Friday Offcuts – 26 May 2017

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More positive news out of New Zealand this week - outside of yesterday's election year Budget. Driven by strong building activity onshore, the insatiable appetite from China for logs and lumber, the weaker NZ dollar and favourable shipping rates, the NZ forestry industry right now is looking in good shape. For the year ending March 2017, exports of logs wood and wood products from the country had increased 15% to NZ$4.14 billion. Providing the global political environment remains stable, the immediate outlook both for domestic and export sales also looks to be positive.

In Australia, a report out yesterday also paints a pretty good picture of the country’s forest products industry. Record plantation log harvests were recorded in 2015-16, increasing in both value and volume. The ABARES report for the September and December quarters 2016 also shows record harvests of softwood and hardwood plantation logs of more than 30 million m3, worth over AU$2.3 billion.

In wood construction, two projects in Rotorua have just been recognised at the 2017 New Zealand Commercial Project Awards. Red Stag Timber has won the Gold Award and Best in Category, Industrial for their newly purpose-designed and built timber structure that houses the largest wood processing operation in the Southern Hemisphere. The Health & Science Centre at Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology (just 5km down the road and containing a high proportion of timber materials in its construction and finishing) also picked up a Gold in the Education category at the awards programme.

In Gisborne, close to 500 forestry people (not bad when you consider the Gisborne district on the East Coast of New Zealand has a population of just over 45,000 people) met to again celebrate training and business success from around the region. Meanwhile, in Marlborough at the top of the South Island, a new fund has just been set up to try and attract more young people into the forestry industry.

In tech transfer and training new this week, as anticipated, our main logging event for this region this year, HarvestTECH 2017, has SOLD OUT with about a month to go. We now have a waiting list for those wishing to be considered if we have late cancellations. Almost 450 Kiwi and Australian logging contractors, harvest planners and forest managers will be converging on Rotorua on 20-21 June for four days of conferencing, field tours and trade displays. It’s going to be BIG.

Finally, of course, The NZ Budget was delivered yesterday afternoon. For those interested, a summary of the key points can be found here. Interestingly, it included NZ$4 million that's been set aside to help figure out just how New Zealand can reduce its emissions. There was nothing in it though to encourage and prepare the country for the scale of afforestation that is required to meet its Paris Agreement commitments on climate change. For additional comment on the impact of the Budget on local wood producers, click here. Enjoy this week’s read.

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NZ log prices advance as forestry hums

New Zealand export log prices generally rose this month, as key fundamentals move in the country's favour, AgriHQ said. Prices lifted through all unpruned export log grades this month, while pruned logs experienced some minor weakness, according to AgriHQ's monthly survey of exporters, forest owners and saw millers.

"The key fundamentals at the wharfgate have swung ever so slightly into NZ exporters' favour," AgriHQ analyst Reece Brick said in his report titled 'Forestry sectors keeping humming'.

Shipping rates advanced by a small margin but appear to have plateaued and may ease in coming months, exchange rates had moved in New Zealand exporters' favour, and demand from overseas markets was good across the board, he said.

Demand from China, the country's largest wood export market, was positive with imports of New Zealand softwood logs up by 25 percent in the first quarter of this year, compared with the same period last year.

"China is still displaying very good interest in logs, as it has throughout this year so far," Brick said. "Chinese log imports are tracking at quite a high level. Thankfully this has been matched by an equivalent lift in offtake at ports, which has prevented log inventories from ballooning out and subsequently impacting on pricing.

"It's not often that demand will fall back significantly from this point in the year, which bodes well for the coming months." Brick said there's little to suggest either the export or local log markets will suffer from any significant weakness in the future.

In the domestic log market, he said "all demand fundamentals remain well placed, and it's difficult to imagine a scenario where they'd move away from their current path. There is some slight slowing reported among the construction sector, but this is related to the seasonal change in weather rather than any pure market weakness."

Persistent rain over the central North Island through much of April and early May had made access to logging sites more challenging and disrupted supply, helping lift prices for the majority of key grades collected by AgriHQ by $1 a tonne.

Good quality pruned logs were recovering after easing through late 2016, and roundwood had climbed to its highest level since AgriHQ records began in early 2002.

Source: Scoop

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Australian wood encouragement policies continue to grow

In Australia the Forest and Wood Products Australia (FWPA) reports that Increasing numbers of local governments and their peak bodies are adopting wood encouragement policies – committing them to consider wood as the primary construction material in all new-build and refurbishment projects where its use is feasible.

Councils looking to make a difference when it comes to climate change are adopting wood encouragement policies under FWPA and Planet Ark’s ‘Make it wood’ campaign. Eleven local governments have followed in the footsteps of Latrobe City Council, which became the first in Australia to adopt such a policy. The Australian Local Government Association and Municipal Association of Victoria have also come on board.

In addition to carbon storage and reduced emissions, the benefits of building in responsibly-sourced include increased speed of construction and good thermal performance. Beyond Australia and New Zealand, other countries where wood encouragement policies are in place include Canada, Finland and the Netherlands.

Australia boasts a number of striking timber public buildings including Surry Hills Library and Community Centre in Sydney and Melbourne’s Bayside Police Station and Library at the Dock. Read More >>

Source: FWPA

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Rotorua wins at NZ Commercial Project Awards

Two Rotorua businesses have won gold at the 2017 New Zealand Commercial Project Awards. The newly built "Mega Mill" at Red Stag Timber has won the Gold Award and Best in Category, Industrial, and the Health & Science Centre at Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology has won the Gold Award in the Education category.

Hawkins regional manager Peter McCawe said the wins were indicative of a growth in the quality of projects being built in the Bay of Plenty and Waikato. "We have several other major projects under way in the region. It's great to see such large-scale investment into provincial New Zealand."

Red Stag Timber engaged Hawkins to build a purpose-designed structure to house the largest timber mill in the Southern Hemisphere - a project valued at more than NZ$58 million. Engineers Richard Spiers and Associates Ltd partnered to deliver the massive timber structure, which is a feat of engineering and construction.

The Commercial Project Award judges said "clever logistics have helped deliver this impressive production facility". Most of the operating plant is on the first floor, atop a grid of 6m-high concrete plinths. The laminated timber superstructure has 5000sq m of floor space and a 45m span, while the roof apex stands over 18m tall.

"The building cost and total budget cost have both come in on time and under budget and the technology adapted by Red Stag Timber Ltd is the most advanced in New Zealand and Australia," said Hawkins project manager Brian Pope.

Sawmill manager Steve Roberts said Red Stag had invested $60m in the cutting-edge new sawmill. "We are pleased that Hawkins have been able to construct this mega building under some pretty tight constraints, so that we can keep our specialist equipment secure. Winning Best in Category and Gold awards is just the icing on the cake."

Meanwhile, Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology's Gold Award-winning multi-level health and science development (photo) is the newest addition to the campus. It provides laboratories, lecture facilities, active learning classrooms, and simulation wards to improve clinical training. The layout and technological fit-out was designed by Darryl Church Architecture to allow continual adaptation to current educational best-practice.

In keeping with the move towards timber construction, the building finishes contain a higher proportion of timber materials (plywood macrocarpa and detailed pine). The three-level building has already won other awards, including an Architectural Designers Award (ADNZ), Resene Colour Award and a New Zealand Architecture Award (NZIA).

Source: Rotorua Daily Post

ABARES confirms Australian forest industry growth


The latest issue of the Australian forest and wood products statistics (AFWPS) includes updated 2015-16 data for key domestic indicators of forestry sector activity, including Australia's commercial plantation estate, volume and value of logs harvested, and output and consumption of wood products. This issue, released yesterday, also provides updated quarterly data for housing commencements and wood products trade data for the September and December quarters of 2016.

Key Issues

- Business conditions strengthened for Australia's forestry sector in 2015-16, with strong growth in log harvest and wood product output. In 2015-16 logs harvested exceeded 30 million cubic metres for the first time, representing a 10 per cent increase from the 2014-15 log harvest. The gross value of log production also reached a record high, exceeding AU$2.3 billion for the first time (mill-door prices), an increase of 12 per cent from 2014-15.

- The increased log harvest, and strong growth in total residential construction activity in 2015-16 coincided with increased production and consumption of plywood, particleboard and medium density fibreboard. Australia's production of sawnwood is estimated to have remained steady in 2015-16 at around 5.1 million cubic metres. In 2015-16, estimated production of hardwood sawnwood increased for the first time since 2012-13, rising by 7.6 per cent to 675,000 cubic metres. This was due to an increase in native forest sawlogs harvested in 2015-16, which more than offset the decline in plantation hardwood sawlogs harvested. In contrast, estimated production of softwood sawnwood fell slightly by 0.6 per cent to 4.4 million cubic metres in 2015-16 from the record levels reported in 2014-15.

- Based on the first six months of 2016-17, the strong export performance of Australia's wood product industries has continued into the current financial year. Exports increased by 7.8 per cent to AU$1.6 billion, from Au$1.5 billion in the corresponding quarters of 2015-16. The largest contributors to this improved export performance were roundwood and woodchips.

- In contrast to exports, imports decreased by 6.4 per cent to AU$2.7 billion in the first two quarters of 2016-17, compared with the corresponding quarters of 2015-16. Declines were experienced in most import categories, in particular paper and paperboard which fell 8.4 per cent to AU$1.1 billion. These declines were partially offset by an increase in imports of wood-based panels, which rose by 15 per cent to AU$272 million.

For a full copy of the report, click here

Source: ABARES

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Celebrating the best in East Coast forestry

Nearly 500 people packed the Showgrounds Event Centre in Gisborne, New Zealand last Friday to celebrate forestry success within the region. It is the eighth year the Eastland Wood Council Forestry Awards have been run and again they attracted some “stellar entries”, said EWC chief executive Prue Younger, who paid tribute to the thousands involved in an industry that meant much to the wider region.

“These awards are a chance to celebrate the efforts of those out there doing it, but are also an important part of the promotion of the industry and recognition of the continual upskilling of our workforce,” she said.

Chief judge Julian Kohn said that while the region faced challenges around infrastructure, the industry was in very good health from a commercial point of view.

“We are moving into a very strong growth phase from a harvesting perspective,” Mr. Kohn said. “A lot of the plantings from the early to late 1990s are now coming up to a harvestable age, and when you look at that in conjunction with strong development in the Chinese market, and to a lesser extent, the Indian and domestic onshore markets, it augurs well for the future.”

The district produced around 2.8 million tonnes of logs a year, and over the next five years — subject to market and infrastructure capacity — Mr Kohn expects that to be “north of 3.7 million tonnes”.


Eastland Wood Council Skilled Forestry Professional of the Year, Brian Deam, Big Bark Loading

Training Excellence:
NZ Apprentice of the Year, Angus Fraser, Blackstump Logging
Trainee of the Year, Kevin Leopard, Down n Out Logging.
Training Company/Contractor of the Year, Ian and Marcella Diack, Diack Contractors.

Skilled Professionals:
Forestry Excellence Jesse, Kapene, TKT Limited.
Roading Excellence, Brian Deam, Big Bark Loading.
Harvesting Excellence, Matthew MacIntosh, Big Bark Loading.
Distribution Excellence, Richard Bronlund, STS Transport.
Breaker Out Excellence, Tom Wehi, Blackstump Logging.
Faller Excellence, Steve Maynard, Blackstump Logging. Extraction and Skidwork Excellence, Phillip Cosgrove, Raywood Contracting.

Industry Development Awards:
Contractor of the Year, Blackstump Logging.
Outstanding H and S Management, Eddie Te Kahika, Kimberly Contractors.
Outstanding Environmental Management, Patrick Bethel and Wayne Trafford, Hikurangi Forest Farms.
Outstanding Regional Service Performance, Turanga Ararau.

See for full results.

Photo: Fiona Kingsford, CEO, Competenz, presents Angus Fraser of Blackstump Logging with the Apprentice of the Year Award. Photo: ©Stephen Jones Photography


Contentious Tasmanian forestry bill close

As Treasurer Peter Gutwein prepared to hand down the 2017-18 state budget on Thursday, the Hodgman government’s forest legislation was examined in the Legislative Council. On the eve of budget day, Legislative Councillors gave their second reading speeches regarding the polarising bill, which would open up about 356,000 hectares of Tasmanian forest to logging. The session went late into the night, eventually passing the second reading and progressing to the committee stage.

The Tasmanian Forest Agreement, brokered by the former Labor-Green government, sought to reconcile the forest industry with conservationists, securing continued wood supply while also identifying and protecting areas of high conservation value. It’s proposed to unlock some of these high conservation value forests – otherwise known as future potential production forest land – to provide further timber to industry.

The government says this is to ensure Forestry Tasmania receives its yearly quota of 137,000 cubic metres of high-quality sawlogs. The industry, though, is divided over the bill. Questions have, too, been raised over the bill’s potential impact on Forestry Tasmania’s bid for Forest Stewardship Council certification, which would allow it to access more timber markets. The bill will continue at the committee stage when the upper house resumes.

Source: The Advocate

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Forestry is key growth driver in South Australia

In responding to the Deloitte report released Making it big Adelaide, AFPA SA Manager John Stokes says it confirms the importance of forestry industry to the South Australian economy. “As part of the agribusiness sector, Forestry contributes AU$1.5billion to the state’s economy and employs directly and indirectly over 22,000 people” Mr Stokes said.

“The Deloitte report shows that agriculture, forestry and fishing contribute more value per person in SA than in Victoria; more than any other sector. AFPA is working hard to ensure that policies and initiatives are put in place by all levels of government to support the continued growth of the forest, wood and paper industries. This is particularly important for regional SA”.

Source: AFPA

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Impact of fires being felt with log supplies

As reported last week, CHH is consulting its 160 employees about the likely closure of the softwood sawmill at Morwell which is unviable due to significantly reduced timber supply. Hancock lost about seven million trees on its pine plantations in the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires. Combined with earlier bushfires, about 15 per cent of its plantations have been destroyed since 2003.

Hancock’s chief executive Karl Kny said the company had spent more than AU$50 million replanting the trees, and had been in “force majeure” — meaning the company was free from meeting its contract obligations due to extraordinary circumstances — since the 2009 fires. “The ramifications of this arson are still impacting us today — there are simply not enough trees left,” Mr Kny said.

“This will not change until the replanted trees reach maturity after 2032. “We have been working with CHH to meet our supply obligations as best we can from our plantations, however the volumes and quality of pine sawlogs will fall significantly in the years ahead.” Hancock has negotiated to supply extra product to Australian Paper’s Maryvale plant, but that would come into effect only if the Morwell mill shuts.

Mr Kny confirmed Hancock would continue supplying CHH’s Yarram mill. The Victorian Government is unable to assist timber supply to the Morwell mill, as it does not own any softwood plantations. The pending closure of the Morwell mill comes as Australian Sustainable Hardwoods prepares to shut down its Heyfield timber mill.Ms Pulford said discussions about what the Victorian Government could do to save the mill were ongoing.

Source: News Limited Australia

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New fund to attract young workers launched in Marlborough

Forestry is a growth industry in Marlborough but companies are struggling to find young workers. A new initiative has been launched helping young forestry workers and those looking to get into the industry to take away some of the costs.

The Marlborough Forest Industry Association's Vocational Training Assistance fund aims to attract more young people and advance their career prospects in the industry. The association hopes the new fund, the first of its kind in Marlborough, will help attract and retain people in the sector, by paying for things like course costs, transport and accommodation for study.

MFIA executive officer Vern Harris said there was a number of reasons why the industry was struggling to recruit young workers. Forestry was also competing against sectors like construction, mining and roading for workers; Harris also thought younger people were being pushed more towards universities than the trades.

Anyone could apply for assistance and the association was being deliberately flexible as to what it would fund, be it something like a machine operations course or books for study. Harris said one example of what the fund could be used for was bringing a harvester simulator to Marlborough, so groups of people could train on the machine before advancing to the real thing.

The only caveat was applicants had to be living in Marlborough, or have immediate family in the region, as the purpose of the scheme was to bolster the industry in Marlborough, he said. "Hopefully it will assist young people to think forestry could be a good career option, and secondly it will enable youngsters already in the industry to improve their skills."

The association agreed to implement the Vocational Training Assistance programme at its annual general meeting last year. It was made possible by a sizeable donation by Flight Forestry, Harris said.

MFIA chairman Brendon Whitley, who worked for Nelson Forests, said it was very difficult to attract younger workers. He fully supported the new fund, saying it would help advertise opportunities within forestry. Applications for the Vocational Training Assistance fund open in August.


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Significant trees to celebrate Plants Day

Scion hosted a ceremonial planting of a Gallipoli pine and a Wollemi pine on 18 May. The day happened to be Fascination of Plants Day, an internationally recognised occasion to celebrate the importance of plants to science through forestry, agriculture and conservation.

Scion used the occasion to celebrate its scientific contribution to the long-term survival of two plants by hosting a ceremonial planting of a Gallipoli pine and a Wollemi pine. The two trees were planted at Scion’s Rotorua campus in New Zealand also as part of a programme of events marking Scion’s 70th year.

CEO Julian Elder said in Scion’s 70 years the institute has undertaken research that has brought huge benefits to forestry in New Zealand and around the world. The Gallipoli pine and Wollemi pine are examples of how Scion expertise has helped to protect the future of two internationally significant trees.

Before1994, it was thought that the Wollemi pine only existed as fossils. However, this ‘dinosaur tree’ was given a new lease on life after the serendipitous discovery of live specimens at the bottom of a narrow gorge in Wollemi National Park, 150 km from Sydney.

In collaboration with Australian researchers a Scion team developed tissue culture protocols to grow the population from the Wollemi National Park. All the plants in New Zealand originate from the tissue culture collection at Scion.

The Wollemi pine is one of my memorable and exciting projects,” said Scion’s Cathy Hargreaves. “To start with, it was a very secret-squirrel project. Ministerial approval was required for both collection of samples and for export to New Zealand. Even now, a special licence has to be obtained to sell Wollemi.” Now an emeritus scientist at Scion, Cathy was on hand to plant a Wollemi pine with General Manager Forest Science Alison Stewart.

The Gallipoli pine was planted by Rotorua Returned Services Association President, William McDonald. The tree is a direct descendant of the Gallipoli Peninsula’s Lone Pine. On 6 August 1915, Australian troops attacked the Turkish trenches and the tree was a casualty of the four-day battle. After the battle, Australian Sergeant Keith McDonnell took one of the pine cones back to Australia. In the years that followed, a number of trees were propagated in Australia and New Zealand.

In 2012, Scion field scientist Toby Stovold collected seeds from the Turkish red pine Pinus Brutia, at the Paeroa Golf Course –an authenticated descendent of the Lone Pine. His efforts produced over 50 seedlings that were donated to Returned Services Association’s across New Zealand.

Photo:Cathy Hargreaves (left) and Alison Stewart with the Wollemi pine directly after planting it in the Scion campus

Source: Scion

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When Birds Attack! — Drone operators discuss the threat

When it comes to operating commercial drones, there are some challenges that every operator needs to address: gaining official permission to fly, knowing where you can safely operate, staying on top of the weather… a professional dronist is rarely bored. But one issue, globally at least, is rarely discussed: the very real problem of birds of prey attacking unmanned aircraft in flight.

To explore this subject further, Waypoint met up with two senseFly operators: Troy Fardell, the director of RPAS Australia and Andrew Chapman, the NSW director of Australian UAV.

Based in Australia—home to the aggressive wedge-tailed eagle—these mapping pros know a thing or two about working near winged invaders. In this exclusive discussion, they discuss how birds attack, how to go about avoiding them, plus they highlight one specific incident that speaks volumes about the eBee’s durability.

Drone strikes by birds are surprisingly common and occur in many parts of the world; not only in Australia but also parts of Africa, select US states, parts of Europe and in Latin America. The culprits are typically serious—and seriously large—birds of prey.

Down in Oz for example, wedge-tailed eagles are one of the most common UAV attackers. “They are magnificent birds, much larger than even the American bald eagles,” says Australian UAV’s Andrew Chapman. “Here in Australia, we usually see an eagle on one job in four when flying in rural areas, and our drone is aggressively attacked perhaps one job in six or eight.”

Troy Fardell of RPAS Australia claims this attack ratio can be even higher: “I would guess that 40% of the time I have to perform at least one eagle avoidance,” he says. “They are always there.” Read More

Image: A wedge-tailed eagle, captured by an Australian UAV eBee flying over a plantation forest in Victoria, Australia

Source: Australian UAV News, Sensefly

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Cut emissions through land management changes

This week The Australian reported that Australia could meet a 2 degrees Celsius warming target under the Paris agreement at no cost to business using actions that saved money over the long term, as shown by a study by advisory firm RepuTex. Better land management including forestry, environmental plantings and carbon farming could deliver 40 per cent of potential savings. The switch to renewable energy could account for another 30 per cent, RepuTex said.

New modelling showed there would be about 600 million tonnes of emissions reductions available across the economy by 2030. This would enable Australia to cut emissions by 45 per cent below 2005 levels compared with the federal government’s target of between 26 and 28 per cent.

It would also deliver on the Paris-agreement headline target of keeping warming to 2C. RepuTex said such a cut could be reached by implementing all abatement measures below $20 per tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-e) in 2030. But the cost of abatement would be more than offset by financial benefits, the RepuTex modelling showed.

The research has been released as the government faces pressure to increase funding for its Direct Action program. A major carbon-focused business lobby, the Climate Market Institute, said an extra AU$200 million a year in federal government funding was needed to support Direct Action land carbon auctions until the program could be expanded to include the private sector.

Read the full article here.

Source: The News Mill, VAFI

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Trex sales up 18%

Trex Company (the world’s largest manufacturer of high performance wood-alternative decking and railing and stocked in more than 6,700 retail locations worldwide) have reported financial results for the first quarter ended 31 March 2017. Net sales for the first quarter of 2017 were US$144.8 million, 10% above last year’s first quarter results.

“Industry analysts continue to project that the growth rate for wood-alternative decking and railing will outpace the overall market. With advancements in all-weather materials and furnishings that enable the outdoors to act as an extension of the home, we believe Trex, as the market leader in high-performance, wood-alternative decking, railing and accessories, is very well positioned to benefit from the projected increase in demand for functional outdoor living spaces”, said James E. Cline, President and Chief Executive Officer.

“In 2017, we will expand our successful marketing and advertising campaigns that emphasize the advantages of composite decking over traditional wood as well as the environmental benefits of our products. Continued market share gains and favorable gross margin impacts are expected to benefit full year 2017 results. In the second quarter of 2017 we expect to achieve revenues of $160 million. Our expectation for incremental gross margin is now expected to be in excess of 50% for full year 2017,” Mr. Cline concluded.

Source: Trex Co. Inc.

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Carter Holt pulls AU$55.4M dividend from Australia

Carter Holt Harvey Group pulled out an AU$55.4 million dividend from its Australian unit in 2016, its first such return after several years of shoring up the wood products company's books.

The Australian unit's holding company, Carter Holt Harvey Building Products, paid a dividend bigger than its profit of AU$21.3 million in calendar 2016, down from AU$30.7 million a year earlier, financial statements lodged with the Australian Securities & Investments Commission show. While revenue edged up 3.1 percent to AU$964.7 million, the company's gross margins shrank to 8.6 percent from 9.5 percent in 2015. Still, the forgiveness of AU$275 million of related party debts between 2012 and 2014 helped the Australian division get back on an even footing after slipping into negative equity and operational cash flow climbed 42 percent to AU$62.3 million in the latest year.

Carter Holt's billionaire owner, Graeme Hart, tested the waters for an initial public offering of the forestry group in 2015 before shelving those plans indefinitely. A year earlier, Hart's Rank Group sold the Carter Holt Harvey's pulp and packaging businesses for $1 billion to Japan's Oji Holdings Corp and Innovation Network Corp of Japan.

The Australian operation is currently in a dispute with the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union, locking out about 200 workers at its Myrtleford plyboard manufacturing site when pay negotiations broke down. The company's Australian wage bill rose 6.4 percent to AU$159.8 million in 2016, while pension contributions were flat at AU$11.8 million. The manufacturer employs 1,700 people across 12 factories and six distribution and sales centres in Australia, according to its website.

Carter Holt Harvey Building Products reported an AU$10.8 million tax expense in 2016 compared to AU$10.1 million a year earlier, although its cash-flow statement showed it paid AU$1.3 million to a related entity for the transfer of tax balances in 2016, down from AU$5 million a year earlier. In separate accounts for Rank Group's head tax entity in Australia, Burns, Philp & Co, it said it anticipated Carter Holt Harvey's Australian business "will continue to purchase tax losses from the group during 2017" which will be paid in cash.

Carter Holt Harvey is made up of three divisions: building products makers Wood Products NZ and Wood Products Australia, and building products trade and retail supplier Carters.

Source: Scoop

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NZ Port aiming for total recapture of methyl bromide

As part of Ports of Auckland’s ambition to be the most sustainable port in New Zealand, the company will require the total recapture of methyl bromide gas used for container fumigation by September 1, 2017, and for all cargoes by the end of the year.

Ports of Auckland CEO Tony Gibson said “Methyl bromide is a very effective pesticide and a key part of New Zealand’s biosecurity defence, but it is toxic to humans and depletes the ozone layer. By recapturing the gas after use, we can improve safety, protect the environment and still keep unwanted pests out of New Zealand.”

At Ports of Auckland both containers and loose or ‘breakbulk’ cargo are fumigated by pumping the gas into a container or a tarpaulin covering the freight. After fumigation, the gas is vented to the atmosphere and it is this last stage that will be stopped.

Ports of Auckland has a history of innovation to reduce methyl bromide use. It is the first and only port in New Zealand to use heat treatment, instead of fumigation, for some cargoes. Heat treatment is not suitable for all cargoes (for example fresh fruit) so fumigation is still necessary.

“We are not a major user of methyl bromide, but when it comes to caring for our people and the environment we think it is important to address every issue even if it seems small. Every step we take to reduce our emissions takes us closer to our ambitious goal of having zero emissions by 2040,” concluded Tony Gibson.

Note: New Zealand’s current annual consumption of methyl bromide is about 525 tonnes. 561 containers were fumigated at Ports of Auckland in 2015 and 282 ‘tent’ fumigations took place. 5.3 tonnes of methyl bromide was used on the port, about 1% of the New Zealand total.

Source: Scoop

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Buy and Sell

... and one to end the week on ... mischievous grannies

Three mischievous old grannies were sitting on a bench outside a nursing home when an old man walked by.

One of the old ladies called out, saying, “We bet we can tell exactly how old you are.”

The old man responded, “There is no way you can.”

One of the women said, “Sure we can! Just drop your pants and undershorts and we can tell your exact age.”

Embarrassed just a little, but anxious to prove they couldn’t do it, he dropped his drawers.

They asked him to first turn around a couple of times and to jump up and down several times.

Then they all piped up and said, “You’re 87 years old!”

Standing with his pants down around his ankles, the old gent asked, “How in the world did you guess?”

Slapping their knees and grinning from ear to ear, the three ladies happily yelled in unison…

“We were at your birthday party yesterday!”

And on that note, have a great weekend. Cheers.

Brent Apthorp
Editor, Friday Offcuts
Distinction Dunedin Hotel
6 Liverpool Street, Dunedin 9016, New Zealand
PO Box 904, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand
Tel: +64 (03) 470 1902, Mob: +64 21 227 5177, Fax: +64 (03) 470 1906
Web page:

This week's extended issue, along with back issues, can be viewed at

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