WoodWeek – 10 July 2019

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Greetings from your WoodWeek news team. Yesterday, the mainstream media caught up with the news you knew last week about New Zealand log prices tumbling in China. We've limited this week’s commentaries to just a couple. Most of you affected won't need to read the news again; it’s more likely your teams are busy looking for ways to mitigate the damage to your workforces, businesses and reputation.

This week, we have a well-timed opinion piece questioning the lack of a wood first policy to dovetail into our tree-planting strategy. In that vein, yesterday morning on Radio NZ, both Winston Peters and Prue Younger reminded listeners that talk of developing and building a pan-industry value-add strategy for logs to be processed locally before exporting is now well overdue for action. Others, like David Brand of New Forests, suggested this was an overdue market correction likely to be short-lived.

Either way, from conversations at HarvestTECH in late June, the massive woodflows from our forests has been exceeding local trucking port storage capacities for some months at the very least. If you accept the facts from our national business statistics service, that on average 2018 company profits in our industry were 40 percent up on the previous year, perhaps now is an opportune time for a well-earned holiday for some in the supply chain.

Moving on down the road, we have news of a local innovation. This world-first solution from WSP-Opus is at the cutting-edge of innovative sustainability and has proved to be successful in field trials. Using tree resin, a natural by-product of the wood pulping process, their roading engineering folks have come up with a novel way to bind the gravel and keep it in place. The result is a solution that suppresses dust – an issue on gravel roads as it obscures visibility – with waterproofing attributes that reduces the occurrence of potholes and corrugations.

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Log exports: Scale of correction unexpected

Falling log prices may make some woodlots unprofitable - In-market prices for logs in China, New Zealand's largest export market, have fallen in recent weeks and ANZ Bank warns the drop will make the harvest of some woodlots unprofitable.

While some price softening is not unusual at this time of year as construction activity slows in the hot months, "the scale of the correction was unexpected," said ANZ agriculture economist Susan Kilsby. The price of an A-grade log landed in China has fallen from US$130/JAS cubic- metre in early June to approximately US$105/JAS cubic-metre.

"The current price level is difficult to quantify as the market has been moving rapidly downwards and in this environment, buyers are unwilling to commit to pricing," she adds.

While some exporters are optimistic the bottom may have been reached "this seems unlikely given the quantity of logs sitting on wharves in China is expected to increase," Kilsby says.

A number of ships are sitting on the water destined for China without letters of credit. Sales are typically negotiated on a cost and freight basis where the buyer is responsible for the freight costs. This means for a portion of the logs on the water, the sales process has not been completed, she says.

Logs and timber products are the country's third-largest export after dairy products and meat and were worth almost $5.47 billion in the year ended May, according to Stats NZ data. That was 11 percent more than a year earlier.

A lift in the supply of logs and lumber into China relative to current demand is the main reason log prices have corrected, Kilsby says.

The quantity of logs that have been imported into China in recent months is more than normal. New Zealand has steadily increased its share of the China log market in recent years to become the largest supplier of logs to China.

New Zealand's exports this year to date have lifted by 22 percent. An extra 1.35 million cubic- metres of logs were exported from New Zealand during the first five months of 2019 - equivalent to about one additional month of supply.

The quantity of logs sitting on wharves in China has lifted to about twice the normal level. While that is not unusual for this time of year, Kilsby says the figure is likely to grow due to the volume of logs currently on the water.

She says harvesting activity is slowing in New Zealand as a result of the lower returns. Some harvesting crews have been laid off while others are having volume restrictions placed on them.

The drop in harvesting is expected to primarily occur in the smaller woodlots due to the one-off nature of this revenue. The larger forest owners are more likely to continue harvesting as lower returns from the current spot market will be offset in some cases by contracts already in place, and will be more readily absorbed due to receiving continuous revenue from harvesting.

She says, however, any slowing of felling activity will help the oversupply situation and therefore will assist the China market to recover, or at the least reduce further price falls.

A substantial improvement in prices is not likely to occur in the short-term and it may take six months for a marked lift in price, as existing stocks need to be worked through and buyer confidence needs to rebuild.

Kilsby also says diverting a portion of the logs destined for China to other markets would also be beneficial. The quantity of raw logs exported to markets other than China has fallen away in recent years. This is primarily due to these markets not being able to match the prices being offered by Chinese buyers.

"The drop in pricing may now help other markets be more competitive. But it will still be a challenge to divert a significant volume of logs into other markets given that China currently accounts for approximately 80 percent of all the logs exported from New Zealand," she says.

More (from RNZ)>>

Or another view (also RNZ) >>

Source: BusinessDesk, Scoop and RNZ

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Log export update for May

Remember the good ol' day back in May when log exports to China were up again, against the trend for all other key Asian log markets that were flat or down. The chart shows total log export values to China year-on-year to the end of May were up 19 percent contributing to overall log exports growing 16 percent across all markets. Thanks to Champion Freight for this week’s update.

Month-on-month to the end of May, shipment values to China were up 28 percent and overall log export market values up 14 percent.

Data from China Customs shows Russian log exports to China dropped in the first 5 months of 2019. Volumes were down by over 26% to 3.6 million m3.

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Tree plantings needs Wood First policy

OPINION: Billion Trees will fail without Wood First policy

(Marty Verry is CEO of Red Stag group, which operates the Southern Hemisphere’s largest sawmill and has investments in over 3,000 ha of forestry, a pre-fabrication plant and property developments.)

Would you invest $481 million in growing a product on the assumption that the price and demand for it in China in 28 years will be the same as it is now? Of course not. But you are. We all are through the Billion Trees programme.

China takes seventy-five percent of New Zealand’s logs. You could say we have all our logs in one basket. So the question nobody has asked is, will the demand for our trees be there in twenty-eight years and at what price?

Tens of thousands of hectares of farmland has been snapped up by investors, giddy with grants from the $481 million Provincial Growth Fund allocation to the Billion Trees programme. They have pushed land prices up forty-five percent according to the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand.

Farming communities are up in arms at the rapid change, and righty so in my view. No so much because trees are bad (they are great), but because many of these forests could become investment failures, never to be harvested, and a fire and forest disease risk for decades. A white elephant in every rural road.

So why the doomsday scenario, and what can be done about it? -Firstly, a reality check on relying on China long term for our billion trees. Despite MPI targeting having two-thirds of its 50,000 hectares extra planting annually going into natives, the Billion Tree cabinet paper acknowledges most will be in plantation crops requiring harvesting and re-planting. This seems right given MPI’s own CO2 sequestration look-up tables show natives only absorb one tonne CO2 per hectare annually after fifty years. Hardly a long-term solution to climate change, and certainly not a great return for investors.

What about manuka honey? Manuka is a nursery crop for the larger natives that will eventually take over. So no long term putea for the mokopuna, as the forestry minister might describe the lack of money for the grandkids.

No, the majority of the billion trees will be radiata pine, and radiata pine needs harvesting and re-planting to make the feasibility models work and keep forests healthy. That relies on demand and pricing that covers the cost of land, planting, silviculture, harvesting and transporting the logs.

The problem arises because we are not the only country to work out trees sequester CO2, and launch a billion tree policy. There are a plethora of them around the world. India has planted a billion trees. So has Ethiopia. Pakistan has a ‘Billion Tree Tsunami’ programme underway. A UN billion tree campaign was so successful it was upgraded to a Trillion Tree programme. Even Australia has a billion tree policy.

So, will China need our one billion trees? Ten years ago it temporarily stopped harvesting to replenish its own forest estate. New Zealand’s supply shot up to forty-three percent of China’s log imports. However, it recently announced plans to increase its own forestry estate by 11 billion cubic meters by 2050. China could be producing enough of its own wood products to replace log imports from New Zealand six times over.

This is before one factors in the huge increase in supply targeting China from the rest of world and New Zealand’s own increased production, and the fact that the demand now from China is largely driven by the huge urbanisation programme underway there which will be largely complete by the time our billion trees mature.

This supply-demand imbalance is already playing out in China. Log prices there have crashed by fifteen percent in the last month on the back of huge volumes of cheap wood from Russia and Europe being back-loaded cheaply on trains that would otherwise return empty to China. The Silk Road project will make it easier still. At wharf gate returns are reportedly off up to $29/tonne locally, with logging crews reportedly being laid off as foresters can’t justify harvesting.

This is the market reality for our Billion Trees unless New Zealand can widen its markets and demand for wood products. Wood dominates in lower-rise housing in most countries, so the big opportunity is in the market for mid-rise buildings. New mass timber products such as cross laminated timber (CLT) and glulam are the enablers here.

Governments around the world have recognised the key leadership role they can take in this area, given they are typically the largest procurers of buildings in any country. Many have adopted ‘wood first’ policies for their own building procurement.

In its 2017 Election Manifesto, the Labour Party promised if elected that it would require that “all government-funded project proposals for new buildings up to four storeys high shall require a build-in-wood option at the initial concept / request-for-proposals stage. … Due to advances in engineering and wood processing technologies, we will increase the four story requirement to 10 stories.”

Research conducted for this policy established it could lead to a doubling of demand for structural timber in New Zealand.

Without it, planting one billion trees targeting China risks almost certain failure - either for the government achieving its policy goal, or ultimately for the investors holding white elephant forests.

The Wood First policy has strong broader rationale for adoption, including regional jobs and manufacturing, faster build times, cheaper, safer, less polluting construction, and the displacement of mainly imported steel and concrete which each account for around five percent of climate change emissions.

The folly of having all our logs in the China basket is becoming apparent. To date, the government has failed to implement its promised Wood First policy. What credibility does New Zealand have in international climate change accords if it fails to implement its domestic pledges?

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Shane Jones: More putea for East Coast

PGF provides $27.1m funding boost for Tairawhiti - More than 50 new jobs and a multimillion-dollar medical research lab, with potentially global significance, are heading to Gisborne, with a $27.1m funding boost from Shane Jones’ Provincial Growth Fund.

The Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones today confirmed a further investment to support medical research, wood processing and social enterprise to further enhance Tairawhiti’s economic potential, in addition to the $152 million already committed to the region from the PGF.

“The PGF is making a major investment in wood processing, the biggest growth opportunity in Gisborne. We’ll also invest in a local social enterprise so it can build on its current success, and we’re backing the establishment of a medical research lab which could create benefits globally.”

Overall, Mr Jones confirmed $19.5m for Eastland Community Trust’s Wood Cluster Centre of Excellence, $6m for the Matai Medical Research Institute, and $2m for Aotearoa Social Enterprise Trust, which places young people into paid work.

Mayor Meng Foon, who is also chairman of ASET said the PGF continued to be “great for Tairawhiti”.

More >>

Source: Gisborne Herald

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Wood derivative improves unsealed roads

Rugged, remote and astonishingly beautiful, Te Urewera is the largest wilderness region in the North Island, a primeval forest prized for its ecological systems, biodiversity and cultural heritage.

The kaitiaki (guardians) of Te Urewera are Tuhoe, said to be descended from Te Mauna (the Mountain) and Hine-pukohu-rani (the Mist Maiden). Tuhoe – the Children of the Mist – are renowned for their fierce protection of the land that holds such a special place in their hearts.

This love for the land has resulted in Tuhoe doing things differently, rekindling traditional knowledge alongside modern research and insights.

In 2016 the Tuhoe Trust commissioned WSP Opus Research to investigate potential options for the resurfacing and maintenance of the section of State Highway 38, which is largely unsealed as it runs through Te Urewera.

The road is essential for maintaining connectivity and services to an isolated rural community and for the development of the tourism industry in Te Urewera. Eschewing traditional construction methods, the Tuhoe Trust challenged WSP Opus to innovate an environmentally- friendly and sustainable approach in keeping with the values of their people.

“We wish to take responsibility for all things we are consciously putting into and taking out of the whenua. Bitumen is not of Te Urewera in much the same way as cyanide or choleciferol poisons typically used in pest control are not of Te Urewera. In our guardianship role, we need to take steps to ensure that we are giving Te Urewera the best chance at balancing her needs for life within Te Urewera.” says Tamati Kruger, chairman of Te Urewera Board.

Jeremy Wu, Research Manager Transport, says a solution is needed to exemplify the principles of sustainable co-existence between people and the land. Importantly it couldn’t detract from the unique, pristine, character of much of the region, which are the home lands of the Tuhoe people, something that’s seen as a major drawcard for visitors.

The world-first solution is at the cutting-edge of innovative sustainability and has proved to be successful in field trials. It uses a tree resin, a natural by-product of the wood pulping process used in pulp and paper manufacturing, which is used in a novel way to bind the gravel and keep it in place.

The result is a solution that suppresses dust – an issue on gravel roads as it obscures visibility – with waterproofing attributes that reduces the occurrence of potholes and corrugations.

Under the bonnet of a field trial - The WSP Opus project team and Tuhoe selected two trial sites in Te Urewera, each offering different conditions to test the coating over a 12 month period.

The Mangapae section is 250m long between the Mangapae Stream Bridge and Papueru. Around 200 vehicles per day use this stretch, which was chosen as the flat grade allows for higher speeds, ideal for testing dust suppression.

The second site at Rosie Bay, Lake Waikaremoana has steep grades with tight curves, used by around 150 vehicles a day. Although vehicles are travelling at a lower speed, there is increased stress on the surface, a key factor in the development of potholes and corrugations.

“We were keen to involve our Tribal Communities in the planning and leadership challenges of their roading infrastructure, something traditionally left to territorial authorities to manage and for community members to complain about. This trial changes that dynamic, something that the District Councils are backing also” says Kirsti Luke, Chief Executive, Tuhoe Trust.

Test pits were dug on each site to identify and characterise the existing pavement structure and for material samples for the stabilisation design. Materials testing and stabilisation design was carried out by WSP Opus and Hiway Stabilizers at WSP Opus’ Auckland laboratory. Tests included classification of the pavement structure, dry and wet compaction and resistance to loads.

Both trial sites were constructed in January 2018 by Hiway Stabilizers and, on completion the sites underwent a monthly visual assessment.

Source: WSP Opus

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New forwarders from John Deere

Agile and versatile, the new John Deere 910G and 1010G forwarders provide loggers with a reliable solution designed with their needs in mind. Equipped with ultra-comfortable cabs and available with a variety of boom, load space, axle and cabin options, the 910G and 1010G machines can be customized for different worksites or operational needs.

“With the addition of the new 910G and 1010G Forwarders, we are rounding out our forwarder product line to offer a solution for every logging operation,” said Niko Solopuro, product marketing manager WCTL Forwarders and Automation. “Compact in size, these versatile machines deliver power and productivity, even in the most demanding conditions. When in the woods, it is critical to have reliable equipment that ensures operators can efficiently finish jobs, no matter what they may face.”

Available in a six-wheeled or eight-wheeled configuration, the 910G and 1010G models are ideal for early-to-late thinning operations and smaller end final felling applications. Both machines feature an improved design, including a shorter frame in front of the engine to reduce overhang, making operation easier in challenging terrain. Balanced bogie axles, rigid front axles on the six- wheel model, and an unbalanced front bogie axle option offer increased durability. Additionally, the 1010G is designed for improved, terrain-friendly operation and performance in soft soil, and available with a low-ground pressure rear bogie axle option. The models can be equipped with one of two large load space options, narrow and wide, and the headboard offers better visibility to the load area.

The 910G and 1010G models are available with a fixed or rotating and leveling cab. The rotating and leveling cabin helps the operator maintain the correct working posture to prevent stress on the back and shoulder areas, even on uneven terrain, and reduces vibration during operation. A cab rotation of 290 degrees provides a better view of the boom and grapple, while large windows allow for virtually unrestricted all-around visibility. Equipped with comfortable ergonomic armrests, a fully adjustable air-cushioned seat and automated climate-control system, the cab reduces operator fatigue and increases productivity throughout the day.

All booms come standard with precise boom control, and the CF5 boom is available with optional Intelligent Boom Control (IBC). The IBC feature simplifies boom operation, automatically controlling the lift, slew and the extension of the boom based on the location of grapple, increasing accuracy, productivity, and, ultimately, the number of loads per each work shift. With IBC, the operator no longer needs to control each independent boom joint movement separately, instead controlling the boom tip directly.

Both models are designed to enhance drivability and productivity, featuring a transmission with high tractive force and Adaptive Driveline Control (ADC). A first in the forestry industry, ADC improves drivability and productivity by allowing the operator can select the desired RPM setting (Eco, Normal, Power) for the operating conditions. Once selected, the system automatically adjusts the engine’s RPMs to correspond with the engine load. In high-load situations, driveline control ensures that the diesel engine runs smoothly and uses the available maximum tractive force efficiently.

The 910G and 1010G models feature the TimberMatic™ control system, which includes a configurable user interface, cruise control and inclination display. MECA control modules, simple CAN busses and a streamlined electrical system improve the efficiency of machine functions. Additionally, the machines are compatible with the TimberMatic Maps and TimberManager technology offerings, which provides a streamlined software solution that enhances machine connectivity and communication. An extension of the control system, the TimberMatic Maps solution utilizes a mobile network to share real-time product information between machines, such as harvester and forwarder, as well as with the managers in the office. This data can be accessed using the TimberManager web-based solution, which allows the managers to follow progress of the work site, offering total visibility to the operation from the land harvest to the machines at work.

To learn more about the 910G and 1010G Forwarders, as well as the rest of the John Deere forwarder line, visit your local John Deere Forestry dealer or www.deere.com/forwarders.

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Book launch: When Forestry Was Fun

Rotorua’s 95-year-old Jim Spiers has recently published his book, When Forestry was Fun. The Evolution of a forest engineer. Jim was on hand at last month’s HarvestTECH 2019 event to give a quick and lively run down of his time in the forestry and logging industries – as well as catching up with many old friends and acquaintances who were at the country’s major logging event.

The book (incredibly good buying at just NZ$25 - no GST applies) combines a good yarn with Jim’s wealth of knowledge and experience to record developments in forestry and logging, from the early 1940s to the mid-1980s.

His personal story traces developments from horse logging in the Tapanui District of West Otago in 1941, to the post-WWII focus on measurement and management of indigenous forestry. Then, with three university degrees related to forestry management behind him, he ran Whirinaki Forest in the Urewera before taking over management of New Zealand’s largest exotic forest at Kaingaroa. He held this position for nine years.

Appointed as inaugural director of the newly formed Logging Industry Research Association (LIRA) Jim remained in this role for a further nine years before retiring in 1984. Limited copies are still available and will be sold on a first come – first served basis.

To secure your copy, please complete and return the order form attached here.

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Call for tougher fire prevention rules

A forest company that lost thousands of pine trees in the Tasman wildfires wants tougher rules around fire prevention to include the wider public.

The fire started in Pigeon Valley in the Nelson region on 5 February by a tractor tilling a dry field. It is thought that farm machinery sparked against a stone, sparking the blaze which grew to become the country's largest since 1955.

It raced across 2300 hectares of rolling, rural land, including 1400 hectares of trees owned by Tasman Pine Forests. Almost two weeks later 55 properties were damaged, with losses reaching $30 million, and more than 3000 people had been evacuated from their homes.

Fire-fighting and evacuation costs reached $50 million.

Tasman Pine Forests boss Steve Chandler was only a month into the job when he looked out of his Spring Grove office window in February this year, and saw the hills ablaze.

"It wasn't a good feeling. I had a bird's-eye view from the office of the fire when it started. The fire conditions at the time were in Code Purple which is 'extreme, extreme' basically, and when I saw the first plume of smoke I knew we had a problem because everything was so tinder dry. I've been through a few fire events but this was one of the bigger ones and I knew we had a big campaign on our hands."

Mr Chandler said the loss of income to Tasman Pine was still unknown, but it was expected to be large.

"We're recovering logs so it's too early to say just how much the loss we did incur, but it will be in the millions."

Mr Chandler said so far they had recovered more than 40,000 tonnes of damaged logs, many of which have been used to make timber veneer, or were turned into firewood.

He has now asked the government during a ministerial visit to the area today to consider if rules on banning the use of machinery during extreme fire-risk seasons should be widened to include all land owners.

"We would like some rules or guidelines that are common for all landowners in times of extreme fire danger, particularly around operating machinery and equipment that has the potential to create sparks."

Mr Chandler said Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) lacked any influence on this at present, outside of the forest industry.

More >>

Source: Radio NZ

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Ngati Hine forestry trainees graduate

Last Friday Forestry Minister Shane Jones marked the celebration of the first graduates of a One Billion Trees training programme - Ngati Hine received $1.89 million to run a Manuka training programme as part of a wider Joint Venture entered into with the Crown.

“We’re celebrating the first tranche of trainees, aged between 15 and 52, to have graduated from this programme. Eighteen trainees have picked up forestry jobs with another two students entering into further forestry training,” Shane Jones said.

“This is an enormous success and one I know Ngati Hine and the wider community will be incredibly proud of.

“The programme provided the opportunity for the recruits to gain skills in the forestry sector and then find employment. We need to see more of these initiatives around the country.

“We want a forestry sector where people can work safely because they are properly trained, and where they can expect to be decently paid.

“A further 20 trainees will go through the programme next year, following this year’s success,” Shane Jones said.

The One Billon Trees Fund provides funding to reduce the barriers to tree planting, including workforce development initiatives to help tackle the projected labour shortage and attract young people to the forestry sector.

“Forestry training programmes also make commercial sense and help foresters who are facing a skills shortage in the sector. The One Billion Trees planting programme is creating opportunities for employees and employers,” Shane Jones said.

“Training programmes like this one are consistent with the Government’s goal of developing a sustainable, domestic forestry workforce and I’m proud to be marking this occasion with the graduates today.”

More >>

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3D innovation mimics wood structures

Mimicking the ultrastructure of wood with 3D-printing for green products – Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, have succeeded in 3D printing with a wood-based ink in a way that mimics the unique 'ultrastructure' of wood. Their research could revolutionise the manufacturing of green products. Through emulating the natural cellular architecture of wood, they now present the ability to create green products derived from trees, with unique properties - everything from clothes, packaging, and furniture to healthcare and personal care products.

The way in which wood grows is controlled by its genetic code, which gives it unique properties in terms of porosity, toughness and torsional strength. But wood has limitations when it comes to processing. Unlike metals and plastics, it cannot be melted and easily reshaped, and instead must be sawn, planed or curved. Processes which do involve conversion, to make products such as paper, card and textiles, destroy the underlying ultrastructure, or architecture of the wood cells. But the new technology now presented allows wood to be, in effect, grown into exactly the shape desired for the final product, through the medium of 3D printing.

By previously converting wood pulp into a nanocellulose gel, researchers at Chalmers had already succeeded in creating a type of ink that could be 3D printed. Now, they present a major progression -successfully interpreting wood's genetic code, and digitising it so that it can instruct a 3D printer.

It means that now, the arrangement of the cellulose nanofibrils can be precisely controlled during the printing process, to actually replicate the desirable ultrastructure of wood. Being able to manage the orientation and shape means that they can capture those useful properties of natural wood.

"This is a breakthrough in manufacturing technology. It allows us to move beyond the limits of nature, to create new sustainable, green products. It means that those products which today are already forest-based can now be 3D printed, in a much shorter time. And the metals and plastics currently used in 3D printing can be replaced with a renewable, sustainable alternative," says Professor Paul Gatenholm, who has led this research through the Wallenberg Wood Science Centre at Chalmers.

A further advance is the addition of hemicellulose, a natural component of plant cells, to the nanocellulose gel. The hemicellulose acts as a glue, giving the cellulose sufficient strength to be useful, in a similar manner to the natural process of lignification, through which cell walls are built.

The new technology opens up a whole new area of possibilities. Wood-based products could now be designed and 'grown' to order - at a vastly reduced timescale compared with natural wood.

Paul Gatenholm's group has already developed a prototype for an innovative packaging concept. They printed out honeycomb structures, with chambers in between the printed walls, and then managed to encapsulate solid particles inside those chambers. Cellulose has excellent oxygen barrier properties, meaning this could be a promising method for creating airtight packaging for foodstuffs or pharmaceuticals for example.

More >>

Source: Chalmers University of Technology

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Aratu: New owner brings new name

New Forests has finalised the acquisition of Hikurangi Forest Farms (HFF), based in Gisborne, New Zealand, on behalf of its investment clients.

As part of the ownership transition HFF has been renamed Aratu Forests Limited. A formal launch of the new rebranded business is planned in Gisborne in September 2019.

The purchase is one of the largest forestry estates in the Gisborne region and includes around 25,000 hectares of radiata pine plantation on 35,000 hectares of freehold, forest rights, and leasehold land. Significant investment has been carried out since the assets were acquired in 1997, building a high yielding and sustainable forest estate that is a significant contributor to the regional economy.

New Forests continues to implement an ownership transition plan incorporating continuity of operations. Aratu Forestry employs 32 staff directly and spends over $40 million annually in the East Coast community. Both companies have undertaken engagement with key stakeholders, including local businesses, Tangata Whenua representatives, councils, and community groups.

“We are encouraged by the positive engagement with stakeholders through the transition period and look forward to further collaboration to support the long- term sustainability of this regionally significant forestry asset,” Matt Crapp, Director Operations for New Forests said.

Aratu Forests Limited will continue to be responsible for the ongoing legal proceedings related to breaches of the Resource Management Act following the Tolaga Bay storm damage in June 2018. “We will be actively pursuing strategies under the relaunched business to ensure that our management practices learn from the outcomes of the Tolaga Bay storm and meet local regulatory and international third-party forest certification standards,” said Crapp.

Mark Rogers, Managing Director for New Forests’ Australia-New Zealand business said, “New Forests and our clients represent long-term, stable, institutional ownership that we believe will be a key enabler for the future sustainable growth of New Zealand’s forest industry.”

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Business confidence out of sync with stats

Looking to some recent business survey data across the New Zealand, it appears what we are doing and what we are saying appear different: From Stats NZ here is provisional data for the 2018 financial year:
> total income for all industries increased $45.8 billion (7.1 percent) to $691.9 billion
> total expenditure for all industries increased $37.6 billion (6.7 percent) to $597.6 billion
> business assets for all industries increased $52.4 billion (2.6 percent) to $2.1 trillion
> businesses earned $85.6 billion in operating profit – up $ 5.9 billion (7.4 percent) from 2017
> businesses made a 4.8 percent return on assets – up from 4.4 percent in 2017.


On the other hand here is what we were saying to ANZ sources while it was happening (in late August 2018):

· Headline business confidence fell a further 5 points in August, but firms’ views of their own activity were steady.
· Manufacturing is now the least confident sector – likely a lagged impact from construction sector woes. The services sector is the most optimistic.
· Activity sub-indicators remain weak. This month we take a closer look at the implications of weak investment and employment intentions, and conclude the threat to near-term activity is real.

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... almost finally ... Sweden helps EV owners

‘Bonus Malus’ – How Sweden’s EV Scheme Makes Polluters Pay - EV registrations in Sweden hit a historic high of 18 per cent in the month of the feebate’s implementation. Let the dirty vehicles pay for the clean ones. That’s the nub of Sweden’s new ‘Bonus Malus’ scheme, by which buyers of new cars with low CO2 emissions get an attractive bonus, paid for by a punitive tax levied on vehicles at the opposite end of the spectrum. It's also the message that Christina Bu (the head of the Norwegian EV Association) imparted when she visited NZ late last year.

Guests at Drive Electric’s global EV update session in Auckland on May 22 from Nordic EV Summit attendees, heard how this proverbial carrot-and-stick policy (in Latin, ‘bonus’ means ‘good’ and ‘malus’ translates as ‘bad’) is helping Sweden achieve its ambitious target of a 70 per cent reduction in emissions from domestic transport compared with 2010 levels by the end of the next decade.

A critical feature of the scheme is that it is entirely self-funding. How does it work? As of last July, buyers of any new petrol or diesel vehicle that emits above 95 grams of CO2 per kilometre are stung with an increased annual ownership tax – the ‘malus’ – for the first three years after registration.

The more you emit, the steeper the levy, so the owner of a diesel-fuelled Volvo with a C02 value of 152g/km, for example, will have to pay 720 euros ($NZ 1230) annually for three years. By contrast, anyone who buys a car with emissions between zero and 60 grams per kilometre receives a bonus at purchase. Again, it’s on a sliding scale, with zero emission BEVs and FCEVs receiving a 5,700 euro ($NZ9738) rebate.

In the month of the feebate’s implementation, EV registrations in Sweden hit a historic high for that time of 18 per cent - now projecting a 20 per cent share of newly sold cars that are chargeable, which is the highest in the world after Norway.

Drive Electric Chairman Mark Gilbert praised the ‘Bonus Malus’ concept and says it would support a similar “feebate” scheme in New Zealand as proposed by the Productivity Commission, penalising polluters and rewarding zero- emission transport introduction.

“We need to give private and fleet buyers very clear signals about what vehicles are bad for the environment and how they can play a positive part in helping New Zealand achieve its lower emissions through the purchase of Ulta Low Emission and Electric Vehicles,” he said. This type of programme will cost the Government nothing except its management, and potential front loading of the fund.

Gilbert says New Zealand’s EV number should go through the 14,000 mark this month, but New Zealand has to triple its average 485 EVs a month to reach the goal of 64,000 EVs by 2021, as set by the previous Government.

For a full summary of the Nordic EV Summit, plus a whitepaper on the ‘Bonus Malus’ scheme, click here.

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... and finally ... something for a laugh

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