WoodWeek – 13 May 2020

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Greetings from your WoodWeek news team. Yes, it’s one more sleep before we move to Level 2 living and working here in New Zealand. From people we’ve been talking with, after 6 weeks of lockdown, this past week things are feeling a bit more 'normal' across the industry. However, like the sunny weather we’ve enjoyed while doing the home office thing, the real effects from our recently enforced business lockdown will hit as we go into the winter of 2020, both literally and economically.

On that cheery note, we do have some positive news from the wood industry’s most vocal advocate, Marty Verry. He is once again reminding Labour Party Ministers of the promise they made and didn't keep at the last election. This story is being picked up by several mainstream media outlets. As he says, “So, why the need for a government procurement policy on construction material use favouring sustainable materials?”

In short, jobs. Lots of jobs. As we go into a recession, or perhaps multi-year depression if a vaccine takes years, we need to think strategically about where every dollar goes, and how many local businesses and jobs that dollar supports along the way. Only the Government has a mandate to consider the bigger picture impact of procurement policy on NZ Inc in terms of jobs, climate change, balance of payments, wellness, waste and a whole range of other aspects that favour wood over its climate polluting alternatives concrete and steel. Plus, a wood policy will tip off building developers and designers that wood solutions now exist for practically all building types, and are cost competitive, faster and safer to build.

A reminder: you can now register at a great price for our Forest Safety webinars coming up in June. Our popular Forest Safety & Technology 2020 event is being presented as an interactive webinar series. In fact, it is being delivered to run simultaneously for New Zealand, Australian and North American safety leaders from forest management and contracting companies. Thanks to all of our sponsors, presenters and the wider industry who are right behind this new initiative. You can see the speakers and register NOW: by clicking here.

Looking to markets -- Total log export values to China year-on-year to the end of March were down 14 percent, and overall log exports decreased by 17 percent across all markets. Logs to India, our second largest log market, decreased by 10 percent in March y-o-y.

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UPDATED: Have your say on Log Traders Bill

LATEST NEWS UPDATE for Monday 18 May

Have your say on the Forests (Regulation Of Log Traders And Forestry Advisers) Amendment Bill - The Chairperson of Parliament’s Environment Select Committee, Dr Duncan Webb, is calling for public submissions on the Forests (Regulation of Log Traders and Forestry Advisers) Amendment Bill.

The bill seeks to establish a registration system for log traders and forestry advisers that strengthens the integrity of the forestry supply chain, and supports a continuous, predictable, and long-term supply of timber for domestic processing and export.

The Chair has set a closing date for submissions of 21 May 2020. The committee is due to report to the House by 5 June 2020.

Click here >> To tell the Environment Committee what you think

Submissions can be made via the Parliament website. Make a submission on the bill by 11.59pm on 21 May 2020.

More >> Bill details

More >> Full content of the bill

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Wood industry support masterstroke for Twyford

OPINION: Support for wood processing sector 'a masterstroke' for Twyford - This year’s implementation of Labour’s long-promised policy to use government procurement to support the wood processing sector will be a masterstroke for jobs, the economy, the environment and politically for Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford.

So why the need for a government procurement policy on construction material use favouring sustainable materials?

In short, jobs. Lots of jobs. More than 100,000 of them, made up of 38,500 people employed by the forestry and wood processing sector directly, and more than 65,000 indirect jobs.

Including families, up to 400,000 are supported.

As we go into a recession, or perhaps multi-year depression if a vaccine takes years, we need to think strategically about were every dollar goes, and how many local businesses and jobs that dollar supports along the way.

Only the Government has a mandate to consider the bigger picture impact of procurement policy on NZ Inc in terms of jobs, climate change, balance of payments, wellness, waste and a whole range of other aspects that favour wood over its climate polluting alternatives concrete and steel.

Plus, a policy will tip off building developers and designers that wood solutions now exist for practically all building types, and are cost competitive, faster and safer to build.

A dollar spent on a concrete or steel building quickly ends up in the bank accounts of manufacturers in Thailand, Indonesia or China. That same dollar spent on an engineered timber structure supports local wood prefabrication plants, who in turn pass it to local steel connection manufacturers and sawmills, who pass it to local foresters and transport companies, who pass it to logging and planting gangs and nurseries.

The 400,000 people supported are spread across regions like Northland, Gisborne, Bay of Plenty, Hawkes Bay, Horowhenua, Auckland, Nelson and Canterbury. Regions that need that dollar now more than ever. Regions where it can be hard to find alternative employment.

Chain reaction - Here’s a real-life example to help explain the opportunity being missed and the need for a centralised policy.

In early March, I was in a project management and quantity surveyors’ office in Christchurch, and the team there showed me the designs for classroom blocks being built for the Ministry of Education right now in Springston and Rangiora. I asked, “what is the structure made of”. The answer; “heavy steel”.

So, I asked them to run the costings assuming equivalent glue laminated timber (glulam) was used instead, using current New Zealand pricing. Two days later I got the report back. “Negligible” cost difference. I probed for the exact number and it was just $100 per classroom.

The next two blocks planned are for Mount Cook School and Hororata later this year. So fast-forward six months from now, and with the Carbon Zero Construction procurement policy in place, these blocks, plus the demand from government departments nationwide will trigger a chain reaction that will ultimately deliver the investment, innovation, jobs and climate change outcomes New Zealand needs. Here’s how it will work.

The new government baseload demand triggers investment in efficient local factories using world-class technology to produce glulam, Cross laminated Timber (CLT) and a range of other wood solutions. A number are shovel ready now.

More >>

Source: Marty Verry article on Stuff

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Champion Freight Report

Thanks to the Champion Freight team here is a graphic summary of the latest monthly update for export log markets.

Log export markets - This week we've got our monthly update from the Champion Freight team.

The chart shows total log export values to China year-on-year to the end of March were down 14 percent, and overall log exports decreased by 17 percent across all markets. Logs to India, our second largest log market, decreased by 10 percent in March y-o-y.

To the end of March, China shipments month-on-month were down 54 percent and overall log exports down 47 percent. Logs to India increased 4 percent month-on- month in March.

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Forestry directors forced to resign

Invercargill city forestry directors forced to resign - The three directors of an Invercargill City Council-owned forestry company which is being sold have effectively been forced to resign during the Covid-19 pandemic and two of them are unimpressed. Invercargill City Forests Limited chairman Mel Montgomery said she and fellow directors Ben Nettleton and Rebecca Keoghan were asked to resign by Holdco chairman Brian Wood in April, which they did.

Holdco, an investment company owned by the city council, owns Invercargill City Forests which is in the process of having its forests sold and being liquidated. Its 14 forests in Southland, Otago and Nelson/Marlborough have a total productive area of more than 3000ha of mostly radiata pine.

The forestry company directors were overseeing the sales process at the time of their departure, Montgomery said. ''He [Wood] basically said that due to Covid-19 money was tight amongst the group and we had done all the work for the sale and they could take it from there.

The next stage of the sales process was to decide which parties to invite to make offers, she said. ''But we never got a chance to do that.'' The directors had a lot of institutional knowledge and had done all the background work, she said.

''I feel like it wasn't the right call for the sake of a couple of months directors fees, I think we should have seen the process through.''

Another director, Ben Nettleton, said the move to ask the directors to resign was surprising given they were at a sensitive stage of the sales process. He got a sense the Holdco board was wanting to move it forward with ''indecent haste''.

The third forestry company director, Rebecca Keoghan did not respond by Tuesday's 3pm deadline, but Holdco chairman Brian Wood said Keoghan had no problem with the request to resign. Wood confirmed he had asked the directors to resign as a cost- cutting measure.

''We looked at the overall position of the group and where we could save cash and the forestry company was one area we could.''

The forestry company directors were costing about $10,000 a month in fees and costs and they had done 90 per cent of their work by preparing the company's forests for sale, Wood said.

More >> https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/121477319/invercargill-city-forestry- directors-forced-to-resign

Source: Stuff

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Hancock Natural Resource Group appoints Sarno

Hancock announces Tom Sarno as Global Head of Timberland Investments Earlier this week, Hancock Natural Resource Group (HNRG), a Manulife Investment Management company announced Tom Sarno (pictured) as Global Head of Timberland Investments, effective immediately. Previously Mr. Sarno was Senior Managing Director, Head of Timberland and Farmland Property Management Operations at HNRG. He joined HNRG in 2004.

In his new role, Mr. Sarno will have oversight of HNRG’s timber business strategy – an integral part of Manulife Investment Management’s private markets platform. Mr. Sarno’s responsibilities include: Acquisitions and Dispositions, Resource Planning and Analysis, Client Account Management, Economic Research, and Property Management.

Mr. Sarno’s appointment reflects his extensive experience in timber investments and operations. He will continue in his role as a member of the HNRG Executive team and report to William Peressini, Chief Executive Officer, HNRG.

“I am pleased that Tom has been selected as the new Global Head of Timberland Investments, said Mr. Peressini. “The confidence that both the HNRG Board and I have in Tom, based on his 25 years of direct experience, including the last 16 years in various capacities of increasing responsibility at HNRG and his contributions in those positions, made him the very best candidate for the role. His depth and breadth of professional and leadership experience help to assure continued success for our clients and stakeholders.”

“I am very excited to lead HNRG’s strategy of developing and managing globally diversified timberland portfolios and providing excellent service to our clients. Our firm has a long track record of providing investors with capital preservation, portfolio diversification and attractive risk and return characteristics. Combined with Sustainability and Responsible Investing (SRI) and natural climate solutions attributes, we believe investors will continue to be attracted to the timberland asset class and HNRG. I look forward to working collaboratively across Manulife Investment Management’s broad private markets team to continue to maximise opportunities for our clients,” added Mr. Sarno.

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New Forests announces fund conversion

International forestry investment manager New Forests announced the extension of its flagship forestry fund, the Australia New Zealand Forest Fund (ANZFF). Originally launched in 2010 as a 10-year, closed-end fund, ANZFF was converted into an extended long-term vehicle by agreement of the institutional investors in the fund. The extension includes a series of 12-year renewals, commencing 1 July 2020.

Managing Director for Australia and New Zealand, Mark Rogers, explained, “Over the several years, we have worked closely with our ANZFF clients enabling them to continue to hold high-quality forestry and forestry-related assets for the long term, benefiting from cash yield and attractive markets. Our structure us to work on our investors’ behalf to drive value into the future.”

The ANZFF portfolio includes extensive, high-quality eucalyptus and pine plantations across Australia as well as the Timberlink wood products manufacturing and timber distribution business. With a mature asset base, New Forests anticipates that ANZFF will generate ongoing cash yield from timber harvest and wood products sales as well as preserving and creating long-term value through managing biological growth and land assets for strong, stable total returns.

Rogers added, “We are heartened by our clients’ shared commitment to holding this portfolio, especially against the backdrop of many institutions needing to find liquidity in the current market. The ANZFF portfolio is among the premier diversified forestry portfolios globally. The fund extension endorses the contribution of forestry assets to our clients’ investment portfolios.”

New Forests’ CEO David Brand remarked, “The ANZFF portfolio was amalgamated after the disruption of the global financial crisis. That crisis had a huge impact on the Australian forestry sector, in particular the Managed Investment Scheme industry in the sector and major industry players. These assets have now been re-capitalised, upgraded, and placed under long-term institutional investor ownership. Australia’s forestry sector today is internationally competitive, profitable, and able to manage through the current Covid-19 crisis with limited disruption.”

The ANZFF estate includes about 283,000 gross hectares of land area, comprising 195,000 ha net planted area, and 20,000 ha under conservation management. The portfolio generates approximately 4 million m3 of timber harvest each year and provides nearly 1,500 jobs. All forestry areas are certified under the Forest Stewardship Council® and Responsible Wood® systems, providing third-party assurance of responsible forest management. New Forests’ approach is working with qualified local forest management businesses for on-ground operations, strengthening and diversifying market exposures and access, and ensuring responsible investment management practices.

ANZFF investors include pension funds, reinsurance companies, and sovereign wealth fund clients. Under the extended mandate, the ANZFF portfolio will be managed for long-term opportunities in a rising bioeconomy, focussed on helping to address the challenge of climate change and the supply of renewable resources.

Director of Investor Relations Sarah Clawson noted, “We are excited for this new phase of truly long-term partnership with our clients. In today’s competitive environment for quality real assets, we understand this means strategically keeping assets that can provide steady yield while also playing a diversification role within institutional portfolios.”

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PF Olsen CEO departs

Yesterday, PF Olsen chairman Graeme Milne advised that Chief Executive Officer Te Kapunga Dewes has resigned to pursue other opportunities. Mr Dewes has made a significant contribution to the organisation over his time as CEO.

PF Olsen also announced the appointment of Ross Larcombe (pictured) as Acting CEO. Mr Larcombe, whose previous role was Regional Manager of Central North Island Forest Management, begins as Acting CEO with immediate effect.

Ross is a stalwart within the company having committed 25 years to the business. For the past 19 years Ross has managed the Central North Island forestry team and has been on the board as a director of the company for 9 years.

Ross comments that, “it is an honour to fulfil the role of Acting CEO and I see this as an exciting and positive time for the company and our clients. As the COVID-19 restrictions reduce, we look forward to an improved demand for wood with a refreshed workforce. Operations have recently restarted with harvesting increasing every week. The 2020 planting programme that will begin later this month will be one of the largest in the company’s history.”

Chairman of PF Olsen, Graeme Milne, said: “Mr Larcombe was the right candidate to take the role of Acting CEO. He understands the board’s expectations, knows the company well and we warmly welcome him into the position. I’d also like to thank the departing Te Kapunga Dewes for his contributions to PF Olsen and wish him well for the future.”

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Wood technology news proves popular

Remember, in addition to this weekly newsletter, you can also check out the monthly harvesttech.news, woodtech.news and foresttech.news newsletters.

Based on our independent experts reviews and drawing on massive database from past conferences these technology newsletters are all written and compiled for particular segments within our industry. They were sent out to our growing number of subscribers, over 15,000 of you, last week.

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Tasmania: Forest Safety Code Review invites input

In early April PF Olsen Australia was appointed by Private Forests Tasmania’s Safety Code Review Steering Committee to undertake the Tasmanian Forest Safety Code Review. We are now seeking stakeholder input into this project.

As a key organisation within the Tasmanian forest industry we ask you to circulate amongst your members and other relevant contacts information about the Code review and invite them to use this link to register their interest. To make the consultation as easy as possible we will ask interested for their specific input into relevant sections of the document in accordance with this detail schedule.

For further details and update about the project please keep an eye on the Private Forests Tasmania website or register for their weekly e-bulletin.

If you have any other questions please contact the Communications Manager for this project Stefan Butson on Stefan.butson@pfolsen.com.

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Wilding pine removal work for redundant workers

Government pulls forward biosecurity, conservation projects to provide work - The government has pushed forward 55 biosecurity and conservation projects to provide work for up to 160 people who've lost their jobs during the lockdown.

The projects in Northland, East Coast, Hawke's Bay and Canterbury are part of the $100 million redeployment package announced in March.

A key focus will be removing invasive wilding pine trees, which are a major threat to farmland, waterways and ecosystems. About $3m has been allocated for the projects.

Biosecurity Minister Damien O'Connor said it was work that needed to be done and accelerating the projects actually saved money as the cost of removing wilding pines rose by 30 percent each year.

"Forestry workers were among the first to feel the economic impact of Covid-19. Their skills translate well to what's needed for wilding pine pest management, ranging from pulling young trees by hand, skilled chainsaw operation, to operating heavy machinery."

Federated Farmers environment spokesperson Chris Allen said it needs $25 million per year for the next four years to get wilding pine trees under control.

"The wilding pine problem that we've got at the moment, every year we leave it, that's billions o more seeds that are getting blown into the ground and the problem is just spreading.

"Our future generations will thank us for the more that we can spend now the faster we can get it under control."

More >>

Source: RNZ

About the work - The five biosecurity projects are near Kaitāia, Dargaville, Arthur’s Pass, Ohau, and Tekapo. Two million dollars is allocated to projects managed by Environment Canterbury, and $1 million for projects managed by the Northland Regional Council.

Initially, work in Northland will focus on infestations surrounding the Awanui River, where trees are creating a flood-risk for Kaitaia. Work along the Kaihū River near Dargaville will remove wilding pines and other problem trees.

In Canterbury work will focus on removing wilding pine infestations in the Craigieburn Forest Park and the Mackenzie Basin, protecting both farmland and conservation land in the area.

About wilding pines - Sometimes called New Zealand’s number one pest, wilding pines overwhelm our native landscapes, killing native plants and forcing out native animals. Unlike commercial forests, wilding pines are weeds. They are self-seeded, spread aggressively and not intentionally planted. Once they get established, they spread quickly.

Without national intervention wilding pines will spread to 7.5 million hectares of vulnerable land within 30 years. The cost of unchecked wilding conifer spread would reach 4.6 billion dollars over 50 years. We would lose biodiversity, including many of New Zealand’s most sensitive and farming landscapes and water catchments.

Source: Scoop

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TracPlus acquires V2Track

TracPlus has successfully closed a significant funding round with New Zealand’s most experienced technology investment firm, Movac, investing $5m - TracPlus offers real-time tracking, communication and integrated solutions for those in the critical services sectors, including First Responders, Firefighting, Utilities, Military and Aviation sectors.

Founded in 2007 and based in Dunedin, TracPlus’ global client base includes the likes of CalFire, San Diego Gas & Electric, National Aerial Firefighting Centre (NAFC Australia), Ministry of Agriculture (CONAF, Chile) Erikson, and Christchurch Helicopters.

Movac Partner Mark Vivian says, “We’re delighted to be investing in a kiwi tech company that helps their clients take care of their people and assets. Earlier in the year, I was fortunate to spend some time in the US with some TracPlus customers, and it was compelling to see their faith and reliance on the TracPlus and its products in their daily activities.” TracPlus CEO Trevor McIntyre said, “TracPlus has built a world-class reputation, and we’re really proud of the exceptional customer base that we’ve built over the past decade. We chose Movac due to their investment style and ‘hands-on’ experience in growing successful tech companies. For us it was really important there was a strong personality fit between the two teams. We have big future plans, and we’re thrilled to have Movac’s investment and support for the next stage of our journey.”

“We are also very excited for Mr Vivian to join the TracPlus board.”

The new investment round will enable TracPlus to grow technical and sales capability and further capitalise on its position as the disruptive global leader, providing the most cost- effective, comprehensive, flexible and agile platform solutions on the market today. As part of the transaction, TracPlus will acquire Cambridge-based technology business v2track Limited.

v2track Limited provides TracPlus not only with tracking devices and a rich pipeline, it additionally furthers the footprint globally with a strong distributor network with market presence in Africa and Europe.

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Almost finally ... Its a Toyota, electric and ALL WOOD

Toyota Setsuna: A new electric concept car made ENTIRELY from wood - Toyota have designed an awesome looking wood concept car named Setsuna , that will be debuting later this month in Italy, during Milan Design Week. Toyota engineer Kenji Tsuji and his team, have designed Setsuna as a reaction to the fancy cars of today that have all the latest gadgets and technology.

They wanted to create a unique wooden roadster to embody the affection owners grow to feel for their cars, and to show how cars continue to change and offer new value as they’re taken care of with love over time.

The body of the car is made from 86 handmade wood panels, that will develop and change differently as the car ages. When repairs become necessary, each of these panels can be replaced. Owners will be able to see where the work has been done, and remember the moment. As the wood slowly bends over time, the shape of the car will take a more pronounced curve, just like on a wooden boat. The car is fully functional, however as it’s only a concept car, it can’t be driven on public roads.

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Buy and Sell

... and finally ... Amazing survey results

You've got to admire the honesty in this "digital transformation" survey response:


Until now, you've probably never heard of construction worker Thomas Mundy. But, you'll never forget him after seeing the video below. This guy is even funnier than the laughable high profile US citizen he's imitating.

Best part is ... Mundy actually knows he's taking the mickey whereas for most part, his doppelganger doesn't realise how dumb he sounds sometimes (usually only when his mouth is open):

Source: Daily Mail

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