WoodWeek – 31 October 2018

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Greetings from your enthusiastic WoodWeek team. Several industries in the Bay of Plenty, including wood processing, are likely to benefit from the Provincial Growth Fund’s investment of $2 million for the first stage of the Kawerau Putauaki Industrial development. The project is the result of more than a decade of planning and is expected to create at least 150 jobs.

Rotorua-based Red Stag Timber is about to embark on several building projects to showcase the potential of timber as a construction material in large-scale building projects. The newly developed building projects come ahead of plans to build a $35 million cross laminated timber (CLT) manufacturing plant set to be operational in 2019.

While planting more trees is usually the focus of our news, there is also a lot of work going on to remove ones we don't want. Millions of hectares of productive and precious land have been cleared of New Zealand’s number one weed, wilding conifers, but more work is needed, according to our Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor.

“Wilding conifers are a seriously established pest in New Zealand and out-compete native plants and wildlife for light and water, infest farmland and native ecosystems and spoil the unique character of iconic natural landscapes such as the high country,” the Minister says.

Meanwhile, across many of the primary industries, technology is really transforming the sector. Solving rural producers’ challenges and improving productivity through technology are key themes at MobileTECH 2019 coming in April. Now in its 7th year, MobileTECH brings together the agritech leaders, tech developers, industry corporates and early adopters to Rotorua.

“New Zealand’s agritech sector is quickly expanding and the technology is world-class,” says Ken Wilson, programme manager for MobileTECH 2019. “While we have seen some great advances in sensors and robotics, it’s the software that’s making big strides.” Registrations are open now at www.mobiletech.events.

Finally, workplace safety is in the spotlight again, as work-related serious non-fatal injury rates rose in 2017 after four years of declining rates. The rate was up from 14.3 injuries per 100,000 full-time employees (FTEs) in 2016 to 16.9 in 2017. The increase was driven by a rise in serious non-fatal injuries in the construction sector.

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Kawerau: Set for growth funding

The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) will invest $2 million for the crucial first stage of a project that will create jobs, attract new businesses to Kawerau and help boost the productivity potential of the wider Bay of Plenty region, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has announced last Friday.

This announcement is the first stage of the Kawerau Putauaki Industrial development and will involve the construction of a right-hand turn bay off State Highway 34 and forms part of a multi-phase project to develop infrastructure around the development.

“Kawerau has always been an industry-based town and upgrading the transport and associated infrastructure will help attract new businesses and create the right environment for existing companies to invest and expand in the region,” Shane Jones said.

“The project is the result of more than a decade of planning work from Putauaki Trust, council and businesses, and is expected to create at least 150 jobs in Kawerau. It also has the potential to boost the economy of the entire Eastern Bay of Plenty region.

“Future phases of the project include building additional road and rail infrastructure around the industrial subdivision and constructing the Kawerau container terminal that will service the whole Eastern Bay of Plenty.

“The Kawerau Putauaki Industrial Development is a good example of Government partnering with Maori, business and the community to seize unique opportunities for economic growth in the Eastern Bay of Plenty.

“It is positive to see Putauaki Trust innovatively leveraging their assets to get improved returns for their people and the wider community and I look forward to seeing this project progress,” Shane Jones said.

Applications for the other phases of the project are likely to be submitted once the final design and costings have been completed and will be individually assessed against the Provincial Growth Fund’s criteria.

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Tackling invasive wilding pines

Millions of hectares of productive and precious land have been cleared of New Zealand’s number one weed, wilding conifers, but more work is needed, Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor said.

Mr O’Connor was speaking at the New Zealand Wilding Conifer Group annual conference at Omarama last week, before a helicopter tour over the Mackenzie Basin.

“Wilding conifers are a seriously established pest in New Zealand and out-compete native plants and wildlife for light and water, infest farmland and native ecosystems and spoil the unique character of iconic natural landscapes such as the high country,” Damien O’Connor said.

“Hardy, prolific and carried by wind, wilding conifers cover 5 per cent of our landscape and without intervention would have covered an estimated 20 per cent by 2035.

“The National Wilding Conifer Control Programme has now treated half a million hectares of land and searched a further million hectares for outliers, with 40,000 hectares of dense and moderate infestation removed – meaning control work has been completed on over a quarter of affected land.

“Priority areas will now be targeted across another 150,000 hectares in Canterbury, Otago, Southland, Marlborough and the Central North Island.

“We know the cost of control operations increases if wildings are left to spread so early intervention is the best option. For example, treating light infestations can cost as little as $20 a hectare and dense infestations up to $2000 a hectare.

“Our success to date is due largely to collaboration. Everyone from central and local government through to landowners, farmers, iwi and community trusts have got stuck in together to control the spread of these invasive trees,” Damien O’Connor said.

To date, the Government has spent $12.4 million on wilding conifer control, with $5.8 million from other parties. By 2030 the programme aims to have contained or eradicated all wilding conifers.

The National Wilding Conifer Control Programme:

The programme is led by the Ministry for Primary Industries and is supported by the Department of Conservation, Land Information New Zealand, NZ Defence Force, NZ Transport Agency, local government, forestry and farming industries, iwi groups, landowners, researchers and community organisations.

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Red Stag to showcase CLT

Rotorua-based timber products company Red Stag is about to embark on several building projects to showcase the potential of timber as a construction material in large-scale building projects.

Red Stag is New Zealand's largest sawmiller, employing 300 people with annual turnover of $220 million.

The building projects come ahead of plans to build a $35 million Cross-Laminated- Timber plant near its Whakarewarewa plant at Rotorua to be operating in 2019 and producing laminated panels up to 16.5m in length and 4.9m wide.

The first project will be five-level apartments at Clearwater Resort on the northern outskirts of Christchurch using cross laminated timber, and other panel products.

The Ministry of Primary Industry through its Primary Growth Partnership is covering about 8 per cent of the $20m Clearwater project. After completion of the Clearwater project there will be two in Auckland - a retail and office complex, and a hotel.

The Government was already building three-story timber structures in Auckland as part of Housing New Zealand projects, managing director of Red Stag wood solutions, Jason Cordes, said.

Red Stag is also planning to expand its truss and frame operation located in Hamilton Airport's industrial park which produces frames and trusses, floor cassettes and wall panels - designs which bring floor and wall construction together in components to speed up construction.

Cordes, said the New Zealand industry was on the verge of providing large scale laminated timber construction. The opportunities offered in large-scale timber construction had already been demonstrated overseas, he said.

"In Christchurch we will showcase good architecture, good engineering and the best in acoustic properties and fire-resistance. We will make the whole process transparent so everyone can see how it is done and how economically viable timber can be."

According to Cordes, timber construction has advantages over concrete and steel, including speed of construction, ease of transport, relative lightness, and earthquake and fire resilience. There was also evidence from psychological and physiological research concluding people found it more enjoyable to work and live in timber structures.

"This sort of construction is already heavily used in Europe."

At 10 stories, the Lendlease Group's 32 metre Forte Building in Melbourne was the first timber high-rise apartment structure in the Southern Hemisphere. In Canada and the UK engineers were using laminated timber in high-rise buildings of more than 10 stories and buildings of more than 30 stories are on the drawing board.

In geologically shaky nations around the Pacific Rim, timber buildings resist the shock of earthquakes better than concrete and steel - as demonstrated by the former IRD building in Wellington which, although being near-new, was so damaged by the 2016 earthquakes it had to be demolished.

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Log Export Statistics Update

Log export market graphics - This week we've got our monthly update (early!) from the good folks at Champion Freight.

The chart shows total log export values to China to the end of September are up 28 percent year-on-year contributing to overall log exports growing 27 percent across all markets.

To the end of September, China shipments month-on-month are down 8 percent and overall log exports up 22 percent.

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Technology transforming the primary sector

Solving rural producers’ challenges and improving productivity through technology will be key themes at next year’s MobileTECH 2019. Now in its 7th year, MobileTECH will, once again, bring together the agritech leaders, tech developers, industry corporates and early adopters to Rotoura.

“New Zealand’s agritech sector is quickly expanding and the technology is world- class,” said Ken Wilson, programme manager for MobileTECH 2019. “While we have seen some great advances in sensors and robotics, it’s the software that’s making big strides.”

A recent IDC study, commissioned by Microsoft, showed that digital products and services will make up 55% of New Zealand’s GDP by 2021. Over this time, digital transformation will be providing better margins for companies and its estimated will have added over NZ$10 billion to NZ’s national GDP.

What’s striking is the speed and widespread impact of change, forcing many traditional companies to evolve with it. Digital technologies leading this charge include innovations like mobility, cloud computing, Internet of Things and artificial intelligence.

This comes off the back of a report last year by the Massey Business School, which examined the impact of cloud computing and other disruptive technologies on the agricultural sector. After interviewing technologists and agri-food producers, there was a wide gap in how these two groups perceived the industry into the future.

Lead researcher, Professor Stephen Kelly, was quoted as saying, “what the agrifood sector is currently doing is brilliant, they are agile, very accepting of new technology and continually looking for better ways of doing things. But most aren’t visualising what the industry will look like in 10 years time.”

This could have major implications for the sector.

Globally, there are 2.5 quintillion bytes of data created every day. Over 90% of the world's data has been created within the last two years. Technologies like the Internet of Things will dramatically increase these numbers. The problem is no longer about how to collect data - its how to get the right answers at the right time for the right purpose.

Our farms and worksites are becoming more connected than ever and we are rapidly accumulating data. Remote sensors are in our fields, GPS units track our vehicles, UAVs and satellites provide imagery data and electronic tagging is optimising distribution. The primary sector now has more data points than can be comprehended. The demand is now not just technology, but how to get the right analysis, recommendations and application.

“Tech developers see software advances and hands-on collaboration with local producers as the key ingredients going forward,” said Mr Wilson. “With the central theme for MobileTECH 2019 being ‘data with purpose’, we will be highlighting a number of case studies where new tools are created alongside the farmer, grower, orchardist or forestry managers.”

The MobileTECH 2019 programme will be out in November, with the event running on 3-4 April 2019 in Rotorua, New Zealand. Further details can be found on the event website, www.mobiletech.events.

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Trend: Increase in serious work injuries

Work-related serious non-fatal injury rates rose in 2017 after four years of declining rates, according to a report just released by Statistics New Zealand.

The rate was up from 14.3 injuries per 100,000 full-time employees (FTEs) in 2016 to 16.9 in 2017, higher than the government’s 2020 target (14.3 injuries per 100,000 FTEs).

“This increase was largely driven by a rise in serious non-fatal injuries in the construction sector, which had the highest number of injuries in the history of this release,” government injury information manager James Clarke said.

The manufacturing, and transport, postal, and warehousing sectors also significantly contributed to the increase.

“Serious non-fatal injuries are those in which a patient admitted to hospital is determined to have a probability of death of 6.9 percent or more. Information about these injuries provides insight into injury risks for New Zealanders, and a broader view than just looking at fatalities,” Mr Clarke said.

In 2012, the previous Government set a target to reduce work-related deaths and injuries by at least 25 percent by 2020, with an interim target of a 10 percent reduction by 2016.

Progress is measured against baselines using these indicators:
• age-standardised rate of work-related fatal injuries
• age-standardised rate of work-related serious non-fatal injuries
• rate of work-related injuries resulting in more than a week away from work.

Fatalities are reported as a three-year moving average. Provisional data showed that for 2015–17, the average annual rate of work-related fatal injuries remained at 2.1 fatalities per 100,000 FTEs.

The latest data showed that the rate has been below the Government’s 2018–20 target of 2.5 injuries per 100,000 FTEs since 2012–14.

Time away from work - There has been little change since 2014 in the rate of work-related injuries that resulted in more than a week away from work. This rate has been above the baseline (8.4 injuries per 1,000 FTEs) since 2014.

Statistics New Zealand acknowledges the contribution of the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment and WorkSafe New Zealand in developing the targets in this release.

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Wood vital to meeting emissions target

The utilisation of woody biomass as a fuel source for industrial processing will be vital to meeting New Zealand’s emissions targets, according to a local energy expert. Dr Martin Atkins, Senior Research Fellow with Waikato University’s Energy Research Group, has advised some of New Zealand’s most iconic companies on their path towards lower emissions, from dairy giant, Fonterra, to pulp and paper processor, Oji.

The latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, published earlier this month, has called for ‘rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society”. It states that global net human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide would need to fall by about 45 % from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching ‘net zero’ around 2050.

Dr Atkins highlighted this report’s finding that emissions reduction cannot be met with efficiency gains alone and he says this means that “fuel-switching options are going to be an important part of emissions reduction so biomass, as a zero emissions source for process heat, is going to have a key role in that transition.”

In New Zealand industrial emissions from heat and industrial processes account for around 15% of New Zealand’s gross greenhouse gases. Dr Atkins believes in the next few years we will see more movement towards large companies fuelling their process plants with biomass.

He identified Fonterra’s Brightwater dairy factory’s recent conversion to co-fire with biomass as the type of trial which will build confidence, and provide learnings which can be applied widely. He sees innovators, like Fonterra, leading a change in industry’s perception around fuel options.

Dr Atkins says it is important to understand an industrial site’s demand profile in deciding which fuel is most cost-effective. For example in meat processing, where temperatures under 100°C are required, renewable electricity, enhanced by modern heat pump technology is an option.

Where processes have higher heat demands, such as in the production of steam, biomass will be the most cost-effective option and Dr Atkins sees it having a key role to play in the future, if barriers like supply concern perceptions were dealt with.

Azwood Energy General Manager, Brook Brewerton, said supply was not the current constraint, but demand was.

“Azwood Energy has been supplying energy for 40 years, and in that time not once have any of our commercial clients run out of energy. Supply is scalable, and the renewable resource is growing on trees and literally rotting on the ground. The IP we hold is replicable across New Zealand.”

Brewerton said as industry and large energy users look to implement a low- emission economy and transition to renewable energy, wood is the obvious choice.

“Azwood are realistic about the need for all technologies to help us reach ‘net zero’ emissions while still making economic sense,” said Brewerton.

“Wood is clearly the best form of carbon neutral, renewable energy for high temperature process heat. However, wood energy in the form of wood pellets and wood chip are also very competitive for low temperature space heating, and many schools, small hospitals and processing facilities are enjoying the lifecycle benefits of wood energy today.”

Source: Azwood Energy

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Ngai Tahu: Forestland conversions continue

Ngai Tahu Farming will milk 14,000 dairy cows just north of Christchurch, once the remainder of Eyrewell Forest is felled.

However, the South Island iwi-owned business has abandoned plans to convert some of Balmoral Forest in North Canterbury to dairy, after failing to get the required nutrient and water consents, instead focusing on beef grazing and possibly orchards.

Ngai Tahu Farming (NTF) manages more than 100,000 hectares of farm and forestry land in the South Island. Its asset value had lifted from $110 million in 2010 to $440m now as properties were developed.

Chief executive Andrew Priest said its 6,757 ha Te Whenua Hou dairy development, north of the Waimakariri River, would continue as trees were cleared from Eyrewell Forest.

It had eight dairy farms, six dairy support and six grazing, but planned to expand this to 14 dairy farms and six dairy support, carrying a total of 14,000 cows.

Its 9,400 ha Balmoral Forest, near Culverden, was being converted to beef grazing and possibly horticulture, in a longer term development. It had 1,500 ha under centre pivot irrigation and had consents for enough water to extend this to 3,000 ha.

The development was new, with a pilot farm started in 2016 and beef farms in 2017. In a trial orchard started this year, it was testing the suitability of four apple varieties, apricots, peaches, almonds, olives and truffle-infused oaks for a potential horticultural venture.

NTF also manages three high country stations, Routeburn, Greenstone and Elfin Bay, totalling 35,500 ha near the head of Lake Wakatipu, as well as 49,000 ha of West Coast forest (formerly Timberlands).

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Scion host trees in the landscape meeting

International forestry experts to gather in Rotorua - Forestry experts from all over the world will arrive in Rotorua this week to meet with New Zealand's forestry stakeholders.

The Tree Plantations in the Landscape (TPL) event will focus on the role of tree plantations in the New Zealand economy and the resulting social and environmental impacts, building on issues raised from earlier TPL events in Brazil and Chile.

Participants will discuss new pathways to advance Maori forestry, sustainably increase forest production, and the use of planted forests as a means to mitigate climate change.

Discussions will also take place around the Government's billion tree planting initiative and optimising land use to maximise production and environmental benefits.

Event organiser, Scion principal scientist and Toi Ohomai's Sustainable Forestry chairman Dr Tim Payn, said forestry had a bright future in New Zealand but there were challenges and opportunities to be faced so the industry could reach its full potential.

"There are many stakeholders in the planted forest industry in New Zealand, and many opportunities to work together to realise the opportunities – this event is a great opportunity to learn from international planted forest experts and share our knowledge with them," he said.

At the national level the field dialogue will help strengthen a stakeholder network of key leaders from government, Maori, the forest sector, certification bodies, and the public to support policy initiatives around tree plantations in the landscape.

Source: The Country

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Buy and Sell

... and finally, some midweek humour ...

Okay, it's only Wednesday already - but maybe this will boost your productivity - a joke or two ... !

In one USA county, an epidemic of roaming dogs became so widespread the dog patrol folks had to enlist the support of local police to help reign in the problem. During a state-wide drive to round up all unlicensed dogs, a patrolman signalled a car to pull over to the curb.

When the driver asked why he had been stopped, the officer pointed to the big dog sitting on the seat beside him.

"Does your dog have a license?" he asked.

"Oh, no," the man said, "He doesn't need one; I always do the driving."


"Circulation of newspapers has fallen to all-time lows. They say newspapers are becoming obsolete. I'll tell you how bad it's gotten. Today I saw a homeless guy sleeping on a park bench with an iPad on his face." - Jay Leno


I went busking with a pencil and a sketchpad the other day.
Didn't earn any money, but I did manage to draw a crowd.

I've just been diagnosed as being colour blind by my doctor.
I can't believe it ... it just came right out of the green.

I got in a fight with a tough and angry amputee the other day.
"What makes you think you can beat me?” he said.
"I'm armed.”

My art teacher told me to sketch a picture of a horse and buggy.
When I was finished, the teacher noticed my horse, but asked where the buggy was.
"Oh," I said, "the horse will draw that."

Life advice: Always borrow money from a pessimist - they don't expect it back.

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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