Friday Offcuts – 8 November 2019

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Two news items dominated the media this week; the major announcement on the cessation of native logging in Victoria and the more welcome news that came through earlier in the week, the opening up of China for wood and paper products as part of a negotiated FTA upgrade for New Zealand exporters.

Yesterday, the hardwood industry in Victoria were blind-sided by an Andrews Government announcement. Within 10 years, native logging in Victoria will be phased out. The future of the sector has been the subject of fierce debate (with the industry continuing to counter mounting criticism and ill-informed comment) within the Victorian government. Over recent years, supplies of sawlogs to many of the state’s small timber mills has steadily been declining. From the announcement, it appears that Australian Paper’s Maryvale Mill (with almost 1,000 employees) that has a long-term contract for native timber supply from the state's Central Highlands is going to be compensated as it moves to a full plantation-based supply. As the Latrobe Valley’s single biggest employer, this at least provides some sort of certainty to the mill’s employees.

For others though, in the immediate future, timber supply agreements from VicForests are going to be extended out for five years. Funding is also going to be made available to current mills for new equipment as they look to transition to plantation wood. The decision though is likely to close many small timber mills, some of which have operated in Gippsland and other regions for more than a century. The announcement has forever changed the landscape of sawmilling and wood processing as we’ve known it in Victoria and it will have a profound impact on employees, families and communities across the State. The Government announcement, reaction and further coverage on the decision are contained in this week’s issue.

In New Zealand, tariff cuts were announced this week on wood and paper products as part of an upgrade to the free trade agreement between New Zealand and China. The new deal means that 99 percent of New Zealand's NZ$3b wood and paper trade to China will have preferential access, with tariff elimination over a 10-year implementation period on 12 additional wood and paper products worth NZ$36 million in trade to China. Details and reaction are contained in the stories below.

And finally, last week we brought you a story on the launch of the Future Foresters campaign, #LetsClearTheAir. A series of eight new videos are being produced to share positive stories about trees and forests along with the many faces behind the industry. This week we cover another innovative campaign This one has particularly lofty goals. This time, the plan is to raise US$20M to plant 20M trees. Ambitious? They’re already off to a flying start with Elon Musk pledging to donate $US1 million to the campaign. Like Future Foresters, the tree planting campaign is using social media rather than the more traditional mechanisms to get the message out there – and to get buy in. They’re also hoping to make this the largest YouTube collaboration in history. Check out their enthusiasm and approach being used. Click on the video to learn more in this week’s story.

For your information, one of the companies featured in the tree planting video is DroneSeed. This pioneering US company who’re at the forefront of tree planting using drones will be in Australia next week, and in New Zealand the following week as part of the annual ForestTECH 2019 series. They’ll be outlining a raft of new establishment innovations being employed by forestry companies around the globe. And on this note, we look forward to catching up with many of the resource managers and inventory foresters that will be attending the first of the ForestTECH 2019 series in Melbourne next week.

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Victorian hardwood industry closing in 10 years

The Andrews Labor Government yesterday announced that they have “acted to ensure a long-term and sustainable future” for Victoria’s forestry industry – and for the Victorian workers who rely on it.

The media release put out by Premier Daniel Andrews says that as Australian Paper moves away from using native timber in its paper production and with a reduction in available native timber resources due to fire and wildlife protection, the Labor Government has unveiled a new 30-year plan to support the sector as it transitions.

As part of the plan, AU$120 million will be set aside to ensure the industry is fully supported, backing long-term sustainable jobs and giving local workers confidence about their future. VicForests will extend existing timber supply agreements until 2024, after which native timber supply will be stepped down before ending in 2030.

In addition, logging in remaining old growth forests will cease immediately, protecting around 90,000 hectares, with all logging in native forests across the state to stop by 2030. The plan includes the release of the Greater Glider Action Statement, which makes another 96,000 hectares of forest across Victoria immediately exempt from logging in order to protect this iconic marsupial and other threatened species.

To assist businesses as they prepare for this transition, the Labor Government will provide dedicated funding to help local mills invest in new equipment that will allow them to process alternative timbers and support local jobs. That includes Australian Paper, which will be supported to transition to a full plantation-based supply, ensuring it operates until at least 2050 – providing support to its almost 1,000-strong workforce and stability to its customers.

Additional funding will go to ensure industry employees are afforded the certainty and security they deserve, with support for impacted workers to access re-employment and re-training services. The plan will also help fund community projects that support local businesses and help create local jobs.

Source: Premier Daniel Andrews

For further commentary and insights on the announcement;

Native Forest Logging to be Banned in Victoria

Immediate End to Old Growth Logging

Logger Reacts to Victorian Native Forest Logging Ban

Timber Workers Worried for Jobs

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NZ-China FTA upgrade a plus for wood products

After years of negotiations, New Zealand and China have struck a deal on the long-awaited upgrade to their free trade deal. It includes new rules to make exporting to China cheaper and easier, the highest level of commitment to environmental standards China has made in any free trade deal. It also gives the vast majority of wood and paper trade to China preferential access over the next 10 years. That will include some processed wood products, for which the forestry sector had been seeking tariff cuts.

In return, New Zealand will adjust visa rules for some jobs here, including tour guides and Mandarin language teachers, but the overall number of visas allocated will not change. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made the announcement at the East Asia Summit, where she's just met with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.

"This ensures our upgraded free trade agreement will remain the best that China has with any country," she told reporters. The original deal was signed in Beijing in 2008; so far that has trebled two-way trade between New Zealand and China from about NZ$8 billion a year, to more than NZ$28 billion.

The upgrade deal reflected the importance "both countries place on our relationship and builds on the significant mutual benefits both countries have enjoyed as a result of our excellent existing FTA", said Ms Ardern. The next steps would be legal verification of the draft text, with the signing and release of the text expected in early 2020.

Details of the new deal include:

• New rules that will make exporting to China easier and reduce compliance costs for New Zealand exports by millions of dollars each year. This includes, for example, faster border release of fresh food products, and other products that may have transited through other countries en route to China.

• The introduction of environmental considerations - the most ambitious environment chapter and the highest level of commitment that China has agreed in any FTA. It includes commitments to promote environment protection and ensure that environmental standards are not used for trade protectionist purposes.

• The upgrade will also mean that 99 percent of New Zealand's $3b wood and paper trade to China will have preferential access, with tariff elimination over a 10-year implementation period on 12 additional wood and paper products worth NZ$36 million in trade to China.


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Winners from Green Timber Triangle Industry Awards

In front of a sell-out audience at the Green Timber Triangle Industry Awards for forestry this year’s winner, Jubilee Sawmill – OneFortyOne, proved to have gone beyond their achievements in several ways.

Not only did they achieve with excellence, the completion of a build of the new sorter stacker, together with a great team of local contractors but the commitment of this company to invest in timber processing in this region has provided a significant boost in confidence about the longevity and future of this industry.

The sawmill is the largest in South Australia, and the second largest in Australia, with more than 300 employees, processing 750,000m3 of timber each year on its 65ha site. The sorter stacker project was completed while the sawmill remained operational and led to significant efficiencies on the site. The build project was one of the first capital investment projects that OneFortyOne committed to when it first took ownership of the sawmill. The team on site were passionate about the project, knowing it would lead to significant improvements in productivity and efficiency.

The Jubilee Highway Sawmill also takes it environmental responsibility seriously having installed boiler emissions cyclonic technology (worth AU$4.2 million) this year to ensure the mill complies with the new air emissions standards introduced into South Australia. As the cornerstone of OneFortyOne Wood Products in Mount Gambier, Jubilee Sawmill – OneFortyOne directly employs approximately 300 people and over 1,000 indirectly.

Jubilee Sawmill – OneFortyOne also took out the Timber Sawmilling & Processing Excellence award. The overall results for OneFortyOne’s employees was outstanding with Andrew White taking out the Innovation Award, Sam VonDuve was awarded Trainee of the Year and Chris Atkinson took out the Forest Operations (Silviculture, Harvesting & Chipping) Award.

Dual winners Sue Shaw, HPV Plantations and Tammy Auld, Timberlands Pacific won the Outstanding Contribution to the Timber Industry (female) and a special award was celebrated with a Lifetime Service Award presented to David Quill. With 37 years in the industry and multiple leadership roles, David has been a leader in terms of introducing modern equipment to the industry, being an advocate for regional forestry industry and those that feel they don’t have a voice. David is a character in the industry known for being larger than life.

This is the second year the awards have been run and continue to meet their original goals which were to celebrate and reward those involved with the timber industry and cover all facets of it – from nursery to silviculture, harvesting to haulage, logistics, processing and everything in between. The awards campaign has been run by a nine-strong committee who represented a diverse section of the industry.

GTTIA chair Adrian Flowers said the committee was very happy with nominations. “This event celebrates and recognises the people that are part of our fantastic industry. The night has been a reflection on the back of the overwhelming success of last year’s inaugural event of all the passionate people and organisations that have contributed to putting it together.“

The Green Triangle is home to Australia’s largest collective plantation and timber processing industry with more than 355,000 hectares of soft and hardwood plantations producing timber for local manufacturing as well as national and export markets. The industry provides employment for around 8500 people.

Adrian also remarks, “The ticket sales and nominations exceeded last year which is evidence that the future growth of our industry and this event is looking good. Special mention needs to go to all the generous sponsors, the organising committee members and to Prue Younger from Public Impression, our event manager. Congratulations to the nominees, award winners and all that attended. Thank you for the contribution by all in making it a complete success and worthy celebration.”

For full details on all of the award winners on the night along with a montage of photos during the evening click here.

Source: GTTIA

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Andrews Government must reverse its forestry ban

Australia’s premier professional body for forest scientists, forest managers and forest growers, the Institute of Foresters of Australia and Australian Forest Growers has condemned the Andrews Government decision to end natural forestry in Victoria as ‘short-sighted.’’

Bob Gordon, Federal President of the IFA said, ‘The Andrews Government ban is poor public policy with clearly predictable and undesirable outcomes. ‘Daniel Andrews has lost perspective on environmental issues and is prepared to visit significant damage to rural and regional communities, especially in Gippsland, for no discernible gain to the environment.

‘The claimed climate change benefits are indefensible because they ignore the science regarding proven atmospheric carbon sequestration from sustainable forestry and use of timber products to displace steel and concrete in buildings.

‘Wood is the ultimate renewable and there is no short, medium or long-term benefit in forcing a largely rural industry to close that produces renewable products and climate-friendly building materials. In the absence of a domestic hardwood industry we will simply import more hardwood of questionable provenance from the Asia-Pacific region,’ said Bob.

The IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (2007), noted that: “In the long term, a sustainable forest management strategy aimed at maintaining or increasing forest carbon stocks, while producing an annual yield of timber, fibre, or energy from the forest, will generate the largest sustained mitigation benefit”.

These findings have been re-enforced by independent studies based on forestry in south-east Australia [1]. At the very time that foresters and firefighters are warning of a devastating build-up of fuel in Australia’s forests the Andrews Government has decided to make things worse. It is irresponsible to remove the forestry workforce and compound the loss by closing much of the road and track network used to combat fires.

[1] Harvested forests provide the greatest ongoing greenhouse gas benefits. Fabiano Ximenes, et al. Agriculture NSW, Rural Climate Solutions (an alliance between NSW Department of Primary Industries and the University of New England), Forests NSW, NSW Department of Trade and Investment.

Source: IFA/AFG

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Resource security for SEQ hardwood industry

Timber Queensland has acknowledged the Palaszczuk Government’s announcement this week as an important first step toward recognising the need for resource security and the long-term future of the many workers and timber companies directly involved in the South-East Queensland native hardwood industry.

Timber Queensland’s CEO Mick Stephens said the announcement of a number of measures by the State Government was formal recognition of the unsuccessful hardwood plantation program, with more detail and work needed on key aspects of the proposed new plan.

“We have warned of a looming hardwood industry crisis given the lack of certainty over future resource supply. Under the 1999 South-East Queensland Forest Agreement, the state-owned native supply was to cease from 2024, assuming an adequate resource from plantations and private native forests,” said Mr Stephens.

“However, with insufficient development of the private native forest resource and the inadequacy of the hardwood plantation resource, there was significant uncertainty,” he said. “South East Queensland is home to 40 hardwood sawmills which generate regional income in excess of AU$200 million and provide direct employment for more than 1000 workers, and a further 1000 indirect jobs with related economic activity in many local communities.”

“The State Government announcement to extend state supply to 2026 in the Wide Bay Burnett will address some of the immediate concerns for resource security for investment. The two-year extension will allow for additional credit confidence as options are explored for new avenues of hardwood timber supply across the region.

“While falling short of industry’s recommendation for a more longer-term extension of state supply, we welcome the announcement to establish a timber advisory panel for making plans with industry for the future. The associated study to identify new options for sustainable long-term supply will be an essential priority.”

Key actions previously advocated by Timber Queensland include:

- ensuring the private native forestry regulatory code remains a practical and cost-effective tool for landowners to implement good forest management; and
- the acceleration of private native forestry management incentives and extension activities, to develop a more financially secure and long-term private timber resource.

“These actions, if implemented effectively, could generate additional resource supply certainty, along with any options for further supply on state-owned land,” said Mr Stephens. “The private forestry code already provides for ongoing forest cover and prescriptions to protect biodiversity values and soil and water resources, thereby helping to protect the reef while supporting timber industry production and local dependent communities.

“There is also a critical need for extension activities and incentives for landowners to adopt good forest practices across remnant and non-remnant vegetation, which can act to boost timber production and reduce land clearing pressures for broadacre agricultural activities. There is a growing body of evidence that the integration of forestry and grazing, which retains a proportion of permanent forest cover with livestock, can generate higher overall returns to the landowner than broadscale clearing for grazing alone”.

“We want to work with Government and stakeholders to promote these opportunities through wider forestry extension and education in the agricultural community, including links with related programs such as the Land Restoration Fund”.

For further coverage on the announcement, click here

Source: Timber Queensland, Photo: DAF

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Short-sighted decision to end native Forest Industry

The Australian Forest Contractors Association (AFCA) is in disbelief following the Victorian State Government’s short-sighted decision to close-down the native forest industry within ten years. AFCA believes this decision flies in the face of supporting regional jobs and economies, sound policy and a long-term sustainable strategy.

AFCA General Manager, Ms Stacey Gardiner said “members, forestry contracting businesses, were at a loss and devastated by the announcements. Moreover, as a key stakeholder in the supply chain, they haven’t even been acknowledged as a key stakeholder in media statements by the government."

Ms Gardiner added “Forestry Contracting Businesses and their employees have been working for over two years with uncertainty around their future and the toll this has taken on their mental health has been evident. I fear what impact the announcement today to end native forestry will have for them." The Government has not considered these hard-working regional businesses, their employees and families and the impact this decision will have on these people.

Many Forestry Contracting Businesses are generational family-run businesses that have a significant capital investment that can’t directly transition to the plantation sector. To suggest they can transition is disingenuous. As a starting point, the specialised equipment, which can be up to a 1 million investment per piece, is different and cannot merely be transitioned for use in plantation harvesting.

Ms Gardiner said “A plantation estate hasn’t even been established and won’t be by the time our forestry contracting members are meant to transition. What does the Government expect forestry contracting businesses to do, wait around until the plantation estate is ready to be harvested?”

It appears Government has decided to deliver a political policy that reflects a minority view for our industry rather than an evidence-based and balanced approach working with industry and the regions which they contribute to. Ms Gardiner added, “In the past forestry contracting businesses have not hesitated to support firefighting efforts and have done this for decades.”

In 2019, forestry contracting businesses spent over 60 working days using 20 pieces of forestry equipment, much of it specialised, to construct fire breaks, control lines and defending bush fires. The services to support firefighting will disappear along with our skilled forestry contracting employees who have a spent a lifetime working and committed to managing Victoria’s sustainable native forests.

AFCA urges the Andrews Government to reconsider this poorly considered policy and impact on our hard-working members.

Source: AFCA
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Drumming up US$20m for 20 million trees

YouTube giants Mark Rober, Mr. Beast, and SmarterEveryDay (40M+ subscribers collectively) have launched #teamtree (with DroneSeed featuring prominently in the video) to raise $20M to plant 20M trees. Given their subscriber base and all the other YouTube creators they've pulled in, we may see 50-100M views and the goal is to make it the largest YouTube collaboration in history!!

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Forest Owners respond to land conversion criticism

Calls to ban farm conversions in New Zealand to forestry ‘make no sense and are dangerously jeopardising fight against climate change’. Forest owners are saying the extent of overseas investment in forestry this year is grossly exaggerated. They say the calls on the government to restrict conversions of farms to forestry are dangerously jeopardising the fight against climate change and New Zealand’s hope of achieving its greenhouse gas emission targets.

Forest Owners Association President Peter Weir, says there is no doubt that the rate of planting forests on poorer quality farmland is increasing. But he says most of the planting is driven by higher returns from forests than by hill country farming and the planting is being done by New Zealand land owners and not overseas investors.

“Anyone can go to the Overseas Investment Office website and see the approvals for actual purchases of New Zealand farmland for planting. The total over the past year is a mere 8,600 hectares. So, claims that the rules for overseas investment in farms for forest planting are ‘totally out of control’ are quite misleading.”

“That 8,600 hectares represents only one-thousandth of the total land in sheep and beef farming for New Zealand. It’s hardly a takeover as some of the news media are trying to pretend. The value of that land is a fraction of the overseas investment approved in the dairy industry over the past year”.

“If you look at dairy company sales with Westland Dairy, New Zealand New Milk and Mataura Valley Milk, then you can see foreign investment in our dairy industry in 2019 is nearly four times greater than the forestry total, but without exciting anywhere near the same media obsession,” Peter Weir says.

He says without overseas investment in forestry over the past few years there would hardly be a forest industry worth talking about. “It was mostly investors from overseas who were prepared to wait a number of years for their investment to mature and see the trees harvested.”

“But that appears to have changed recently. Farmers are getting out of the price doldrums of wool growing and the modest returns for meat. For some farmers the economics of sheep and beef production clearly does not add up over the long term.”

Peter Weir says carbon credits also play a part in farmer decisions. “The carbon credits are currently a modest $25 dollars a tonne. But farmers are apprehensive about the costs of complying with freshwater reform and the adjustment which will be necessary to reduce farm greenhouse gas emissions under the terms which have recently been agreed to with the government.”

More >>

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Tariff reductions welcomed by WPMA

The Chair of the Wood Processors and Manufacturers Association of New Zealand (WPMA), Mr Brian Stanley, welcomes the announcement that tariff reductions have been won for NZ’s wood manufacturing sector under the China-NZ Free Trade Agreement Upgrade. “I would like to thank the Prime Minister, Trade Minister Parker and Forestry Minister Jones for pushing the case for NZ’s wood industry to the top of the agenda in the recent FTA negotiations”, said Mr Stanley.

“MFAT trade officials are to be congratulated on gaining tariff concessions for the NZ wood industry in the protected Chinese market. I know that this has been a very hard-won battle that will see NZ$2 million of savings on 15 export product lines in a NZ$36 million annual trade. Whilst these may not be huge figures in terms of the overall export of NZ wood products to the world the fact remains that NZ was able to make significant inroads on market access where initially there was no go”.

As tariffs tumble Mr Stanley urges the attention of government now turn to defeating other insidious trade barriers, particularly overseas manufacturing subsidies. These continue to proliferate around the world, give unfair advantage to our competitors and stifle investment in NZ industry. “I’m sure if we confront these with the same skill and mettle displayed in our fight against tariff barriers then this can only further benefit NZ’s wood manufacturing sector together with the jobs and communities it supports,” concludes Mr Stanley.

Comment on the announcement of tariff reductions from the Forest Owners Association can also be read here.

Source: WPMA

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Is the primary sector thriving on smart data?

The adoption of digital technologies is one of the key challenges facing the primary sector. The rapid development of AI, machine vision, automation and robotic technologies has enabled New Zealand agritech companies to develop solutions that were not possible even five years ago. While leading producers are investing in this opportunity, there are many more smaller businesses that could certainly benefit as well.

For the last 8 years, agritech leaders, tech developers, large producers and early adopters have met at the annual MobileTECH Ag conference. This leading agritech event is running next year on the 7-8 April 2020 in Rotorua, New Zealand. “MobileTECH Ag showcases new, innovative and emerging digital technologies relevant to our agricultural, horticultural and forestry industries,” said Ken Wilson, the Event Director.

“The theme for MobileTECH Ag 2020 is ‘thriving on smart data’. While data has always been important to farmers and growers, the ability to automatically capture, analyze and act on an endless stream of business data is, potentially, transformative,” said Mr Wilson.

The agritech community is continuing to grow from strength to strength. The NZ Government estimates that agritech goods exports are worth NZ$1.4 billion annually. In just over a year, the sector has seen the launch of a dedicated membership grouping, Agritech New Zealand and the Government’s cross-agency agritech taskforce.

Agritech New Zealand has been critical in opening up new international markets for NZ companies. The aim for the cross-agency taskforce is to develop a plan to transform the agritech sector by creating a coordinated supporting ecosystem, drive innovation and increase technology adoption by the sector.

“Both groupings will be presenting at MobileTECH Ag 2020,” said Mr Wilson. “It is exciting to see the agritech sector grow and have an opportunity to promote industry collaboration and technology development”.

Details on MobileTECH Ag 2020 programme including the programme are now available. The tech event runs on 7-8 April 2020 in Rotorua, New Zealand. Further details can be found on the event website,

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Communication vital as more rural fires will occur

The NZ forestry industry warns better preparation and communication is vital as more rural fires will occur. Foresters are agreeing with the main recommendations coming out of the just released review of the Tasman fires last February, but say there’s nothing in the report that hasn’t been said before and implementation is overdue.

The Chair of the joint Farm Forestry and Forest Owners Association Fire Committee, Sean McBride says the fire report is comprehensive and his associations look forward to helping Fire and Emergency New Zealand with their implementation.

“The report’s main message is that we can expect more such fires. It is a warning for all rural communities. It’s alarming to read in the report that so many people interviewed about the fire think it was a freak one and won’t happen again. That’s not the case. Climate change means the fire threat is increasing, dramatically in some areas,” Sean McBride says.

He says most forest fires start outside the forests and then invade them. “The Tasman fires started when farmland was being cultivated in Pigeon Valley and then spread into forest. Forest harvesting crews in the area had stopped working because they were following the Forest Fire Risk Management Guidelines, which showed the fire risk was too high to continue working. There needs to be a lesson taken from that.”

He welcomes the report recommendation for guidelines and requirements on heat and spark activities for work outside forests, but says that doesn’t go far enough. “We want to work with FENZ on some of the technology they are looking at which can provide real-time and precise fire warnings to anyone who is working in or visiting the rural environment.”

“The technology of apps and GPS, combined with sophisticated weather information, means a scale of warning activities can be delivered to anyone in the field with a smartphone. It’s obviously not the whole answer to fire preparedness and avoidance, such as not parking vehicles on long dry grass, but it is an easy way to get information of increasing risk throughout a working day to people who don’t have those monitoring tools themselves.”

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New Rotorua Forestry Hub for Te Uru Rākau

The NZ Government has committed to a strong regional presence for Te Uru Rākau (Forestry New Zealand), with the construction of a new Forestry Hub in Rotorua announced by Forestry Minister Shane Jones.

Speaking at a blessing ceremony at the site of the new building on Friday last week, Scion’s Rotorua campus, Minister Jones said the Forestry Hub, which will be shared with the Department of Conservation, will ultimately house some 50 Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) staff, with 25 of those from Te Uru Rākau.

“In order for us to strengthen and grow the New Zealand forestry sector, it is important that we build a strong and dedicated regional presence, as was outlined in the Coalition Agreement,” Shane Jones said. Te Uru Rākau is currently scaling up to support the delivery of the government's forestry goals.

“The current office, also located on Scion’s Rotorua campus, has been assessed as no longer fit for purpose and an alternative solution was required to accommodate the growing number of regional staff”.

“The purpose-built facility will be constructed with sustainable construction techniques, including using New Zealand grown timber for both the structural and visible parts of the building. A new build provides an opportunity to demonstrate the value of wood for building and will show case the opportunity to use timber grown and manufactured in New Zealand more extensively”.

The Forestry Hub will be built from a combination of engineered timber columns, posts, portals and trusses, and the external envelope will feature a selection of timber elements that will mimic the surrounding natural environment.

“As well as demonstrating the versatility of wood, this new building will cement Te Uru Rākau’s important relationship with Scion. Scion Campus has been identified as a good location for the new build. Staff will be able to enjoy the facilities this campus offers, and collaborate with the wider Scion team and their Department of Conservation colleagues,” Shane Jones said.

The building is expected to be completed by late 2020.

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Proposal for bio-based products report

Trees can play a lead role in New Zealand’s transition to a low emissions economy, and this is reflected in a new request for research into innovative ways to use wood fibre, announced by Forestry Minister Shane Jones at the blessing of the new government forestry hub site in Rotorua.

Te Uru Rākau (Forestry New Zealand), the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and the Forestry Ministerial Advisory Group have issued a ‘request for proposal’ – worth NZ$250,000 to $300,000 – seeking a commercially-oriented report on viable opportunities for investment in biobased products and biorefinery processing technology.

These investments must use wood and wood fibre and be internationally competitive. Many countries have examined options for future reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and defined a bioeconomy solution in which forests and forest products play a significant role.

“Through this call for research, I’d like to see a report that will identify investible opportunities for the production and manufacturing of high value, wood fibre-based bioproducts that will bring innovation and employment to our regions, and increase onshore processing of logs. I’m excited to see the opportunities that emerge and will help establish forestry as the cornerstone of our future economy,” Shane Jones said.

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Trump Slams forest mis-management

On Twitter Sunday morning, President Donald Trump attacked California Governor Gavin Newsom for "a terrible job of forest management" in the aftermath of wildfires--even though 57 percent of California's forests are reportedly managed by the federal government, and the state manages 2 percent.

In the Twitter thread, the president seems to blame Newsom's leadership for California's long history of wildfires, compared to other states. "Every year, as the fire's rage & California burns, it is the same thing-and then he comes to the Federal Government for $$$ help. No more. Get your act together Governor. You don't see close to the level of burn in other states," Trump wrote.

In response to the president, Newsom tweeted later: "You don't believe in climate change. You are excused from this conversation." California's climate is the most variable in the continental United States, according to the Public Policy Institute of California. Its annual "drought" or dry season––long associated with wildfire risk––lasts from late spring through early fall, irrespective of decision making by state leadership.

Last year, the U.S. Forest Service and the University of Montana discovered the intuitive but under-studied link between less rain and longer droughts to the severity of subsequent wildfires. The results were released as California's deadly Camp Fire claimed more than 80 lives and destroyed tens of thousands of homes.

Meanwhile, the powerful, dry winds that propelled this season's wildfire outbreak acted as a "an atmospheric hairdryer," according to one meterologist. The federal money Trump mentioned largely refers to the Fire Management Assistance Grant (FMAG) from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Newsom secured the funds for firefighters battling Ventura County's Maria Fire, one of the biggest and most recent fires of the bunch.

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Source:, Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
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Buy and Sell

... and one to end the week on ... a few final World Cup funnies

Ok. Even though the All Blacks or Wallabies didn't make the final, we had to add a few jokes going around - and sent in by readers - after England's defeat to the Boks last weekend. Sore losers?

What do you call and Englishman holding a bottle of champagne after the game on Saturday.

A waiter.

What do you call an Englishman holding the world cup?

The engraver.

And finally,

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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