests play in protecting the environment, only 2 per cent of funds available for climate change mitigation are available for efforts to reduce deforestation.

Source: United Nations via Scoop


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almost finally ... SpaceX goes for big launch

On a completely different subject, if you're a technology buff this may interest you as the cargo is internet-providing satellites. SpaceX launched a rocket last week carrying 60 Starlink satellites last week as part of a global high-speed internet gambit.

Elon Musk’s rocket company, SpaceX, is preparing to rocket the first 60 of nearly 12,000 internet-providing satellites into orbit, and they made the launch available to the public to watch live. Over the weekend, Musk shared an image of the spacecraft packed inside the nosecone of a Falcon 9 rocket.

SpaceX is footing the bill for the launch, which Musk says is experimental in nature. Weighing in at nearly 19 tons, the Starlink payload represents the heaviest payload the company has ever attempted to launch.

Photo: A fleet of 60 Starlink internet-providing satellites stuffed into the nosecone of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

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Jobs



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... and finally .. . time for a laugh

Dad and Dave and old Bert have come forward to the modern day but they’re still the same characters they always were.

They head off to Sydney for a few days and, for the heck of it, and because Mum isn’t there to stop them, book themselves into a suite on the 90th floor of the biggest, poshest hotel in town. On their first night, returning to the hotel, they learn that the lifts are all inoperable and the only way to their room is to climb 90 flights of stairs. A bit of a problem this, because Dave’s sprained an ankle and the other two have to help him.

As they get to the door at the bottom of the stairs, Dad says, to help them along, he’ll tell political stories until they’re up to the 30th floor. From there to the 60th floor, old Bert can tell country stories and then, for the last 30 floors, Dave can tell ‘good news, bad news’ stories.

Struggling upstairs with the injured Dave goes pretty well because Dad as always spins a good yarn and keeps them amused. They’re getting a bit tired by the 60th floor but old Bert’s yarns have kept them going all right.

Now it’s Dave’s turn but he stops, turning to the others. He says, “Better tell you my first ‘good news, bad news’ yarn, I s’pose.” They tell him to spit it out.

“Well, the good news is I know where the key to our suite is”.

“Okay,” Dad and old Bert chorus, “what’s the bad news?”

“It’s in the glovebox of the car down in the basement”.

----------------------------

One Sunday morning, the pastor noticed little Alex standing in the foyer of the church staring up at a large plaque. It was covered with names and small American flags mounted on either side of it. The six-year old had been staring at the plaque for some time, so the pastor walked up, stood beside the little boy, and said quietly, 'Good morning Alex.'

'Good morning Pastor,' he replied, still focused on the plaque. 'Pastor, what is this? '

The pastor said, 'Well son, it's a memorial to all the young men and women who died in the service.'

Soberly, they just stood together, staring at the large plaque. Finally, little Alex's voice, barely audible and trembling with fear asked.

'Which service, the 8:00 or the 10:30 ?’



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

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John Stulen
Editor
Innovatek Limited
PO Box 1230
Rotorua, New Zealand
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Web: www.woodweek.com

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