Friday Offcuts – 2 August 2019

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Late this week two major decisions were made by the NZ Government impacting on the forestry sector. For the first, there were certainly plenty of submissions made on the planned Reform for Vocational Education. For the forestry industry though, it appears that many of the issues raised have largely been dismissed. The country's institutes of technology and polytechnics are being brought together. They’ll operate as a single national campus network which is planned to start on 1 April 2020. Working alongside employers, apprentices and trainees out in the forest and on the processing site, the job currently being undertaken by our ITO, Competenz, is going to shift to the training providers. With the centralization of training provision, exactly how the current apprenticeship training programme will operate is less clear. The announcement, supporting documentation and reaction are contained in the lead story this week.

In the second announcement, free carbon credits to New Zealand’s trade-exposed heavy emitters are going to be phased out. Forests registered in the Emissions Trading Scheme before 2019 are also going to be barred from the new averaging accounting system. This will be reviewed though in 2021 by the Climate Change Commission. Forest owners will also be able to offset carbon liabilities incurred at harvest time by planting forests in other places. Full details on the decision and impact on existing forest owners can be found in the links supplied in the story below.

In other stories, this week we go BIG with a couple of new innovations. The first is a weighty dump truck. It’s powered by a 4.5-tonne all-electric battery which when fully loaded, comes in at a hefty 110 tonnes. It’s the prototype of the largest electric vehicle (EV) in the world. The second innovation is much closer to home. It’s one step up from the first European-made T-WINCH (profiled at the recent HarvestTECH 20-19 event) that’s been operating in New Zealand now for several months. It’s being nicknamed ‘The Big One’. It’s a 30-tonne T-WINCH which may interest contractors looking at tethering larger tracked felling machines on steeper terrain. We’ve included a video this week with the machine tethering a 60-tonne loaded dump truck.

As part of the move to encourage younger students into our industry, we’ve included a story this week on the first student who’s just completed the Bay of Plenty Transport Industry cadetship at Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology. Although the trucking industry has been largely made up of older male drivers, this new graduate is a woman. What’s more, she’s only 19 years of age. And in Australia, FWPA’s latest WoodChat podcast looks at a programme aimed at equipping the industry’s future leaders as well as engaging young people from disciplines not traditionally associated with forestry. Now into its second year, the For Our Future initiative is identifying and helping train future leaders in the forestry sector.

Finally, for sawmills looking to send staff to the two-yearly sawmilling event WoodTECH 2019, remember, next Friday is the closing date for early-bird registrations. That’s it for this week. Enjoy this week's read.



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Forestry changes under the ETS

Free carbon credits to New Zealand’s trade-exposed heavy emitters are being phased out and forests registered in the Emissions Trading Scheme before 2019 will be barred from the new averaging accounting system, the Government has just announced.

The allocation of free credits, worth up to 90 per cent of some industries’ carbon liabilities, will start in 2021, climate minister James Shaw says. It will continue at 1 per cent a year to 2030, 2 per cent a year from 2030 to 2041, and then move to reductions of 3 per cent a year. The free-credit system was designed to shield emissions-intensive trade-exposed industries like steel and aluminium-making and pulp manufacturing from the full impacts of the ETS until other countries adopted carbon pricing.

Shaw says he does not expect the slow phasing out of the subsidy to affect businesses. “Officials have shown that the phase-down does not pose a financial risk to ETS businesses as the ETS accounts for only a small part of a firm’s operating costs, and any additional cost to large polluting businesses will be manageable and will encourage businesses to invest in clean energy alternatives that reduce emissions,” he said in a statement.

“But the Government is aware our industries face international influences, which is why the independent Climate Change Commission will review phase-down rates and advise governments on appropriate allocations if technology, or the economics, or the global situation changes.”

The Government has also announced more details on changes to the forestry sector under the ETS, including banning existing forests from the new averaging system, announced earlier this year. “Averaging is primarily intended to encourage new forests because they make the biggest contribution to reducing our carbon footprint,” forestry minister Shane Jones said in a statement.

“It’s also about managing the volume of carbon units entering the market to maintain a stable price to drive emissions reductions.” The decision will be reviewed by the yet-to-be-established Climate Change Commission in 2021.

More information

- More information about these decisions is available on the Ministry for the Environment’s website.

- Information about the forestry decisions is available on the Ministry for Primary Industries’ website.

- For more information, you can find the press release about these decisions by Ministers James Shaw and Shane Jones.

Source: Carbon News 2019, Ministry for the Environment

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Skills and training shakeup announced

The NZ Government is tackling the long-term challenges of skills shortages and the mismatch between training provided and the needs of employers, by comprehensively reforming vocational education, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced yesterday.

“The comprehensive changes we are making will address the widespread skills shortages across most industry sectors. These shortages highlight the limitations of the current vocational educational system.”

“Repeated forecasts show that one third of all jobs in New Zealand are likely to be significantly affected by automation, and by as early as 2022 more than half of all employees will require significant upskilling and retraining”.

“As lower-skilled jobs disappear we need our people to learn new skills, often while on the job, earning while they are learning. Furthermore, advances in automation and artificial intelligence mean it won’t just be lower-skilled workers affected”.

“New Zealand needs to lift productivity and for that to happen we need more companies to be involved in training and taking on more apprentices. Currently however, nearly nine out of 10 of our businesses are not training through industry training. Yet at the same time, 71% of employers surveyed say there is, or will soon be, a skills shortage in their industry area”.

The changes “The changes we are making will give industry greater control over all aspects of vocational education and training, making the system more responsive to employers’ needs and to the changing world of work. Industry and employers will identify skills needs, set standards and approve qualifications and credentials, and influence funding decisions. We want to see more work place learning, more apprentices and more opportunities for people to earn while they learn.”

The seven key changes announced are:

- Around four to seven industry-governed Workforce Development Councils will be created by 2022. The councils will replace and expand most of the existing roles of industry training organisations.

- The country’s 16 institutes of technology and polytechnics will be brought together to operate as a single national campus network. A new Institute will start on 1 April 2020 and will be a new kind of organisation that provides on-the-job and off-the-job learning. The head office will not be in Auckland or Wellington, and a charter will be set out in legislation to make sure a number of bottom lines are met.

- New Regional Skills Leadership Groups representing regional interests will be set up.

- Over the next two to three years, the role of supporting workplace learning will shift from industry training organisations to training providers. Holding organisations will be formed from Industry Training Organisations to smooth the transition.

- Centres of Vocational Excellence (CoVEs) will be established at regional campuses to drive innovation and expertise, and improve linkages between education, industry and research.

- Māori will be included as key partners, including through Te Taumata Aronui, a Māori Crown Tertiary Education Group.

- The dual funding system will be unified and simplified to encourage greater integration of on-the-job and off-the-job learning.

The transition is expected to take three to four years to get fully underway.

Relevant links:

- Cabinet paper and proactive release documents are here.

- Copies of an overview and a detailed change summary document, along with a summary of submissions and FAQs, is available here

Further comment on the changes and impact on training for our – and other sectors – can be read here. Comment from Competenz on the announcement and changes can be read here

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First road transport cadetship graduate

Dayna Callender can handle a truck-and-trailer unit like a boss. The 19-year-old Mount Maunganui woman is the first student in the region to complete the Bay of Plenty Transport Industry cadetship at Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology.

"None of my family drive, but I've always loved trucks and looked at them and wanted to drive them. The size, the looks, the different styles, and what they can carry – it all appeals. Plus, I like being in control of the vehicle and also seeing new places and new people."

Although she will graduate later this year, she wasted no time in finding work and currently works for Priority Logistics, where she drives Class 5 trucks. Before enrolling at Toi Ohomai, Callender was a student at Mount Maunganui College and like many school leavers, was unsure about what she wanted to do when she finished school.

She decided to sign up for the student-for-a-day initiative after Toi Ohomai staff visited her school. "I've always loved trucks and after I did the student-for-a-day where I went to the course and joined in with the class, I realised I loved it, so I just carried on from there," she said.

More >>.

Source & Photo: NZ Herald

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How forestry is preparing its future workforce

Ongoing evolution and rapid advancements in technology have led the forestry sector to take steps towards preparing current and future workers for the changing demands of the industry. The latest episode of Forest and Wood Products Australia’s (FWPA) WoodChat podcast focuses on initiatives that are equipping the industry’s future leaders, and engaging young people from disciplines not traditionally associated with forestry.

During the episode, the hosts discuss the FWPA-supported For Our Future initiative – an experiential program focusing on regional and collaborative leadership. Now into its second year, the program aims to identify and help train future leaders in the sector, while providing connections to set up opportunities for collaboration in the future.

Matthew Linnegar, Chief Executive of the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation, which runs the program, said the objective is to help produce leaders across the sector, no matter what skills are required in the future.

“Do we require people who can look beyond their own organisations and start acting in the broader interests of the sector? Yes, we do! Do we need people who can communicate well, and who can form relationships, even with those with whom they are in competition? Yes, we do!” Matthew said.

“The program has multiple benefits. Firstly, the individual participants will benefit from developing their own abilities as leaders. Secondly, their organisations will benefit from strong leadership abilities they bring back with them. And thirdly, we hope the sector will start to think, act and interact in a more unified way.”

The episode also considers the differing skill sets that will be required by the industry in the future. The hosts chat to data scientist James Kondilios of the Australian National University, a recently announced recipient of an ABARES Science and Innovation Award. James discusses his research, which he hopes will advise plantation managers about eucalyptus variants that will thrive in a future warmer and drier climate, and how he ended up applying his skills to the area of forestry.

“Prior to my involvement with the forestry industry, I didn’t know there was a need for data scientists. I believe the more people like myself who see the sorts of problems we can help the forestry industry to solve, the more people with these sorts of skills the industry will attract,” James said.

WoodChat represents FWPA’s commitment to engaging new ways of communicating industry news and innovations. Each episode includes in-depth conversations with experts on recent discoveries, innovations and initiatives. You can listen to WoodChat on SoundCloud and iTunes.

Source: FWPA

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Bigger T-WINCH coming….with NZ in mind

The T-WINCH traction assist machine was unveiled to local logging contractors at the HarvestTECH 2019 event in New Zealand few weeks ago. With the first cab-free T-WINCH machine already working in New Zealand, a new and larger model has just been developed which should be well suited to markets like ours.

A forestry operation north of Gisborne has been operating the first European-made T-WINCH, a 10.2, for a number of months to provide winch assistance to a skidder tackling steep hills with a full load. ecoforst, the innovative Austrian company that produces the T-WINCH, has developed the larger 30-tonne model called the 20.2, and nicknamed ‘The Big One’ for big machine markets like New Zealand.

Local T-WINCH distributor, FORCO, believes New Zealand contractors may prefer ‘The Big One’ for tethering large tracked felling machines. Ian Wilton, Business Director with FORCO, says this larger model has been in development for some time and was originally called the 15.1, but further testing in Chile saw ecoforst add more horsepower, more strength and heavier guarding, prompting the name change to T-WINCH 20.2.

“Building on the launch of the T-WINCH 10.2 worldwide last year, with T-WINCH 10.2 number three out of the factory working in New Zealand, ecoforst will launch it’s much anticipated T-WINCH 20.2 in October this year,” says Ian. The T-WINCH 20.2 specifications are impressive, with a 414 horsepower engine, 560 metres of 26mm rope, 15 tonnes pulling force and up to 8km/h line speed.

The T-WINCH 20.2 is controlled with the same fully automated technology as used in the 10.2. It is compatible with any machine because no installation is required, simply hook on to any machine and begin operating. The remote handset, which stays with the operator, controls all T-WINCH functions. The operator sets the pulling force once and can work all day without touching the remote again, if the tethered machine moves away from the winch it will let rope out, if the tethered machine moves towards the winch it will pull rope in, all while maintaining the selected pulling force.

Alternatively, different pulling forces, potentially a lower pulling force for moving downhill and a higher pulling force for moving uphill, may be selected. The T-WINCH maintains both different pulling forces all day, changing between them automatically with the tethered machine direction changes. This function eliminates the need to adjust the force manually when changing direction.

Source: John Ellegard, NZ Logger

Check out the latest video of the new machine in action.


In the video the T-WINCH is tethering a 60-tonne loaded dump truck. Note: The T-WINCH 20.2 is called the 30.1 in Chile, the machine in the video has a low emission standard engine because in Chile the standards are low. The version coming to New Zealand will have a high emission standard engine and a larger track base.



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Cypress sawmill to double output

National and international demand for timber products is driving a regional Queensland saw mill to double output while creating new jobs thanks to grant funding. Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said Queensland Cypress Supplies in Mungallala, west of Roma, was one of 15 businesses in Queensland to receive up to a AU$250,000 Rural Economic Development (RED) Grant to help fund the expansion of their business and create job growth in regional areas.

“Project managers, builders and manufacturers look to Queensland Cypress Supplies for top-of-the line products – and demand is so intense managers have plans to double the output,” Mr Furner said. “Plans to build a new timber line on the site are expected to create enough work for another 16 full-time workers, including loggers, truck drivers, bench staff and stackers, alongside 12 jobs during construction and another 16 ongoing indirect positions.”

Plans to add an additional timber line to the production facility and increase the recovery rate of sawn product and output of value-added timber products from cypress logs include building two sheds, installing a twin edger, a wing edger and two auto benches.

Owner-operator John Shelswell said the business had permission to harvest and mill 26,000 cubic metres of cypress pine every five years from the state forest north of Mungallala. “Considering the many expressions of interest shown by buyers and potential buyers, and consistent forecasts of strong underlying demand, there is a definite need for the expansion of the current business,” Mr Shelswell said.

“It will also be of significant benefit to the forestry industry, which is an important primary production sector in the local area, employing many forestry management and harvesting and haulage contractors operating in state-owned cypress forests.”

The Rural Economic Development Grants program offers emerging projects up to AU$250,000 in co-contributions to build industry and grow employment opportunities across the agricultural sector. The AU$10 million grants program provides for three funding rounds over a three-year period ending 2021.

Funding for Round 2 of the RED Grants will be announced later this year. The recent State Budget locked in funding for the remaining rounds of the program, taking the total amount of grants available up to AU$10 million. For more information about the RED Grant scheme visit www.qrida.qld.gov.au.

Source: Government of Queensland




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VR for forest inventories

New research has demonstrated that forestry field operators can accurately perform certain tree stem assessments in an immersive, virtual reality (VR) environment. Consequent benefits to industry could range from improved safety to reduced labour costs.

As part of this FWPA-supported research project, a team at the University of Tasmania used data acquired by helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to investigate the potential of VR to replace current forest inventory fieldwork approaches.

Lead researcher Dr Winyu Chinthammit, of the University of Tasmania’s College of Sciences and Engineering, said the project was prompted by the fact forests are becoming more difficult to evaluate manually, due to increasing safety concerns and access problems.

“We were looking to work with people who didn’t have any experience of VR, but who would traditionally go into forests to assess trees, in order to test how people who already have skills in forestry might perform inside a VR environment,” Dr Chinthammit said.

For this pilot project, dense point cloud data captured from a pre-harvest Pinus radiata inventory plot was successfully imported into an immersive VR environment using the commercially available hardware, Oculus Rift. Functionality included multiple options for users to record their observations using a virtual control pad.

The design of the VR application was further informed and developed using the results of extensive user testing and feedback, undertaken in collaboration with several industry partners.

An initial experiment with 31 industry participants helped to determine how effectively users were able to learn to use the VR tools. A second experiment was then conducted with 17 participants, using an updated version of the software, to assess how reliably users were able to measure or estimate tree metrics.

The testing found all participants demonstrated a capacity to work within the VR environment. Most were able to successfully acquire the skills needed to use the tools and take basic measurements, including diameter and height, within a reasonable time.

However, more complex measurements relating to features such as wobble, sweep type, stem damage and branch size inside the canopy were not as accurate. “This project provided evidence that a field crew can indeed operate inside a VR environment and perform some of the same basic tasks they would normally complete as part of their everyday operations on the ground,” Dr Chinthammit said.

“Going forward, we plan to use more advanced visualisation and rendering techniques to determine how the data can be used to give a more detailed view of what is going on inside the canopy”.

“The ultimate aim is for users to assess forests in a VR environment with the same levels of accuracy that would be achieved had they gone into the forest themselves. For industry, this will mean reduced labour costs, as well as overcoming access problems and safety issues,” Dr Chinthammit said.

Progress on using VR for forest inventories has been a key component of the last two ForestTECH technology events run for Australasian forest resource managers and inventory foresters. For ForestTECH 2019 which runs in November 2019, results from operational assessments in several forests across Australia using VR will be detailed. Registrations to the ForestTECH 2019 series that runs in Melbourne, Australia on 13-14 November and again in Rotorua, New Zealand on 19-20 November are now on line.

Further details can be on the event website.

Source: R&D Works


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World's largest electric vehicle - the eDumper

This story is probably timely considering recent announcements on encouraging more electric vehicles onto our roads.

While a single computer used to take up a whole room, now they comfortably fit inside your backpack to be easily carried around. From computers to mobile phones, developments in modern technology mean everything has got smaller.

But the "eDumper" is a very different type of beast. At 110 tons heavy when fully loaded and powered by a 4.5-ton all-electric battery, this dump truck prototype is the largest electric vehicle (EV) in the world.

Produced by Kuhn Schweiz AG, the truck is operating in a mountainside quarry in Biel, Switzerland, and is capable of delivering 60 tons of lime and marl. Like all electric vehicles, the eDumper harnesses power from braking.

Through a process called regenerative braking, the eDumper's electric motor goes into reverse when the driver hits the brake pads, releasing electricity that can be stored and returned to the battery. And the heavier the load, the stronger the braking and the more electricity can be recovered.

Even Lucas di Grassi - the 2017 Formula E championship winner - was surprised by the eDumper's regenerative braking capacity. "We had 75 tons of rocks and we went out of here with 90%, went all the way to the top," di Grassi told CNN Sport. "We arrived with 80% battery, loaded up and on our way back, we recovered 8% so we came back with 88% - that's actually pretty cool."

Source: CNN

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Canadians investing $24M to grow wood markets

The Canadian government has announced it will be investing more than C$24 million in six B.C.-based wood product associations to help increase international demand for Canadian wood products.

Canada Wood Group will receive $16,786,200 to help diversify and expand Canadian forest product exports to traditional and new offshore markets. According to a government news release, the funding will help enable market research; assist in the transfer of technology; promote standards that will increase wood use in construction; and provide wood design and construction training in China, Japan, South Korea, India and Europe.

Meanwhile, Forestry Innovation Investment, B.C.’s market development agency for forest products, will receive $3,394,709 to promote training, e education and wood use overseas, specifically in India, Vietnam and China.

The BC Council of Forest Industries (COFI) is set to receive $1,925,378 to help create business leads for wood-frame construction in China, Japan and South Korea. According to the press release, the money will also help COFI reinforce the Canada Wood brand as a “go-to” source for wood construction and manufacturing technology.

The government has committed $944,028 for BC Wood Specialties Group to help small and medium-sized companies become more export-ready and facilitate business-to-business opportunities for their membership through trade shows and missions.

The Wood Pellet Association of Canada (WPAC) will receive $926,360 to promote the interests of domestic wood pellet producers, help its members grow by promoting wood pellet use in Canada and globally, and support market and technical research, as well as promote fair and open energy trade.

Finally, $33,000 will go to the Western Red Cedar Lumber Association to help increase its online presence in several international markets, in order to maintain and grow the demand for western red cedar.

The funding is provided through Natural Resources Canada’s Expanding Market Opportunities program, which supports market development for Canada’s forest products industry.

Source: woodbusiness.ca


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Future of Forestry in Australia survey

Michelle Freeman is conducting a short survey on “The Future of Forestry in Australia”. The survey aims to capture the mood in forestry in Australia at this point in time and across the different facets of our industry and profession.

The survey outcomes will be presented by Michelle in a plenary presentation entitled "The Future of Forestry in Australia" at the ANZIF conference in Christchurch, 25-28 August, 2019 (www.anzifconference.com). Additionally, the results will be used to guide and inform advocacy works and projects to be delivered through the Institute of Foresters of Australia in partnership with other forestry organisations.

The survey is purposefully simple and should only take 5 minutes to complete. All responses will remain completely anonymous. If you cannot attend the ANZIF conference, you will still have access to results of this survey - Michelle will summarise and share via various channels after the conference.

It is hoped for this survey to reach as far and wide as possible, so please do share and encourage colleagues, contractors and others in your Australian forestry networks to participate. The survey can be accessed via the following link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/YTHY92N.

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New sawmill for Waverley site

While Waverley Sawmills is closed for business its new owner has been working towards a modern state-of-the-art sawmill on the site. Spectrum Group bought the NZ mill and closed it in March this year. But managing director Wade Glass said its resource consent and surrounding forest maturing in 10 to 12 years made it an ideal site for a modern, automated mill that would process higher volumes of timber.

His focus for this year was acquiring more local forests to supply the mill with timber. Also, he said, the second Arbor shareholder vote on forests was forthcoming. And, he had identified a promising new product line.

“We’ve identified a new product line which we intend to trial at our Gisborne mill first, with a view to rolling out at Waverley in one to two years,” he said. He had earlier told Radio New Zealand that he was looking to raise NZ$20 million to NZ$30 million to build a new mill at Waverley in two to three years’ time. Equity investors could be involved, as could the Provincial Growth Fund.

Any sale of forests has to be agreed to by 75 per cent of shareholders. Glass said forest owners needed to work in tandem with the sawmill industry to prevent the failure of more New Zealand sawmills.

“Otherwise in future there won’t be much in the way of domestic lumber supply for certain products, and we will be importing most of our lumber — some of it made from the very logs we have exported. If that’s not economic suicide, I don’t know what is.”

Spectrum Group owns Far East Sawmill in Gisborne, RH Tregoweth Sawmillers in Te Kuiti, forests, logging trucks and a log trading business.

Source: Whanganui Chronicle



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Removing “go green–go paperless” messaging

Two Sides, a global non-profit promoting the sustainability of print and paper, continues to address misleading environmental claims made by some of the world’s largest corporations.

Environmental claims such as “go green – go paperless” and “save trees” are regularly used by banks, telecoms, utilities, insurance companies and many other service providers, as they encourage their customers to switch from paper to lower cost electronic bills and statements. However, a Two Sides global anti-greenwash campaign operating since 2010 has found that the majority of these claims are unsubstantiated and misleading.

To date, Two Sides has successfully engaged with 441 companies worldwide to remove or change such claims about print and paper. Sectors showing the highest occurrence of greenwashing include telecom providers, banks and financial institutions, utility providers and governmental organizations.

In North America, 120 companies, including many of the Fortune 500, have changed or removed their environmental claims following discussions with Two Sides. “Environmental claims in the U.S. and Canada must meet the guidelines and rules of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the Competition Bureau of Canada which include having credible and specific science-based facts to support claims.

Martyn Eustace, Chairman of Two Sides Europe/UK, said: “We are really pleased that our ongoing effort is having such a significant effect on some of the world’s largest and most influential companies and organizations. However, our latest research shows that misleading environmental messages are having an impact on consumer perceptions of print and paper – particularly regarding the impact on forests.

This is why it is so vital for Two Sides to continue working with organizations to remove greenwashing claims and educate them about the unique sustainable aspects of print and paper. Paper comes from a renewable resource and is one of the most recycled materials in the world. When responsibly produced and used, it can be a sustainable way to communicate.”

Recent research commissioned by Two Sides has shown that consumers feel strongly about their choice to receive paper bills and statements from service providers. In fact, efforts by major corporations to force their customers to go digital, often citing environmental benefits, are not welcome by many consumers.

An international survey of 2,094 consumers in the U.S. and 1,044 consumers in Canada commissioned by Two Sides in February 2019 found:

- 86% of U.S. respondents and 82% of Canadian respondents believe they have the right to choose how they receive their communications (printed or electronically) from financial organizations and service providers.

- 66% of U.S. respondents and 63% of Canadian respondents don’t agree that corporations are really going paperless because they regularly need to print out documents at home if they want a hard copy.

- 61% of U.S. respondents and 58% of Canadian respondents think claims about the switch to digital being ‘better for the environment’ are made primarily because the sender wants to save money.

- 45% of U.S. respondents and 34% of Canadian respondents would consider switching service providers if they were forced to go paperless.

Source: twosidesna.org

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China returns more farmland into forest

China had seen its forest increase by around 33.5 million hectares since the project of returning farmland to forest and grassland was launched in 1999, a forestry official said. The increased area accounted for 42.5 percent of the country's artificial forests, Zhou Hongsheng, an official with the National Forestry and Grassland Administration, recently told a press conference.

China has had two rounds of returning farmland to forest and grassland, with the total investment exceeding US$72 billion. "The project has accelerated the process of national afforestation, and the forest coverage rates in the project areas have increased by an average of more than 4 percent" Zhou said, adding that 32 million farming households were able to benefit directly from policy subsidies of more than 9,800 yuan per household.

Source: Xinhua News Agency

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Jobs



Buy and Sell



... and one to end the week on ... pronunciation

On a beautiful summer’s day, two tourists were driving through Wales.

At Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwyllllantysiliogogogoch they stopped for lunch and one of the tourists asked the waitress: “Before we order, I wonder if you could settle an argument for us. Can you pronounce where we are, very, very, very slowly?”

The girl leaned over and said:

“Burrr… gurrr… King.”



Ok, one more. Paddy's pregnant sister was in a terrible car accident and went into a deep coma. After being in the coma for nearly six months, she wakes up and sees that she is no longer pregnant. Frantically, she asks the doctor about her baby.

The doctor replies, "Ma'am, you had twins..... a boy and a girl. The babies are fine now. However, they were poorly at birth and had to be christened immediately - your brother came in and named them.

The woman thinks to herself, "Oh suffering Jesus no, not me brother...he's a clueless idiot". Expecting the worst, she asks the doctor, "Well, what's my daughter's name?"

"Denise," says the doctor.

The new mother is somewhat relieved. "Wow, that's a beautiful name.I guess I was wrong about my brother....I like Denise." Then she asks, "What's the boy's name?"

" Dnephew"






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: www.fridayoffcuts.com


This week's extended issue, along with back issues, can be viewed at www.fridayoffcuts.com

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