Friday Offcuts – 16 March 2018

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We’ve included this week some recent announcements designed in some way to meet a number of the NZ Governments ambitious targets. Firstly, KiwiBuild. It’s the Government’s large-scale plan to build 100,000 high quality, affordable homes over 10 years. Fifty percent of these have been ear-marked for Auckland. The Government is planning on spending NZ$2 billion over the next three years to get the KiwiBuild programme up and underway. Infometrics, a company providing economic analyses and forecasts commented last week that the scheme, principally through the likely unaffordability of the planned housing, looks like it could have a tough road ahead.

We have though a couple of new announcements that just might assist the country’s housing plan. A new “Capacity & Capability’ report released by PrefabNZ says that Kiwi-based housing manufacturing firms and construction companies could deliver 70% of this target, around 7,000 more homes each year from 2020. It’s achievable they say by working together, working smarter and using offsite rather than traditional on-site construction methods.

Another shot in the arm for the KiwiBuild programme is the announcement by the country’s largest sawmilling complex, the Red Stag Group. They plan on investing more than NZ$20 million to build a large-scale CLT plant at their wood-processing site in Rotorua. This follows Xlam’s recent investments in constructing the first New Zealand and Australian CLT manufacturing plants.

Another target set of course is the billion trees in the ground over the next 10 years. That’s 100,000 ha per year – each and every year. With increased numbers of seedlings being planted in nurseries it’s not really anticipated that the effort’s going to get into full swing (if land for new planting can be secured of course) for another few years. To check out the size of the challenge and to really put the target into perspective, check out the graph depicting areas of new planting and restocking in the country from 1991 in the Provisional Estimates of Tree Stock Sales and Forest Planting in 2017 report. It’s just been released by MPI and is contained in the story below.

Finally, in Australia this week, an earlier announcement on the potential purchase of CHH’s Caboolture sawmill (215,000 cubic metres per annum sawlog input) in Queensland has come to fruition. The deal’s just been finalised. From Monday of this week, Associated Kiln Driers (AKD) Softwoods are the new owners of the sawmill. All existing employees have been offered employment and so its business as usual. Enjoy this week’s read.

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Red Stag to invest NZ$20M in CLT plant

Red Stag Group, which runs the largest sawmill in the Southern Hemisphere, plans to invest more than NZ$20 million developing a large-scale cross-laminated timber plant at its wood processing site in Rotorua, New Zealand.

The plant is expected to be operational by mid-2019 and produce more than 50,000 cubic metres of cross-laminated timber within two years, Red Stag Group chief executive Marty Verry said. The company's plans are conditional on draft building standards requiring full chemical penetration of cross-laminated timber being confirmed by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

Red Stag owns the Waipa mill which it bought out of receivership following the collapse of the Central North Island Forest Partnership. It invested more than NZ$100 million developing New Zealand’s first ‘super mill’ on the site, so-called because it can process 1 million tonnes of logs a year and is now expanding its operations to production of cross-laminated timber, where it sees demand increasing in line with the government's KiwiBuild programme which aims to deliver 100,000 affordable houses over the next 10 years.

New Zealand wood manufacturers see big potential opportunities for their industry in the future from engineered wood products, such as cross-laminated timber, which are becoming increasingly popular for multi-storey buildings around the world. They are also gaining traction in New Zealand after recent earthquakes showed wooden buildings outperformed concrete and steel structures. Property developer Bob Jones is erecting the country's tallest wooden office building, at 12 storeys, in central Wellington using the product, while Sumitomo plans to build an 80-story building in Tokyo.

“Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) is a product on a rapid growth curve globally”, Verry said. “It is one of the ‘massive timber’ group of products, along with others such as glulam, that is opening up the mid- and high- rise building market to wood.” Verry said there was strong demand in New Zealand for the wood and praised Nelson company XLam for developing the cross-laminated timber market on its own to date.

"We see the need now for a scale North Island producer so that between us we take the product mainstream," Verry said. “Our vision is that wood will be the norm in mid-rise buildings by 2030, and I can see the KiwiBuild target being achievable in the early 2020s as a result."

The new cross-laminated timber will be produced by the company's Red Stag Wood Solutions division run by managing director Jason Cordes and is expected to generate 40 regional jobs, mostly in Rotorua.

Cordes said the timber has the potential to save thousands of dollars on the cost of housing and mid-rise buildings by reducing material cost, on-site labour costs and construction time, and performs well in earthquakes, where its light weight and ability to flex means it performs better than heavy rigid buildings from concrete and steel, with a very predictable and high fire rating.

“We are also going to be able to help hit Kiwibuild, state housing and private sector targets with this plant”, Cordes said. “We will launch in 2019 and expect to be producing in excess of 50,000m3 of CLT within 2 years. That is the equivalent of around 2,000 housing units.” A modular approach to the factory means more capacity can be bought on as required, he said. The company claims it can reduce construction times by 30 percent.

Forestry Minister Shane Jones welcomed Red Stag's investment plans, noting his "obvious enthusiasm" for the government's 'wood first' policy. "I will be meeting with fellow ministers shortly to discuss how this policy can have greater practical effect,” Jones said.

The government expects to spend NZ$2 billion over the next three years to kick off the KiwiBuild programme targeting 100,000 affordable houses being built over the next decade. Under the programme, the government will buy private developments off the plans and build new houses over the next three years, after which the NZ$2 billion of capital will be recycled as dwellings are sold and reinvested.

Photo: Minister of Forestry Shane Jones and Red Stag Group CEO Marty Verry on the site of the planned CLT factory in Rotorua

For comment from local Council and others to the announcement, click here

Source: BusinessDesk

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Caboolture sawmill sold to AKD

Associated Kiln Driers Softwoods (AKD) and Carter Holt Harvey Woodproducts have finalised the sale of the Caboolture sawmill located at Henzell Road, Caboolture, Queensland with AKD taking ownership from 9 March 2018.

The Caboolture operations processes approximately 215,000 cubic metres of sawlog into a range of timber products for the Queensland and Northern NSW markets. The mill will resume normal operations from Monday 12th March with the intent of no disruption to customers. All existing 120 employees of the Caboolture Mill have been offered on-going employment.

AKD Softwoods is a privately-owned company with a proud history of 60 years in the forest industry. AKD is a vertically integrated forest products business, currently operating activities on six separate sites. AKD proudly services local and international markets through sustainable forestry practices and employing the latest processing technologies available to produce high-quality products.

“We see the Caboolture business as a well-run operation that will be a perfect fit for the AKD Group. The acquisition provides us with a greater range of products to offer our existing customers, and also provides AKD with access to new markets and new customers” said CEO Shane Vicary. “For AKD, it was important that there be no impact on the existing operations and employment. We believe that these assets, being the people and plant, will enhance our future and provide growth and stability.”

“Through our long history we have continued to grow our company through a combination of strategic acquisitions and on-going capital investment in our core business and core activities. The proposed acquisition continues this approach and our commitment to this vibrant industry. We believe that the future demand for quality virgin wood fibre in the Australian and International markets is strong.”

“The access to well managed plantations is at the heart of this transaction. We are committed to working with our key log suppliers and provide our customers with quality locally grown and produced products, from renewable resources. “

Source: AKD

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NZ tree stock sales & forest planting estimates

On 2 March, New Zealand’s Forestry Minister Shane Jones announced that the government’s ambitious programme planned for tree planting across the country will see a gradual rise of tree numbers planted out every year as seedlings become available. From 2022 planting was expected to be in full swing at an annual rate of 110,000 hectares a year.

There are plenty of sceptics who believe that the government won’t get to the billion-tree target over ten years. The Forest Owners Association in a release on the announcement said that “a billion trees represent 100,000 hectares of plantings per year on average. The effective planting start-up year, with seedlings started off this winter, will be 2019. So, first up, 70,000 hectares represents a good beginning to grow the national forest estate which has been static for nearly 20 years.”

To give you a feel for the enormity of the task in front of the Government – and the industry – to meet the lofty goals set, we’ve included a just released report from MPI that provides provisional estimates of the sales of tree stocks and the areas of commercial forest planted last year.

In summary, the total area of forest planting in the winter of 2017 is provisionally estimated from the nursery survey data and associated modelling to be 49,000 hectares. Of this, 44,700 ha was replanting. Only 4,300ha was estimated to be in new planting. Check out Figure 1 on Page 4 of the attached report. This shows new planting figures since 1991. Make no bones about it, the target set of planting 100,000 ha a year for the next 10 years is indeed going to be demanding. The positives taken out of the target though are that as a consequence of the target, the line on the graph that has shown a continued and steady decline in new planting from 1994 will at long last be heading in the right direction.

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Two weeks to go for SWC award nominations

Only two weeks to go to get those award nominations in for those involved in training, in growing, processing and transporting wood and for those who support the industry in the lower South Island of New Zealand through the provision of products and services.

On Friday 25 May, the Southern Wood Council (SWC) in conjunction with New Zealand’s Industry Training Organisation, Competenz, will be running their third annual forestry awards programme in Dunedin. It’s again aimed at all local forestry companies, contractors and transport operators from throughout the lower South Island. For the previous two years, over 350 people have attended the evening. It continues to be the largest industry gathering seen each year within the region.

For the forestry industry in Otago and Southland, the Awards Programme provides a unique opportunity for those involved in training, in growing, processing and transporting wood and for those who support the industry through the provision of products and services to come together and to celebrate success.

It’s the industry’s chance to recognise those who had achieved formal training qualifications over the year, to celebrate through a series of nine major industry awards, the top performers from across the lower South Island and to profile the real contribution that forestry and those working within the industry are making to the economic and social well-being of the region.

For those in the South, mark the dates into your diary. Nominations close on Friday 30 March 2018. If working in the region and you’re not already working on a nomination, get onto it. You have JUST TWO weeks to go. Start to give some thought as to who you can nominate in your or someone else’s company or crew. Who’s made a difference? Who’s really stood out this year? Who deserves to be recognised for their efforts?

Click here to download the 2018 Award Details and Criteria and 2018 Awards Nomination Form

Further details can be found on the SWC website .

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WoodTECH 2018 – Early expressions of interest

After an absence of over eight years, the Forest Industry Engineering Association (FIEA) will this year be focussing the WoodTECH 2018 event on innovations and new technologies around dry-mill and wood manufacturing operations. The previous two WoodTECH events, 2017 and 2015 have both concentrated on sawmill scanning, sawing and green-mill optimisation technologies.

WoodTECH 2017 was a SELL OUT. The WoodTECH 2017 tech series drew in record numbers with over 400 delegates attending the New Zealand and Australian events.

Exhibition booths sold out well in advance of the series being run. In fact, it was the largest gathering yet seen of sawmilling companies, saw-doctors and sawing technology providers from around the globe in Australasia. You can check out just what was covered and who was involved in the 2017 series by clicking here.

What’s being covered in 2018?

New technologies, new processing systems and case studies to showcase “smart operating practices” in dry-mill and wood manufacturing operations will be profiled at the WoodTECH 2018 series this year. At this stage, we plan on covering;

- Robotics and automation and changes being seen in wood manufacturing
- Advances in wood scanning and board optimisation
- Finger-jointing, cross cutting and ripping
- Timber gluing and laminating
- Timber machining
- Kiln drying
- Timber finishing – planning, moulding and surface coating
- Material handling operations
- Mill maintenance - Changes to timber standards
- H&S, training and skills development

Like the 2017 sawmilling event, short focussed presentations, quick-fire technology updates and a large number of exhibitions will be used to provide a unique platform for local mills and manufacturers to learn. It’s anticipated that practical troubleshooting workshops will also be set up for production and operational staff to hear how they can extract the very best performance out of their own timber manufacturing equipment.

Early details on the September event can be found on the event website, Interest in the event is already very keen. If interested in presenting (as a wood producer or tech supplier) as part of the tech series in September, please contact BEFORE Friday 16 March - TODAY. Remember, if possible, case studies or more generic presentations on the technology and how implemented into wood manufacturing operations to improve the company’s operational and financial performance are preferable to product updates.

Note: Information on opportunities for exhibiting will be advertised and sent out in the next couple of months. Early expressions of interest can be made directly with

If wishing to keep updated on developments around the event, you can subscribe to event updates by clicking here.

Changes to the RPBC for 2018

The Radiata Pine Breeding Company (RPBC) has kicked off the year with news of a new appointment and an exciting partnership.

Hot off the press is the announcement of Mark Paget as RPBC’s new Tree Improvement Manager. With a background in plant and animal breeding, Mark is currently working for Plant and Food Research at Lincoln. RPBC’s CEO, Brent Guild, said he was delighted Mark had accepted the role and that he will commence with RPBC on April 30 this year.

“We are a very small company and Mark adds much needed depth in his core role as resident quantitative geneticist,” said Mr Guild. The appointment will see Mark located at the University of Canterbury’s School of Forestry in Christchurch, where he will be close to RPBC’s primary assets north of Christchurch, and to New Zealand’s largest germplasm producer, Proseed. Mark’s placement at Christchurch will also add depth and breadth to the company’s relationship with the School of Forestry as a research provider.

Professor and Head of the School of Forestry, Bruce Manley, said the school welcomes the opportunity to host Mark. “The School of Forestry already has strong links with RPBC. This will further strengthen the relationship and we are really excited about the potential interactions with our undergraduate teaching and postgraduate research,” Mr Manley said.

In other news, RPBC has successfully negotiated the entry of its largest shareholder into the Genomics Selection Partnership programme. Forestry Corporation of New South Wales has remained outside the programme for the last four years but has now joined the programme as a bona fide member.

Forestry Corporation of NSW’s CEO, Nick Roberts, said, “Forestry Corporation is delighted to be part of the genomics programme and it is great that shareholders can all work together on operational and pure research around genetic improvement of Radiata Pine.”

Source: RPBC

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ForestTECHx series welcomed in Canada

Innovatek has successfully expanded its long-running ForestTECH remote sensing and inventory management technology series to include Canada. The popular conference series has long been drawing large audiences of professional foresters in both Australia and New Zealand. Last week the team took the conference to Canada with delegates coming from Canada, Chile, Europe and USA.

The latest forest mapping and harvest planning technologies were the topic of the day at ForestTECHx event that ran in Vancouver last Wednesday. The sold-out event was packed full of information on the pace of change and how satellite, LiDAR and photogrammetric imagery is changing how we measure and manage our forests.

In addition, how automated measuring and monitoring systems in harvesters have been proven to lift log grades and outturn was a key theme being covered at the event. The conference was organised by long-time tech transfer specialists, Innovatek Ltd from New Zealand in partnership with Canada’s Logging & Sawmilling Journal.

Further details from the event will be covered in future issues of Friday Offcuts and on the monthly ForestTECH newsletter,

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Solution to KiwiBuild is NZ made

The capacity to build more quality homes is already within New Zealand, instead of overseas, new research from PrefabNZ shows. Instead of shipping in from abroad, the PrefabNZ ‘Capacity & Capability’ report demonstrates that Kiwi-based housing manufacturing firms and construction companies can deliver for KiwiBuild using offsite methods.

Through using innovative building methods, PrefabNZ Members say they could deliver around 7,000 more homes each year from 2020. This would deliver 70% of KiwiBuild's target of 10,000 homes per year over ten years. In fact, manufacturers and builders surveyed by PrefabNZ say they are ready to reinvest around 8% of revenue, and up to 20% in some cases, to deliver KiwiBuild.

“This is astonishing news,” says PrefabNZ Chief Executive Pamela Bell. “New Zealand housing manufacturers and builders are telling us that they are willing to forego some profit in the short term to deliver KiwiBuild. This research is economic proof that our innovative construction industry does not need a big multi-national outsider in order to deliver on the KiwiBuild promise.”

“We can have several New Zealand businesses using innovative building methods working together, using homegrown materials and sharing specialist expertise. For example, different companies might make wall panels, or roof pieces or bathroom pods, or any of the elements that go into a building.”

In the words of PrefabNZ Board Chair, Lauren Christie: “This Capacity & Capability report is well timed to demonstrate the latent capacity and commitment of the innovative construction sector to deliver better homes for Kiwis under the KiwiBuild banner.”

Mark Farmer, author of the game-changing United Kingdom report ‘Modernise or Die’ agrees that offsite is an important part of the KiwiBuild solution. His experience in the UK shows how government officials have taken on board the advice he provided in his 2016 report where he showed how 25% of the British construction industry would be gone in the next 10 years as workers retired.

A year after the Farmer Review, the British Government committed to prioritising offsite building methods for several Departments, including transport, health, education, justice and defence.

Mark is now here in New Zealand to discuss what New Zealand needs to do to take full advantage of innovative building methods. Mark’s appearance at last week’s annual CoLab event in Auckland is in partnership with the Industry Transformation Agenda, a bold programme to transform the entire building and construction sector led by BRANZ.

Source: Prefab NZ

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Streamlining applications to clarify forestry investment

The Forest Owners Association says streamlining the application process for overseas investment in New Zealand forests is a major step forward and will make clear to potential investors that New Zealand has a positive forest future.

In last week’s issue we covered the announcement by the Associate Minister of Finance David Parker that cutting rights will be brought under the scope of the Overseas Investment Office, but the application process will be streamlined and cutting rights for forest land under 1,000 hectares, or for less than three years, will not need to go through the OIO.

Forest Owners Association President Peter Clark says he is reassured that the government intends to make the whole OIO process more straightforward, for both forest land ownership, and cutting rights.

“We have always acknowledged that overseas investment in New Zealand forests is a privilege and not a right. But our members have increasingly found that to make a successful application takes a huge amount of time and expense and then they would then have to seek new approvals for each individual transaction.”

“David Parker says these unnecessary impediments are to be removed, including the counterfactual test. Today’s statement may not be ideal from our point of view, but it is certainly an improvement on the current regime and clarifies the signal that the government is serious about achieving a planting target of a billion trees over ten years,” Peter Clark says.

David Parker says the government decision to include cutting rights in the scope of the OIO was necessary before the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans Pacific Partnership came into force.

Peter Clark accepts this has caused a rush to develop policy, but he says the forest industry will be making full use of the brief period of public consultation and reference to a Select Committee.

“The forest industry in this country is massive. It represents a huge ongoing investment both by New Zealanders and from overseas. We have to make sure that legislation and other rules which are approved are realistic and practicable. That process can’t be rushed.”

Source: Forest Owners Association

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Latest quarterly Timber Market Survey results released

The December quarter 2017 TMS has shown upward price movements for untreated MGP10 and MGP12 products ranging between 0.4% and 1.4%, while treated F7 products showed upward price movements of around 0.8%. Prices for outdoor softwood products also increased over the quarter, with movements that ranged between 1.4% and 4.7%. Prices for most panel products and other engineered wood products remained stable or showed moderate increases up to 1.4%.

TMS results for hardwood structural products have shown upward price movements over the six months to December 2017, which ranged between 1.6% and 7.2%; with green sawn products recording the largest price movements. Prices for hardwood flooring products also moved upwards and ranged between 1.5% and 6.8%, with the largest price movements being seen in southern state timber species - Victorian ash and Tasmanian oak.

The TMS collects price data through quarterly surveys of a representative sample of timber market participants in eastern Australia. All quarterly TMS reports contain price movement information for softwood timber, panel and engineered wood products. The June and December quarter editions also include price movement information for hardwood timber products surveyed over a six-month period.

The TMS is prepared by Indufor and funded by nine major Australian forestry organisations: Forestry Corporation of NSW; VicForests; Hancock Victorian Plantations; HQPlantations; OneFortyOne Plantations; Queensland Government Department of Agriculture and Fisheries; Green Triangle Forest Products; AKD Softwoods; and Sustainable Timber Tasmania.
Further information and the latest Timber Market Survey report is available from

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NSW forestry women press for progress

The theme for this year’s International Women’s day, ‘Press for Progress’, has provided the impetus for New South Wales Forestry Corporation to move toward greater gender diversity in their organisation. Women working out of the Eden Forestry office are representative of this continued press for change.

“There is a still a lot we could do, and there is a gender equality strategy in place, and teams working on that,” production leader Amba Addinsall said. “I think overall the Eden office is showcasing where we are at as an industry.”

The women occupy different roles including a seasonal firefighter, ecologist, production leader, harvest contractor and senior planner. They also undertake a diverse array of activities including threatened species survey-work, road traffic control, animal management, harvest planting, and mapping just to name a few.

Australian forestry is a traditionally male-dominated industry. According to the Forest Corporation of NSW Annual Report (2016-2017),18.7% of its workforce are women, a percentage that the Eden office, and the organisation more broadly are determined to see change.

Senior harvest planner Julia Clark has been with the organisation for ten years and in that time has seen a pleasing shift in both the numbers of women entering the workplace and attitudes toward women. “When I first started there was no other female in the forest,” she said. “In the early days you had to fit in with the boys, now it is more equal.”

Ms Addinsall has been able to take advantage of flexible work hours to maintain her role in management, as well as a parent. “Over the course of my employment I have had three children,” she said. “Being able to work part-time has made it work for me.”

Seasonal firefighter, Hayley Brightmore, said that flexible hours and working conditions are a good fit for women who wish to work and travel. “I moved up here from working in Victoria. I love this area, but you can move anywhere with the job,’ she said.

Over the past year, women have formed 36.75% of the Forestry NSW corporations job applicant base, 35% of the interview base and 41% of the successful applicant base.

Seasonal firefighter Brianna Larkham said that social perceptions might be informing some women’s decisions not to apply for a job. “I think it is societal stigma more than an actual problem,” she said. “Women aren’t applying for it because they don’t think they will get it.”

Ms Addinsall said that there is still work to be done mainly around gendered expectations. “If you come to work with a clean pair of overalls it often means you will have to get used to being treated like a new starter, and that you don’t know what you are doing. There is a bit of that,” she said. “I just wear dirty overalls,” harvest contractor and production assistant Sharon Fyffe said.

Shifting language and behaviours is also an important priority within the Eden office, and the organisation. “This is an office and a workplace, you are getting paid, there are certain standards of language which we are starting to talk about and calling each other out on it,” Ms Addinsall said.

Men working for the organisation are also helping to change the office and workplace culture. “The men in our organisation are really supportive, and want to help make change happen, Ms Addinsall said. “That the onus is not on us all the time is really important. Everyone should be part of the same conversation,” Ms Clark said. “It should be less of an ‘us and them’ and more of an ‘all of us’. That is progress.”

Source & Photo (Hayley Brightmore, Sharon Fyffe, Amba Addinsall, Julia Clark, Brianna Larkham and Jess Peterie.),

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NZ’s largest pine-to-native forest project

The last pine trees have been felled in a major Hawke’s Bay conservation project that aims to convert a 4,000-hectare pine plantation back to regenerating native forest. Over 3,500 hectares of the Maungataniwha Pine Forest have now been logged since 2006 and are now in the process of being re-converted back to native forest by land owner Simon Hall, Chairman of the Forest Lifeforce Restoration Trust.

The land lies adjacent to the Maungataniwha Native Forest, a 6,120-hectare swathe of New Zealand bush straddling the ridge system between the Te Hoe and Waiau Rivers in northern Hawkes Bay, bordered to the north by Te Urewera National Park and to the west by the Whirinaki Conservation Forest.

The conversion of the Maungataniwha Pine Forest is the largest project of its kind in New Zealand. It is the Forest Lifeforce Restoration Trust’s biggest and most expensive single undertaking. The FLR Trust has gradually been taking over control of the block from Matariki Forests, which has held the licence to log the pine. The aim is to re-vegetate the area with indigenous forest.

There is sufficient native species seed in the soil to enable natural regeneration but the major challenge, and cost, is the elimination of regenerating pine seedlings which crowd out the slower growing native forest species.

The grasses are the first to take hold; native species like hookgrass and toetoe. Then shrubs or small trees like mahoe and wineberry. These are followed by mountain cabbage-tree, kanuka and native fuschia. Once these species have re-colonised the land the stage is set for larger stuff such as red and silver beech. Native birds such as kereru and silvereyes play a vital role in the regeneration.

It takes a decade to clear logged land of wilding pines completely and to get it to the point where it can be described as fully regenerated. During this time the land is nurtured, treated and monitored by the FLRT to ensure that the species they expect to appear do so.

About a third of the area, 1,400 hectares, can now be described as clear of regenerating pines and successfully regenerated with native species. The Trust, which was established in 2006 to provide direction and funding for the restoration of threatened species of native fauna and flora in forests within the Central North Island, uses a mix of aerial spraying and manual clearance methods.

DOC is interested in the land stewardship methods and spray mix used by the Trust to encourage the growth of native plants while inhibiting these ‘wilding’ pines. “Conservation in New Zealand is no longer the preserve of government agencies,” said Trust Chairman Simon Hall. “The job’s too big and complex. Everyone has a role to play, ideally working together as much as they can.

Source: Scoop

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Minginui Nursery to get NZ$5.8 million

Ngati Whare Holdings' Minginui Nursery is the latest beneficiary of Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones's provincial growth fund, securing NZ$5.8 million over the next three years to scale up its seedling production.

The funding will help the nursery, based in Bay of Plenty's Whirinaki Forest Park, expand its workforce tenfold to 90 and grow up to 1 million trees a year, Jones said in a statement. The two-year-old nursery focuses on native trees and is the first in the country to use a Scion-developed technique to propagate indigenous podocarps, the tree family including totara, rimu, kahikatea, mata? and miro.

"With the government committed to seeing one billion trees planted over the next 10 years, we need to work with nurseries and help them increase production to ensure enough seedlings – both exotics and indigenous – are available to be planted," Jones said. "Ng?ti Whare Holdings has already proven it can operate a nursery on commercial terms, employ and train local people and the government is happy to partner with such businesses."

The NZ$1 billion a year provincial growth fund to fund regional economic initiatives has formed a key component of the coalition agreement between the Labour and New Zealand First parties to help reinvigorate the provinces, which both parties claimed had been left behind under the previous administration. Last month Jones announced NZ$61.7 million for regional programmes when he officially launched the fund.

Jones today said Minginui was planned as a forestry town and built in the late 1940s, but its population had dwindled since a sawmill was closed in the late 1980s and just 1,300 people now live in the wider area with fewer than 300 in the town proper.

"Community development is the key driver for the nursery’s move to increase its production of forestry grade native seedlings to an industrial scale," Jones said. "With the PGF’s help, Minginui Nursery can play its part in rejuvenating the region, contributing to employment and skills development and better social outcomes for the community."

Ng?ti Whare Holdings set up the nursery to establish an operation capable of scaling up native plant forestry, providing local employment and ultimately earn a commercial return for Ngati Whare, which is one of the eight Central North Island iwi which signed the NZ$400 million Treaty of Waitangi settlement over Crown forest licence lands, known as Treelords. The iwi's settlement, including the Central North Island forest component, was valued at NZ$15.7 million.

Source: BusinessDesk

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China’s environment tax law comes into effect

As part of its efforts to fight against pollution, China rolled out its first environment protection tax law on 1 January. The tax law, which replaced a decades-long pollutant discharge fee system, targets enterprises and public institutions that discharge listed pollutants directly into the environment, including heavy polluters such as furniture manufacturers across the country. Companies will pay taxes for producing noise, air and water pollutants, as well as solid waste, according to the law.

Provincial-level governments can decide the tax rates in the range given by the law based on the local situation. Under the new law, take instance of a furniture manufacturer who enjoys an annual revenue of 50 million yuan, the company may report an overall tax rate of 300,000 yuan to 700,000 yuan, meaning an up to 2% increase on the factory price of its product, according to industry analysts.

China has collected a “pollutant discharge fee” since 1979, however, some local governments exploit loopholes and exempt enterprises which are otherwise big contributors to fiscal revenue. Now, such interference from local governments will be reduced since any tax reduction and exemption has to go through strict approval procedures and be documented.

Tackling pollution has been listed as one of “the three tough battles” that China aims to win in the next three years, according to the Central Economic Work Conference that concluded in December. The environmental tax – which will levy fees according to discharges of sulphur dioxide, sewage and other contaminants – is intended as a disincentive for polluting industries, many of which have flocked to China to take advantage of low costs and weak regulations.

“The launch of the environmental tax is more serious than the pollutant discharge fee system and marks China’s first real effort to use financial mechanisms to curb pollution,” Liang Yinlei, Partner of Tax Department at Ernst & Young Great China, said. “Some manufacturers may buy more environmental friendly equipment to reduce its sewage waste in order to pay less tax,” he added.

Official data showed from January to November, China investigated over 35,600 violations of environmental protection laws and regulations, up more than 102 percent from 2016 year-on-year.


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Buy and Sell

... and one to end the week on ... a few for St Patricks day tomorrow

Muldoon lived alone in the Irish countryside with only a pet dog for company.

One day the dog died, and Muldoon went to the parish priest and asked, Father, me dog is dead. Could ya' be saying' A mass for the poor creature?'

Father Patrick replied, 'I'm afraid not; we cannot have services for an animal in the church. But there are some Baptists down the lane, and there's no tellin' what they believe. Maybe they'll do something for the creature.'

Muldoon said, 'I'll go right away Father. Do ya' think €5,000 is enough to donate to them for the service?'

Father Patrick exclaimed, 'Sweet Mary and Joseph. Why didn't ya tell me the dog was Catholic?'

Paddy wanted to be an accountant, so he went and took the Irish accountancy exam.

Examiner: If I give you two rabbits and then I give you another two rabbits, how many rabbits do you have?

Paddy: Five.

Examiner: No, listen carefully again. If I give you two rabbits and then I give you another two rabbits, how many rabbits have you got?

Paddy: Five.

Examiner: Let's try this another way. If I give you two bottles of beer and then I give you another two bottles of beer, how many bottles of beer have you got?

Paddy: Four.

Examiner: Good! Now, if I give you two rabbits and then I give you another two rabbits, how many rabbits have you got?

Paddy: Five.

Examiner: How on earth do you work out that two lots of two rabbits is five?

Paddy: I've already got one rabbit at home!

I met a man the other day named Flanagan and I said, 'You're a happy man.'

He said, 'I am.'

I said, 'Why?'

'Well,' he said, 'the Income Tax people have been after me for 20 years, driving me mad, to get money out of me, driving me crazy with worry. But, this morning I got a letter from them and it said: FINAL NOTICE.'

'Thank God,' he said, 'I won't be hearing from them again.'

And on that note, enjoy your weekend and go easy on any St Patrick's Day celebrations you may have planned. 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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