Friday Offcuts – 12 April 2019

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Six weeks ago we highlighted the growing concerns of the timber industry, contractors and regional communities across Victoria. The Victorian Government has been delaying the release of plans which will enable the industry to continue to access native timber reserves for logging. It was then already a year overdue. The announcement is still yet to be made. Tim Johnston, CEO of VAFI commented that the Victorian Agriculture Minister, Jaclyn Symes, is giving basically the same response to repeated questions from industry; “We’re working on it . . . we need to get the balance right.”

A renewed call for action went out again this week from three major industry associations. Native forestry contractors in Gippsland are reported to be struggling to meet their contracted supplies, have no money to pay the bills, and many are reporting a growing sense of despair not knowing where they stand – and if in fact, they still have a future. The longer those affected are kept in the dark, their businesses, their families and workers and the communities in which they work are being hit hard.

In New Zealand this week, environmental groups have produced a report to feed into the Government’s review of the National Environmental Standards for Plantation Forestry that came into force last May. Worker safety and logs and debris that were left strewn around Tologa Bay following the storm events of June last year are both being used by the Environmental Defence Society and Forest and Bird to push their case. It’s received its fair share of media attention this week. According to the report, environmental risks around plantation forestry suggest that the current rules currently are too light. Details and a link to the full report are contained in the story below.

As we’ve reported in previous issues, the USA is facing similar issues as NZ and Australia in finding enough workers to fill the current shortage of forestry contractors. The Future Logging Careers Act has just been passed by both the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate. It’s one solution they’ve come up with to help meet future workforce needs and at the same time, support small, family-owned businesses – the back bone of logging operations in more remote locations across the U.S. It’s going to enable 16- and 17-year-olds to work in mechanized logging operations under parental supervision. The move has warmly been welcomed by the American Loggers Council.

And finally, in line with the wood harvesting theme, registrations continue to pour in for the 26-27 June HarvestTECH 2019 event ( in Rotorua. Already, we have around 50 Australian and Canadian delegates signed up – in addition to kiwis from across the country. It’s going to be a full house. All exhibition spaces, including the largest line up of new harvesting machines and equipment yet seen at this event, have been sold. If interested in securing a registration for you or your crew to the event, the message here is that you should do this sooner, rather than later. That’s it for this week.

Please note, before moving on to one of this week's stories, if planning on placing an advert into next week's issue, because of Easter, your usual Friday issue is going to be coming out first thing on Thursday morning. If wanting to place an advert, to avoid missing out, it needs to be uploaded or with us no later than 4pm (NZ time) on Wednesday afternoon.

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New settings proposed for plantation forestry

The Environmental Defence Society (EDS) and Forest & Bird have this week released an analysis of the current regulations governing plantation forestry in New Zealand. The analysis calls for a fundamental reset of the rules to better protect the environment.

The report A Review of the Resource Management (National Environmental Standards for Plantation Forestry Regulations 2017 was co-authored by Madeleine Wright, Sally Gepp and Dr David Hall.

It’s designed to provide input into the Government’s own review of the National Environmental Standard for Plantation Forestry 2017 (NES-PF) which is underway, led by the Ministry for Primary Industries.

“EDS and Forest and Bird decided to jointly prepare this report because of increasing public concern about the impacts of commercial forestry in light of events like the Tolaga Bay devastation,” said co-author Sally Gepp.

“The concerns focused on the sense that the current regulatory approach was light-touch which was inappropriate for such a high-risk sector. The industry is high-risk in terms of worker safety but also environmental impacts especially from slash and sediment. We make three key observations in our report”.

“First, the NESPF’s approach to afforestation and replanting is too permissive and needs to be re-examined. Greater stringency needs to be applied. This is especially the case if we are to plant a billion trees”.

“Secondly, the NESPF’s presumption that plantation forestry activities should be a permitted activity needs to be revisited. This is fundamental if we are to ensure appropriate oversight of the sector”.

“Thirdly, in most instances, the adverse environmental impacts of clear-fell harvesting are significant. Therefore, policy needs to be developed to facilitate a transition to more sustainable methods. Slash and sediment must be better controlled and that may require staged harvesting rather than present methods”.

“Forest & Bird and EDS would welcome ongoing engagement with stakeholders on our Report,” Sally Gepp concluded.

Download the report here.

For further commentary from environmental groups on the report and rules governing forestry in NZ, click here

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Still no answer on Timber Release Plan

The peak industry groups representing the thousands of men and women in Victoria who gain a livelihood from timber and forest industries are demanding that the Andrews Government immediately release an updated Timber Release Plan and deliver certainty regarding Regional Forest Agreements.

The Australian Forest Contractors Association (AFCA), the Victorian Association of Forest Industries (VAFI) and the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA), have united in an unprecedented show of force to deliver the strongest of messages possible to the Victorian Labor Government.

AFCA CEO, Stacey Gardiner, called the Victorian Government’s actions ‘completely unconscionable behaviour.’ “The Timber Release Plan was due a year ago. The Government appears to be drip feeding snippets of information to the media promising that some release is due sometime. This is playing with the lives of Victorians who expect more care and concern from their Government. Native contractors in Gippsland are struggling to meet their contracted supply, have no money to pay the bills, and many are reporting a growing sense of despair,” she said.

VAFI CEO, Tim Johnston, said politics should play no part in the security of people’s well-being. “But for months now that’s what the Andrews Government has been doing to hard-working Victorians in the native timber industry. The Government’s ongoing failure to approve a new Timber Release Plan is on the verge of bringing the hardwood industry to a standstill and is having a detrimental impact on the mental health of those affected. The Andrews Government has turned its back on these timber workers. This has gone on for too long. More than 1600 directly affected regional workers are at desperation point,” he said.

AFPA CEO, Ross Hampton, said the failure of the release of the timber plan is part of a larger wrong the Government is committing to regional workers and regional communities. “The Government claims it is in the process of modernising Regional Forest Agreements, which are the agreed management processes used across Australia to manage the environmental, social and economic balance in using our precious forest resources,” he said.

“Regional Forest Agreements have been signed between the Commonwealth Government and the State Governments of NSW, Tasmania and the Labor Government of Western Australia. The industry is deeply suspicious that the behaviour of the Victorian Government suggests that ‘modernising’ means that the Victorian Government actually is planning a reduction of area available for harvest. This would be ridiculous as only six per cent of the Victorian timber estate is available and suitable for harvest now and any further reduction beyond the thousands of hectares which have been added to national parks would potentially drive the industry and the regional jobs which rely on it into collapse”.

“State and Federal Governments of all persuasions have understood for twenty years that Regional Forest Agreements provide certainty that environmental values will be maintained, and timber processing allowed at a very modest scale. The Victorian Andrews Government may be the first to turn its back on that established practice and science,” Mr Hampton said.

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13,000ha planting reached through joint ventures

The Government’s One Billion Trees programme is realising economic, environmental and social benefits across regional New Zealand through its forestry joint venture agreements, just a year after it was launched, Forestry Minister Shane Jones has announced.

A total of 21 joint ventures have been signed between Te Uru Rākau (Forestry New Zealand) – the lead agency of the Programme - and landowners across the country.

The latest joint ventures to be signed are with Te Uri o Hau which will see 2843 hectares of plantation forestry planted on the Pouto Peninsula in Kaipara; and Tapuwae Inc covering up to 800 hectares in the Tapuwae Forest in Hokianga.

“Te Uri o Hau is the second largest planting initiative for the One Billion Trees Programme to date,” Forestry Minister Shane Jones said. “This brings the total planting area across joint ventures to 13,000 hectares – over halfway to our total of 24,000 hectares.

“These agreements are seeing planting and silviculture jobs created that weren’t there before, they’re offering landowners, including Māori, the ability to diversify income and improve land productivity, and they’re creating real environmental and social benefits too.

“We are seeing a huge amount of goodwill and interest with over 260 enquiries from a wide range of landowners and a further 35 properties totalling 10,000ha currently under negotiation.

“Along with these joint ventures, the new One Billion Trees Fund launched in November is offering simple and direct grants to landowners who are looking to integrate trees into their landscapes with over 700 enquiries to the Fund.

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EOI - Woodflow Logistix Conference 2019

Call for Speakers

The conference team at Innovatek, Logging & Sawmilling Journal and TimberWest are pleased to announce their latest industry conference for leading forestry, wood products and transport companies for 2019.

Woodflow Logistix covers all aspects of the wood supply chain from forest to mill for the west coast operations in North America. The conference theme for 2019 is Global Technology Advances for Wood Supply Chain Operations.

Our Woodflow Logistix 2019 conference is scheduled for October 22nd & 23rd, 2019 at the Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel in Richmond, Vancouver, Canada. This conference will be providing practical tools, new innovations and key insights to help improve planning, logistics and operations within the wood supply chain.

We’re currently working closely with international technology leaders, logging transport contractors, service providers, researchers and industry and government agencies to develop a strong and innovative programme.

If you are keen to be a speaker at our conference and you are an early adopter, developer, innovator, contractor, technology supplier, service provider or researcher within the wood transport & logistics sector, we’d like to hear from you.

This upcoming Woodflow Logistix conference includes sessions on:

- Disruptive technologies reshaping business operations within the wood supply chain
- Innovations in log scaling, measurement and tracking
- Remote sensing and real-time tracking of logs and wood products
- Advances in automated log measurement and materials handling
- New digital platforms to improve data connectivity and data transfer
- Autonomous trucking and platooning technologies
- Advances in hydrogen and electric prime motors
- Opportunities with robotics, augmented and virtual reality & machine learning

If you are interested in being considered as a speaker, or would like to recommend an early adopter, case study or international expert, please contact conference organizers:

Anthony Robinson,+1 604-990-9970,,

or John Stulen, +64 27 275 8011,

More information can be found at the event website:

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AU$4.2m Tasmanian forestry grants announced

Eight Tasmanian research projects covering the "whole supply chain of the forestry industry" have been funded, Minister for Forestry Sarah Courtney said on 6 April. The grants are the result of the second round of the Launceston Centre of the National Institute for Forest Products Innovation, jointly funded by the state and federal governments, and industry.

They include a project 'applying the Internet of Things to landscape scale wedge-tailed eagle management', implementing eucalypt genome selection, and exploring the feasibility of a pellet-based industry in Tasmania.

Tasmanian senator and Federal Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Richard Colbeck said the projects added up to AU$4.2 million. "This will have a transformational effect on many aspects of Australia's forest industry," he said.


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Supercluster to help forest resource management

Lim Geomatics is thrilled to play a part in the next chapter of Canadian innovation that will see homegrown companies play a much bigger role in the world economy for big data and digital technology.

The rubber recently hit the road for Canada’s Innovation Superclusters Initiative—the $950-million federal government plan for jumpstarting public-private collaboration to accelerate global competitiveness—with the announcement of the first wave of funded projects. On March 5, Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster, which is based in Vancouver and one of five hubs of innovation located across the country, launched seven projects that will drive digital transformation in Canada’s natural resources, healthcare, and industrial sectors.

The Forest Machine Connectivity project is a joint effort by Canfor, TimberWest, Lim Geomatics, FP Innovations, and UBC’s Faculty of Forestry to future-proof Canada’s wood products manufacturing industry. The project will use an Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) platform, which is a network of ‘smart’ devices that can monitor, collect, exchange, analyze, and deliver valuable insights. The insights and data delivered will allow contractors, machine operators, and forest managers to identify bottlenecks and improve productivity in real time and develop best practices throughout the supply chain.

“The Forest Machine Connectivity project signals a new era of real-time operational insight for logging contractors, machine operators, and forest managers,” says Dr. Kevin Lim, president and chief technology officer for Lim Geomatics. “Over the past decade, we’ve developed an array of digital geospatial tools for the natural resources sector. We’re excited to apply this expertise alongside our Supercluster partners to accelerate the digital transformation of Canada’s forest industry.”

For more information on Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster, visit: Comment on story    

World’s largest single arch timber hangar announced

Air New Zealand will begin construction on the largest single span timber arch aircraft hangar in the world at its engineering base in Auckland later this year.

‘Hangar 4’ will be large enough to house a wide body aircraft such as the airline’s 777-300 or 787-9 Dreamliner, and two narrow body aircraft such as the A320 or A321neo, at the same time.

The new 10,000 square metre timber hangar will be a 5-6 Green Star development certified by the New Zealand Green Building Council, meaning it will meet the highest standards of sustainable building construction and operation.

A double-layer insulated fabric roof will enable the hangar to retain heat without the need for a heating system, while several large ceiling fans will circulate warm air back down to floor level in winter and provide a cooling effect in summer.

Air New Zealand Chief Ground Operations Officer Carrie Hurihanganui says the hangar has been designed with input from the airline’s Engineering & Maintenance employees to ensure it is fit for purpose.

“It was really important to us the team that will work in this space day-to-day be involved in the design process. Our existing hangars were built in the 1960s and 1980s and while they have served us well, our fleet has grown both in number and in physical size over the past decades. We now have a need for a more modern, innovative structure that takes energy use and other sustainability factors into account”.

The two-year construction programme is expected to start towards the end of this year.

Source: Air NZ

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Mega mast confirmed for NZ forests

Monitoring by the Department of Conservation has confirmed the predicted mega mast or heavy seeding in New Zealand’s forests this autumn, Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage said this week.

Results from extensive seed sampling across the country in February and March point to the biggest beech mast for more than 40 years with exceptionally heavy seed loads in South Island forests. Rimu forests and tussock grasslands in the South Island are also seeding heavily.

Forest seeding provides a bonanza of food for native species but also fuels rodent and stoat plagues that will pose a serious threat to native birds and other wildlife as predator populations build up next spring and summer.

Eugenie Sage said that new funding of NZ$81.2 million in Budget 2018 over four years had enabled DOC to scale up its predator control programme to respond to the threat posed by the mega mast.

“DOC is planning its largest-ever predator control programme for 2019/2020, at a cost of NZ$38 million, to suppress rats, stoats and possums over about one million hectares or 12 per cent of conservation land.

“This is a step up from the previous largest programme of 840,000 ha in 2016 and 600,000 ha in 2014 and 2017 when there were significant but smaller mast events.

“Responding to the increased threat from introduced predators during such a big mast year is critical if we are to retain our unique native species that set New Zealand apart from the rest of the world.

DOC’s seed sampling programme involved snipping branches by helicopter from over 8000 beech and rimu trees at nearly 200 sites across the North and South Islands and counting more than three million seed pods from 43,000 samples. More than 1000 tussock plants were also monitored at 63 sites. The estimate of seed-fall this autumn informs predator control planning.

Priority sites for predator control include Kahurangi, Abel Tasman, Arthur’s Pass, Westland, Mt Aspiring and Fiordland national parks, the Catlins and Whirinaki. The programme includes more than 66,000 ha of trapping with the remainder (more than 900,000 ha) aerial 1080 operations.

Aerially applied 1080 is the only tool currently available that can effectively knock down rodents over large areas before they reach plague levels after a beech mast. Numerous studies show that it protects vulnerable wildlife and allows birds to produce more chicks to sustain and build their populations.

While most sites have been confirmed and are at an advanced stage of planning, predator control operations will only proceed at mast sites from May this year if rodents reach levels that pose a threat to wildlife.

The Department has been consulting with iwi partners, regional councils and other pest control agencies, community groups and neighbouring landowners in recent months as part of its planning.

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Western Australia RFA extension welcomed

A vital milestone for Western Australia’s and the whole country’s forest industries has been achieved with the extension of the WA Regional Forest Agreement (RFA) for an additional 20-years. The landmark agreement signed off by Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, and WA Premier, Mark McGowan, has been welcomed by the Forest Industries Federation of WA (FIFWA) and the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA).

“The RFA is a key element in the regulatory architecture governing the timber industry. Forestry and timber industry stakeholders in WA have been waiting a long time for this extension and for the certainty it provides to allow them to plan and invest for the future,” FIFWA Acting Chief Executive Officer, Mr Matt Granger said.

The WA RFA establishes a bilateral framework recognising the State’s comprehensive, adequate and representative (CAR) reserve system within the South West region and provides for the sustainable management of public multi-use forests and plantations and for a long-term sustainable native forest products industry.

The Forest Management Plan 2014-2023 (FMP) remains the primary framework for managing forests and plantations on public land in WA. The RFA is an administrative agreement between the State and the Commonwealth that recognises WA’s forest management system processes are based on the principles of ecologically sustainable forest management and are sufficiently robust to address impacts on environmental values.

“We appreciate the work of the WA and Commonwealth Governments in consulting with stakeholders and implementing improvements to aspects of process relating to the RFA. This conclusion follows the completion of the NSW RFA last year and the Tasmanian RFA prior to that. Unfortunately, there is a delay on a final RFA in Victoria until at least next year,” AFPA Chief Executive Officer, Mr Ross Hampton said.

“With its 20-year rolling horizon, subject to five-yearly reviews, the extended WA RFA provides stability to the regulatory framework that is essential for investment and employment in WA’s AU$1.4 billion per year industry. In WA, forest industries provide jobs for thousands of people and underpin numerous regional communities and economies. Those people can now be assured their children will have productive jobs in our renewable industries,” Mr Hampton concluded.

Source: AFPA

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Meeting the workforce needs of American loggers

American Loggers Council welcomes launch of Future Logging Careers Act, saying allowing 16- and 17-year-olds to work in mechanized logging operations under parental supervision will help meet future workforce needs while supporting small family businesses

The American Loggers Council (ALC) has applauded the introduction of the bipartisan Future Logging Careers Act in both the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate. The legislation amends the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to allow 16- and 17-year-olds to work in mechanized logging operations under parental supervision.

"As professional timber harvesters we are deeply committed to promoting safety in the woods, and on the roads, in the hope that someday logging is not included in the annual list of 'America's Most Dangerous Professions."

"As with many industries today, logging is facing a shortage of workers now and into the future," said ALC Executive Vice President Daniel Dructor. "It will be increasingly difficult for our industry to meet the strong domestic demand for lumber, paper, and other wood products essential for our nation. The Future Logging Careers Act is one solution will help the logging industry meet its future workforce needs while supporting small, family-owned businesses."

Dructor said the Future Logging Careers Act would extend an existing agricultural exemption, now enjoyed by family farmers and ranchers, to enable family-owned logging businesses to train their sixteen- and seventeen-year-old sons and daughters in mechanized timber harvesting. The exemption would ensure that the next generation of mechanized timber harvesters can gain the needed on-the-ground training and experience under the close supervision of their parents who have a vested interest in their children's safety and in passing down the profession to the next generation.

"Like farming and ranching, the timber harvesting profession is often a family run business where the practice and techniques of harvesting and transporting forest products from the forest to receiving mills is passed down from one generation to the next," Dructor said. "Timber harvesting operations are also very similar to family farms with sophisticated and expensive harvesting equipment that requires young family members to learn how to run the business, including equipment operation and maintenance, prior to reaching the age of eighteen."

The Future Logging Careers Act does not permit 16- and 17-year-olds the manual use of chain saws to fell and process timber, nor the use of cable skidders to bring the timber to the landing. This means the legislation is carefully written to give young loggers needed training with mechanized equipment and new technologies.

Source: American Loggers Council

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Nominations open for Richard Stanton Award

Responsible Wood is calling for nominations in this year’s coveted Richard Stanton Memorial Award for Excellence in Forest Management or Chain of Custody. This is the fifth year of the award which pays tribute to a man who devoted his life to sustainable forest management in Australia and internationally.

Richard Stanton was CEO and national secretary of Australian Forestry Standard Ltd (now Responsible Wood), and had a number of key roles with the Australian Plantation Products and Paper Industry Council, the Australian Paper Industry Council, Plantation Timber Association of Australia, National Association of Forest Industries, and State Forests NSW.

Nominations for the award are open to individuals who have contributed significantly to either forest management or chain-of-custody certification under the Responsible Wood certification program. The award nominees will be those who have contributed to sustainable forest management under AS4708 or chain of custody under AS4707.

The award is open to, but not restricted to, forest owners and managers; chain-of-custody certificate holders; staff of certification bodies; forest scientists and researchers; and designers of products manufactured from sustainable timber.

The award also carries an AU$2000 bursary prize.

Applicants for the award will have demonstrated excellence in the following areas:

- A significant and valuable contribution to Sustainability.
- Innovation, Improvement or Excellence in Forest Management or Chain of Custody Certification.
- A strong commitment to the Responsible Wood Certification Scheme and Sustainable Forest Management.
- Innovation and Improvement in the promotion and marketing of Responsible Wood Certified Products

The selection of the successful applicant will be made by the Responsible Wood Marketing Committee and announced at the Annual General Meeting in Mount Gambier on October 22nd October 2019.

Nominations for the award close on October 4, 2019.

Nominations can be forwarded to: Responsible Wood, PO Box 786, New Farm, Qld 4005. Email
Source: Responsible Wood

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Truck boss warns against NZTA moves

A haulage firm ordered off the road by the New Zealand Transport Authority for a series of alleged safety breaches claim a series of similar actions around the country could cripple the Kiwi economy.

Stan Semenoff Logging, a company part-owned by former Whangarei mayor Stan Semenoff, is fighting an NTZA decision to revoke their licence after incurring 119 road safety breaches and has won a High Court injunction to stay on the road until an appeal hearing in May.

The log trucking company is just one of many transport operators facing closure after an NZTA crackdown: the NZTA have issued another 114 'notices of proposals to revoke/suspend' transport operator's licences. Revocations mean the operators must get off the roads.

In the three years to mid-2018, the NZTA issued 66 revocation notices; in the last six months alone, they have handed out 20, including to Semenoff Logging. Last month, they revoked the licences of two Southland operators, Clutha Transport and McDowall Rural Services.

The NZTA action came after Transport Minister Phil Twyford said the agency had failed in its duties as regulator, and the agency appointed lawyers Meredith Connell to address their compliance backlog.

"We think the downstream effect alone of our business being shut down is probably going to affect another 1,000 jobs in the north," said Semenoff Logging general manager Daron Turner. "The infrastructure is stretched anyway so if the service isn't there, the wood doesn't move. We move about NZ$87million of logs a year - that NZ$87m isn't going to get to market.

"That's just one company - now there's another 120 the NZTA is threatening to revoke the licences of, and that will cripple this country's economy. Product will not be able to be moved." Turner said he knew of two other trucking firms in Northland alone which faced revocation notices. "I can't believe that people can't see the implications that this is going to have on the country. I can't believe it's not been on the front pages. We are just one of many."

Zane Cleaver, director of logging firm Pango, said Semenoff Logging trucked 40,000 tonnes of logs a month from his Northland forestry operations, and without them his business would suffer because there were no obvious alternatives: "It simply wouldn't be a matter of us ringing us someone else in the event of these guys getting shut down."

More >>


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Marlborough forestry company wins environmental award

Forest management company Merrill and Ring have been acknowledged for going above and beyond to harvest pines at a sensitive Marlborough site at the top of the South Island, New Zealand. For its work around ecologically significant sites at the Branch River pine plantation in the Upper Wairau Valley, the company took out the forestry category at the 2019 Cawthron Marlborough Environment Awards.

The biennial awards showcase businesses and community projects that protect and enhance the environment. As the property managers for the Branch River pine plantation property - on behalf of Australian landowners New Forests - Merrill and Ring's Blenheim-based team have worked to ensure pine trees are being felled and extracted more carefully and tōtara seed is being collected from the native forest remnants and grown out to seedlings. These will be planted as a wide buffer zone, protected by QEII covenants.

Merrill and Ring technical forester Siobhan Allen said the tōtara project took in an area of around 25 hectares. The company hoped to complete the project within four years but this would be dictated by how long it took for new tōtara seedlings to germinate.

Similar projects that involved taking land out of production and putting it back into riparian areas were anticipated for the rest of the companies they manage, Allen said. Award judges were impressed by the innovative thinking to protect biodiversity and manage slash and sediment, which are industry-wide issues.

"As a management company overseeing thousands of hectares of plantations in Marlborough, Merrill and Ring has potential to influence the industry," they said. "By aiming for best practice, they're showing other forest owners how to make environmental sustainability a priority, while improving health and safety on the hill."

Managing director Kyle Heagney said the recognition was a good way of showing what the company did from an environmental point of view. "Often people can't see what we do because a lot of the properties we manage are a long way from public roads or out of view."

Merrill and Ring manages approximately 15,000 hectares of forested land in New Zealand and selling around 250,000 tonnes of logs annually.


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U.S. trade policy wins WTO approval

A World Trade Organization ruling approved a long-outlawed U.S. trade policy on Tuesday, when a panel of adjudicators said Washington's use of "zeroing" to calculate anti-dumping tariffs was permissible in the case of Canadian softwood lumber.

The WTO's long-running row over zeroing is a technical dispute that turned into a power struggle between the United States and the arbiters of international trade law. The United States has suffered a string of defeats at the WTO over zeroing, a calculation method ruled to have unfairly increased the level of U.S. anti-dumping duties. Zeroing occurs when the investigating authority ignores, by treating as zero, cases where export prices are higher than prices at home. Critics have said this artificially inflates dumping margins.

The repeated losses helped to fuel U.S. President Donald Trump's campaign to reform the WTO, where the United States is blocking appointments at the WTO's Appellate Body, effectively the supreme court of world trade. Trump said last year the United States could withdraw from the WTO if "they don't shape up."

The panel's decision to side with this American argument this time was "really disappointing," Susan Yurkovich, the chief executive of B.C.'s Council of Forest Industries, told CBC News.

"Prior decisions have ruled in Canada's favour," she said. Because this decision represents a departure from past rulings, the industry would support a federal government decision to test it with an appeal.

Yurkovich described the decision overall as "mixed," pointing out the panel did side with Canada in faulting the way the U.S. calculated its anti-dumping duties. Canada launched the WTO dispute in November 2017, saying it would forcefully defend its lumber industry against "unfair, unwarranted and deeply troubling" U.S. tariffs.

Canada has also launched a complaint under the provisions of Chapter 19 of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA.) The first hearing to investigate American claims of injury to its domestic industry is scheduled for May 7.

The U.S. Commerce Department had accused Canada of unfairly subsidizing and dumping softwood lumber, which is commonly used in the construction of homes. Its duties affected about US$5.66 billion ($7.5 billion) worth of imports. In the past, successful trade arbitration has not been enough to end U.S. duties on Canadian lumber. But the prospects for a negotiated settlement this time appear bleak for now.

The U.S. industry is not interested in coming to the table, Yurkovich said, and she doesn't see any meaningful or satisfactory solutions on the horizon.

For further coverage on this latest ruling click here.


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Buy and Sell

... and one to end the week on ... some quick questions

Below are four (4) questions and a bonus question. You have to answer them instantly. You can't take your time - answer all of them immediately. OK?

Ready? First Question:
You are participating in a race. You overtake the second person. What position are you in?

Answer: If you answered that you are first, then you are absolutely wrong! If you overtake the second person and you take his place, you are second!

Try not to screw up the second question, and don't take as much time as you took for the first question, OK?

Second Question: If you overtake the last person, then you are...?

Answer: If you answered that you are second to last, then you are wrong again. Tell me, how can you overtake the LAST person?

You're not very good at this, are you?

Third Question: Very tricky arithmetic! Note: This must be done in your head only. Do NOT use paper and pencil or a calculator. Try it.

Take 1000 and add 40 to it. Now add another 1000 . Now add 30. Add another 1000. Now add 20! Now add another 1000. Now add 10. What is the total?

Scroll down for answer.....

Did you get 5000?

The correct answer is actually 4100. If you don't believe it, check it with a calculator!

Today is definitely not your day, is it? Maybe you'll get the last question right... Maybe.

Fourth Question:
Mary's father has five daughters:
1. Nana
2. Nene
3. Nini,
4. Nono.
What is the name of the fifth daughter?

Did you Answer Nunu?

NO! Of course it isn't. Her name is Mary. Read the question again!

Okay, now the bonus round: A person unable to speak, goes into a shop and wants to buy a toothbrush. By imitating the action of brushing his teeth he successfully expresses himself to the shopkeeper and the purchase is done. Next, a blind man comes into the shop who wants to buy a pair of sunglasses; how does he indicate what he wants?

He just has to open his mouth and ask...

It's really very simple....Ok, now back to work.

And on that note, enjoy your 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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